Liverpool Street

Liverpool Street Station is not the first London terminus to replace a previous station. The GER (Great Eastern Railway) had been using a station called Bishopsgate, which they inherited when they bought out several other companies, to serve as the end of what would become the Great Eastern Mainline. In a fairly unique and important move, Liverpool Street was built with Underground access in mind, and partial services began on the 2nd of October 1874, with the Underground station opening on the 12th of July 1875. Full services began on the 1st of November 1875.

The designer of the station, one Edward Wilson, took inspiration from a gothic style, though not to the extremes of St Pancras. Capacity was quickly used up, and Liverpool Street rapidly expanded, eventually boasting 19 platforms, serving a variety of eastern destinations.

Like other London stations, Liverpool Street suffered damage during World War II, though it suffered worse damage during World War I, and was the unfortunate site of the single highest death toll from an air raid, anywhere in Britain, during the conflict. There is a memorial to the workers of the GER who died during the war.

Liverpool Street served as a gateway to refugees fleeing mainland Europe, prior to World War II. The Kindertransport mission saw thousands of Jewish children pass through the station, and it is fitting that there are now memorials to this as well.

Like a number of London’s stations, Liverpool was once slated for a major redevelopment that would have destroyed the original Victorian design, during the 1970s. Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman (who had helped save St Pancras from a similar fate) lent his voice to the protests against the move, and in the end, British Rail relented. Aspects of the station were changed, to allow for adjustments to routes and services, but the overall character of the station remained intact.

Today, Liverpool Street is a busy, bustling station, serving a mind-boggling number of destinations, and it is a station I have passed through on quite a few occasions. It never seems to sleep (something true of pretty much every London station), and there is a huge array of shops to take advantage of. A number of Underground lines serve the station, and Liverpool Street is also served by the new Elizabeth Line, that will eventually offer services connecting the Great Western Mainline to the Great Eastern Mainline. From Liverpool Street, you can reach Southend (depending on engineering works and special services, this includes Southend Victoria and Southend Central, on two different routes), Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich, Stansted Airport, Hertford, and Clacton-on-Sea. It really something quite special!

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