London's First Railway

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, October 22, 2021 Under: Georgian

London's First Railway

London's London Bridge - Greenwich line was the first steam railway in London. It was also the first to be built specifically for passengers. It's an early C19th engineering marvel, an entirely elevated railway and can still be experienced today. Spa Road was the first London terminus but where was it? Spa Road station, Bermondsey, opened in 1836. Built during an era when station design was still in its infancy, the original terminal was very basic indeed, consisting of two narrow timber platforms connected to the street below by a rickety wooden staircase. The ticket office was at street level and, as the image illustrates, passengers were often required to queue on the stairs whilst awaiting their train. The Spa Road Station forecourt you can see was built in c.1904. Although the station was called Spa Road and Bermondsey, the prominent sign about the entrance to the booking office only shows Spa Road. The original Spa Road had only narrow timber platforms. The third station seen here had wider platforms with brick and canopies. The former entrance in the arches below the viaduct survives on the southside Priter Road, the arches are in light industrial use. The wording 'SE & CR' and 'Booking Office' is still visible in embossed concrete above two of the entrance doorways. Sadly the booking office has been largely stripped but one set of steps up to the platform has been retained and maintained for rail maintenance and emergency egress from the line above. Some sections of both island platforms still survive. In 1867 the station was re-sited further along the viaduct, about 200 yards to the east. The entrance was accessed via what is now Priter Road. In October 1877, the station was renamed Spa Road & Bermondsey even though it was still advertised as 'Spa Road Station'. When the South Eastern and Chatham Railway was formed in 1899 from the South Eastern Railway and its bitter competitor, the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, the station was given yet another makeover. The current appearance of the station frontage dates from 1900. The station was provided with two island platforms on the north side of the viaduct. Each platform had a brick building and a canopy. You can still see fragments of these if you go past on a train. A signal box was added at the northern end of the down platform. Spa Road station was closed on 15 March 1915, part of a WW1 cost saving measure. You can find out more about Spa Road Station and London's first railway on episode 68 of our London History podcast.

In : Georgian 

Tags: georgian  railways  victorian 
comments powered by Disqus


"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1830s 18thcentury 1930s 20th 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack autumn awards baker bank bankside barbican barrier bathhouses battersea bazalgette bear beasts becket bells bexley bishopsgate black blackfriars blackout blitz bloomsbury bombers book books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch buckingham burger burlesque buses cab cabaret cake canal canary captain care carl carol caroline carols cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clapham clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses common company concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 cream crime cross crown cruise crystal danson david davy day december dental deptford dick dickens dinner dinosaurs do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime druitt earth east eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwardians edwin egypt elizabethan end engineering era ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fair fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon fashion february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars frost gallery galliard garden george georgian georgians german germany gibb gift girls globe grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides gun half hall halsk handel harle harry potter hats havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hooke hot hotel house housing how humphry i ian ianmcd ice ice cream icelandic ii iii in india inigo isaac islington italian iv jack jack the ripper jack's james jenny jewels john johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim king kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners londonhistory lunch lutyens macaulay magnus management maritime market markets martyr mary match matilda maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle military millennium mock-tudor modern modernist montague month monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals mystery n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news newton nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera paddington palace palaces pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people philip photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plague plantation plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly poor pop poplar port poverty prince priory private tours pub public pubs purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky railways recording regency reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob robert roman romans roundhouse royal saga saints salute saxon school. science sculpture scupture seacole second serial servants sewers shakespeare shoreditch siemens sir slave slavery small smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories stow street strike stuart stuarts studios subscription suffragettes sugar summer susan sydenham tate taxi tea ten term terror thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to toothbrush tour tours tower trade travel truman tudor tudors tumblety twelfth twentieth twist und underground update v&a ve victims victoria victorian victorian london victorians viking virtual vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner west westend westminster wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william windrush wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york zachary 1666 1888 2019 2020





Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian