London Underground - Northern Line: Edgware and Charing Cross Branches Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

London Underground - Northern Line: Edgware and Charing Cross Branches

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East London Line | Metropolitan Line: East of Harrow | Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches | Northern Line: Morden Branch | Northern Line: Edgware and Charing Cross Branches | Piccadilly Line: North of Leicester Square | Piccadilly Line: West of Leicester Square | Victoria Line | Waterloo & City Line

The Edgware branch of the Northern line is the section which runs from Edgware in the north to Camden Town station, where it joins with the High Barnet branch. The line then splits again into the Charing Cross and Bank branches to the south. This Entry deals with stations on the two westernmost branches, the bulk of which was originally opened by the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway in 1907. For more on the history of the Northern line, see the Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches section of this guide.

Edgware

Having first opened in 1924, Edgware station is the terminus of the Edgware branch of the Northern line. It should not be confused with the disused Edgware railway station, which acted as the terminus of the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) between Finsbury Park and Edgware via Mill Hill until 1964. As part of the Northern Heights project of the 1930s, there were plans to electrify this line and link it to Edgware tube station, thus linking the High Barnet and Edgware branches of the Northern line. Construction thus began on two tracks linking Edgware tube station to the steam railway line, but the line from Mill Hill to Edgware was abandoned, and so all that remains at Edgware are sidings running from the station towards the east. The line route between the old Edgware station and Mill Hill East is still within walking distance. The layout of the station has changed a few times over the years due to the failed expansion plans, but as the station serves only one line it has three platforms from which trains depart.

Edgware station is a bus ride away from Mill Hill Broadway Thameslink station to the east and Canons Park on the Jubilee line to the west. The station lies on Station Road (A5100) next to the local bus station, and is a short walk from Broadwalk Shopping Centre. The station has both a car park and a drop-off area in front of the entrance, and access to the platforms is via steps. The name Edgware is derived from the fishing pool of a Saxon called Ecgis.

Burnt Oak

Burnt Oak station lies on Watling Avenue and was opened in 1924 two months after Colindale and Edgware stations. Burnt Oak is within a bus ride of Queensbury on the Jubilee line and Mill Hill Broadway Thameslink station. The station has a car park, and access to the platforms is via steps. Before opening, the name Sheaves Hill was considered for the station; the name Burnt Oak came from a site where Romans lit fires as boundary markers.

Colindale

Situated on Colindale Avenue, this station also opened in 1924 and was designed by architect Stanley Heaps. Unfortunately, the station was destroyed by a Second World War bomb in 1940 and a wooden structure served as the entrance hall up until the current building was added in 1962. The station complex incorporates shops, but Colindale is a walk away from the Oriental City shopping centre. The station also lies close to the Blood Transfusion Centre, the RAF museum and the British Library's newspaper collection, although the latter is to be relocated in the foreseeable future. Access to the platform is via steps, and the station has a car park and payphone. It is not uncommon for trains to terminate here during off-peak hours. The Colindale area is named after the home of the Collins Family who lived in the Silk Stream valley.

Hendon Central

Hendon Central lies on Queens Road (B551) and is a bus ride away from Hendon Thameslink station. The station opened in 1923, and served as the line's terminus until the extension to Edgware was opened nine months later. Although both Hendon Central and Colindale station to the north are above ground, the line passes into a tube tunnel for a while in between as the line passes under the M1 and the Watford Way (A41). Access to the platforms is via steps, and a nearby subway provides a means of reaching the entrance from the other side of the A41. The name Hendon, which was recorded in the Doomsday Book as 'Hendun' means at the high hill.

Brent Cross

Situated on Highfield Avenue, Brent Cross station lies just to the east of the junction between Hendon Way (A41) and the North Circular (A406). Brent Cross Shopping Centre lies on the other side of the junction, but can be reached via a series of well-signposted paths. The first station on the 1920s extension towards Edgware, Brent Cross was originally to be named Woodstock. The station opened in 1923 as Brent, being renamed Brent Cross in 1974. The name Brent comes from the nearby river which was recorded as Braegente in 959, meaning High River. The station lies next to the site of Harry 'Little Titch' Relph's demolished childhood home, and is also close to the site of a 1990s IRA bombing site.

Golders Green

This 1907 station was once the northern terminus of the branch, with the station lying in the middle of the countryside and adverts being made inviting people to relax in the country air. Now the station is the bustling hub of north-west London, complete with a bus and coach station on its forecourt where the trams used to stop. The station lies just north of the point where the line leaves the tube tunnel, and the large depot next to the station makes it a popular place for trains to terminate. The main entrance and forecourt face onto the junction between North End Road, Finchley Road and Golders Green Road, at the centre of which is the War Memorial, whose four clocks have never been known to all tell the same time. At the left-hand corner of the forecourt is the Hippodrome, up the hill of North End Road is the Bull and Bush pub, and at the very top, Jack Straw's Castle1. Part of the Hampstead Heath Extension comes very close to the back of the station, while Golders Hill Park lies to the south. The name 'Golders Green' comes from a field that probably belonged to the family of John le Godere or John Goyder of Hendon in the 14th Century.

