|Route of the Circle Line since 2009 (Wikipaedia)|
I have decided that this is where I will begin my exploration of the Circle Line for my series on 'Above the Underground'. The Circle Line is 17 miles (27 kms) long and has 36 stations of which I have already visited five as they share stations with the Bakerloo and Central lines. The line used to run in a continuous circle but in December 2009 it was extended to include the Hammersmith and City route from Edgware Road to Hammersmith.
The circle Line is the yellow line on the tube map and as you can see from this map it runs in a spiralling shape from Hammersmith to Edgware Road and then in a circle around Central London before returning to Edgware Road.
Strangely there are two separate stations called Edgware Road. This one which serves the Circle, District and Hammersmith and City Lines and the other one just a short distance away for the Bakerloo Line. It is confusing and there has been much talk about changing the name of one of them but no decision has yet been made.
As I have already explored Edgware Road whilst doing the Bakerloo line I just looked around the streets very close to this station.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the station to see this bright and airy ticket hall, decorated with plants and flowers donated by regular passengers.
Edgware Road station was the site of one of the 7th July 2005 London Bombings. A bomb was detonated at 8.50 am onboard a westbound Circle Line train as it was leaving the station killing six passengers.
This station was part of the world's first underground railway when it was opened as part of the Metropolitan Railway between Paddington and Farringdon in Jan 1863. You can still see the words Metropolitan Railway running along the top of the building.
The sculpture of 'The Window cleaner' by Allan Sly seems a strange choice when you look at it with the station as a backdrop but from the other angle with the huge glass frontage of Capital House then it brings a smile to your face.
'Wrapper' surrounds the Transport for London substation next door. It is made from vitreous enamel and covers 1500 sq metres. Each pattern relates to a different part ofthe local area such as the leaves a reminder of the trees in nearby Regent's Park. The colours reflect those of the Tube Map.Created by Jacqueline Pncelet in 2012 'Wrapper can be seen not only from the surrounding streets but also the station platforms.
The station is overlooked by the imposing red bricked Hyde Park Mansions. These 19th cent buildings do not provide accommodation for the ordinary man in the street but for the elite. Prices start in the millions for one of the apartments here. Of course you could always rent one for £3000+ per month
This tiled sign on the side of one of the buildings on Chapel Street shows the Coat of Arms for the old St Marylebone Borough Council. After 65 years it was abolished as a Metropolitan borough of London and amalgamated with the Metropolitan boroughs of Paddington and Westminster to form a new borough known simply as the City of Westminster.
Around the corner on Harcourt Street I noticed a Swedish flag flying. Having just returned from Sweden I had to investigate. It was flying outside the Swedish church. The church has been here over 100 years and is well known locally for its excellent Christmas fair selling traditional Swedish crafts and food.
On the same road there are converted mews and upmarket shops and cafes yet I am just a short distance from the horrendously busy and grubby looking Edgware Road.
I continued walking onto Seymour Place and came across this Grade II listed building which is now the Seymour Leisure centre. It was built in 1935-7 as public baths and laundry, providing clothes washing and bathing facilities for local residents who would not have access to those kind of facilities at home. Nowadays the centre advertises a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, multipurpose studios, gym and sports hall.
I like the art deco doors set into the three arched stone doorways
Lots of flower baskets and plants adorned the outside of the many shops here.
Another little gem awaited me as I turned the corner into Bryanston Square with these delightful houses.
In the centre of the Square is St Mary's. This was built as one of the Commissioners' churches in 1823-4. A Commissioners' church is one built with money provided by Parliament and allocated by Commissioners. After the Industrial Revolution the Church of England faced problems with the increase in population in urban areas as they did not have enough churches to cope. The Church Building Commission was set up in 1818 and was given a grant of money from Parliament to pay for the building of churches as well as having the power to divide up parishes.
This is Edwina Mountbatten House, on York Street, the headquarters of St John Ambulance. It is a non government organisation, led by volunteers to promote the teaching and practice of first aid. You will always see members of the St John Ambulance at the majority of sporting and public events. Treatment is free although the organisers of the event will probably have paid for the service to be present. It isn't just a service of volunteer first aiders as they can also provide paramedics, nurses and doctors. Each year it trains approximately 400,000 people in life saving skills.
Returning to the station I walked down Enford Street back onto Marylebone Road. You can still see the previous name of this street below its current name. It was changed between 1936 and 39, probably because there were a number of streets with that name in the same area. With the introduction of the postage stamp in 1840, the postal service needed a clearer system of numbered housing and fewer streets with the same name. The street renaming scheme started in 1855 and continued up to WW2
Excerpt of a letter from Sir Rowland Hill on behalf of the General Post Office in 1837
This building on the Marylebone Road, 'The Church Army', provides long and short term beds for homeless women. It also offers education, training and employment opportunities.
Also on Marylebone Road is Westminster Magistrates Court. The senior district judge of England and Wales sits at this court and all the extradition and terrorist related cases pass through this court.
The circle line is not a deep level underground line but runs just below the surface as you can see when you cross the bridge to change platforms at the station.
This is the inside of one of the Circle Line tubes. Unlike many of the trains on the other tube lines it is not split into carriages.