Golders Green had an original brick ticket hall, complete with trademark Underground arches and wooden ticket booths, until the late 1980s. It was then knocked down and a new, more spacious, tiled entrance hall was built, with built-in ticket machines. This entrance hall leads into two subways from which stairs run to the station's five platforms2. Golders Green actually has two entrances; the second is at the other end of the tunnels. It connects to Finchley Road via a long covered walkway. This was in use until the early 1990s, when it was closed to save the cost of having another ticket inspector at that end. Recently, building work has begun to update and reopen this entrance.

If you are standing with your back to the bus station looking at the station, the toilets are just to the right of the ticket hall, outside in a separate block. There is a semi-circular road between the station and the Finchley Road and this used to be a turning circle for trams at the end of the line before it was changed into a car park and then back into a turning circle, where buses and National Express coaches stop. The grassy semi-circle that defines this lane is used at Christmas time to house a 30-feet-high, eight-branched candelabrum, which is lit every night for eight days during the Jewish festival of Chanukah. It is worth noting that free doughnuts are available during this time. During the 1990s, the grass on this lawn was allowed to grow wild. Sadly, a tramp died there and no one noticed for three days - so now the grass is kept short.

North End

More commonly known as 'Bull & Bush' this station never actually opened, but if it had then it would have stolen both of Hampstead station's records. The station was only ever excavated at platform level. For more details, see Abandoned Lines and Stations.

Hampstead

This station was opened in 1907 and lies on the corner of Hampstead High Street. It is the furthest below street level on the Underground3, and also features the longest lift shaft and spiral staircase. The Underground's deepest point below ground level is at the nearby Holly Bush Hill, Hampstead, and is 67.4 metres (221 ft) below the streets, despite the fact the nearby Golders Green station is above ground. The station is a fifteen- to twenty-minute walk from both Finchley Road & Frognal and Hampstead Heath stations on the Silverlink North London line. The station lies next to a small shopping centre, and unlike most Northern line stations it has toilets. Due to its location at the corner of Hampstead High Street and Heath Street, it was proposed that the station be opened as Heath Street. The name Hampstead means 'farm site.' Hampstead Heath is a short walk to the north-east.

Belsize Park

Belsize Park also lies quite far underground with far in excess of a hundred steps on its spiral staircase, though lifts are also available. Having opened in 1907, the station later gained a deep-level shelter which was used during the Second World War, with the shelter entrance being separate from the current station entrance. The station lies on Haverstock Hill (A502) and is a little way south of the Royal Free hospital. The Thameslink line between West Hampstead and Gospel Oak runs underground just to the north of the station. The name Belsize Park comes from the old French bel asis which means 'beautifully situated.'

Chalk Farm

This station sits on the corner between Adelaide Road and Haverstock Hill, giving it an odd cheese-wedge shape. It opened in 1907 and has the largest frontage of all the stations designed by Leslie Green. Access to the platforms is via lifts and steps, and the station lies within walking distance of the Roundhouse theatre. Chalk Farm is quite near to Camden Town and so passengers are advised to use the station when the entrances of Camden Town are closed. The area was recorded as 'Chaldecot' in 1253 and the name means 'cold cottages', referring to the bleak conditions on Haverstock Hill. Eventually the name was distorted to 'Chalk'. The cover of the Madness album Absolutely was taken outside the station.

Camden Town

See the Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches section of this guide.

Mornington Crescent

Located just south of the junction between Hampstead Road, Eversholt Street and Camden High Street, this station has only 46 steps down to the platform, although a pair of lifts are also available. Due to its obscure location on the Northern line and also the strange one-way system above ground, the station is the centre of a game known as Mornington Crescent, the aim of which is to reach the station before everyone else. Its location on the tube map has also led to it accidentally being missed out from some Northern line maps and with the two sections of the Northern Line between Camden Town and Euston were some of the most troublesome for Harry Beck's tube map. The station's closure in 1992 was intended to be permanent, but the station was eventually reopened in 1998 after some very long rebuilding works. The team of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue recorded a show there on the opening day. Mornington Crescent also features in a several books by Robert Rankin. The Crescent was named after the sister-in-law of Lord Southampton, Anne Wellesley (her maiden name was Mornington).

Euston and Warren Street Stations

See the Victoria line section of this guide. It is helpful to note that from Warren Street to Charing Cross, the line follows the course of Tottenham Court Road and then Charing Cross Road.

Goodge Street

Known as Tottenham Court Road until the current station of that name was opened on the Central line, Goodge Street4 lies about halfway down Tottenham Court Road on the west side of the street. The station is surrounded by shops, caf├ęs and pubs, and a small vegetable stall sits just outside the entrance. Access to the platforms is via lifts or a 136-step spiral staircase. The station has a deep-level shelter that was used during the Second World War, with the entrances lying in the Eisenhower Centre on Chenies Street and on Tottenham Court Road, a little north of the tube entrance. Goodge Street was laid out on a field that was owned by the Goodge family so it took their name. Various parts of the Universities of London and Westminster are close by, as is the BT Tower.

Tottenham Court Road

This station first opened on the Northern line in 1907, and was known as Oxford Street station until a walkway to the 1900 Central line station known as Tottenham Court Road opened in 1908. The station has four subway entrances on the corners of the junction between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street and both streets consist mainly of shops and amenities. Tottenham Court Road is especially famous for being home to many electronics shops. There are also exits around the Centrepoint building on the south-east corner of the junction, while the north-east exit lies just next to the Dominion theatre. The original Central line building was destroyed in 1963 to make way for the Centrepoint office building and a new ticket office and escalators were added. The Central line platforms are reached via one set of escalators, with the escalators to the Northern line situated next to the Central line concourse, although there is also a spiral staircase hidden to the left as you walk towards the escalators. The station layout therefore causes congestion, and there are plans to rebuild the station in the future with direct escalators to the Northern line from a new ticket office directly beneath Centrepoint.

The Astoria theatre, a major club and gig venue, is at the south-west of the junction. The area is know as St Giles, named after the church to the south-east. Centrepoint is a fairly major bus station and lots of buses pass outside it. The Centrepoint itself is one of the most recognised and hated buildings in London, being just a little uglier than the St Giles Hotel, formerly the YMCA, which lies just off Tottenham Court Road. The mosaics seen throughout the interior of the station were designed by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi CBE, FRA (1924 - 2005). The court of Willam de Tottenhall was near here, giving the road and the station their names.

Leicester Square

Originally opened in 1906 as a small surface building on Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square was rebuilt with more entrances and a larger ticket hall in the 1930s. The station therefore forms a subway across Charing Cross Road and is near to many of the cinemas and theatres, especially those in nearby Leicester Square. The station serves both the Piccadilly and Northern lines and the walkways between the escalators and the two sets of platforms form a triangular network. The station lies close to Covent Garden, and so walking there from Leicester Square is quicker than changing to the Piccadilly line. The station is also within a short walking distance of Charing Cross and Piccadilly Circus. The square takes its name from the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Robert Sidney, who built his residence here in 1637. The station decoration features film cells and neon signs in places due to the local concentration of cinemas and clubs.

Charing Cross

The Northern line section of this station lies directly below Charing Cross mainline station just off the Strand (A4) and serves both the Northern and Bakerloo lines. The tube station was formed by an amalgamation of Trafalgar Square on the Bakerloo line and Strand5 station on the Northern line in 1979, with a subway being built to link the two stations. The resulting station was named Charing Cross, thus leading to the renaming of the existing Charing Cross station to 'Embankment'. All this was due to the arrival of the Jubilee line at the current Charing Cross station, although the line was extended in 1999 towards Westminster and now no longer calls at Charing Cross. The tunnels from Green Park are still present and can be seen from the train, although the platforms are now concreted off. The Bakerloo line exit lies close to Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery.

Embankment

Although situated on the embankment on the north side of the river Thames, this station was originally known as Charing Cross until the present day Charing Cross station was renamed after being formed from Trafalgar Square and Strand stations. Both Embankment and the current Charing Cross stations are very close to Charing Cross mainline station and are visible from one another. Both also serve the Bakerloo line, as does Waterloo, the next station to the south, but only Embankment serves the Circle and District lines. Those changing from the Bakerloo line to the Northern line or vice versa should change at Waterloo, as the walk isn't too bad and there are more steps at Embankment and Charing Cross.

Waterloo

Situated on the South Bank between York Road and Waterloo Road, Waterloo station serves the Northern, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines, and a large proportion of mainline trains from the south-west terminate here. The tube station features 25 escalators, with five main entrances from the mainline station building to the eight Underground platforms. The mainline station has 19 platforms as well as several Eurostar platforms, making it the largest in London. Waterloo mainline station is also linked to the smaller Waterloo East station. The Bakerloo and Northern lines are both linked by escalator to the main ticket hall, which in turn is linked by escalator to the main concourse and the Eurostar terminal. The ticket hall is also linked to the mainline platforms by a subway under the tracks, with the Waterloo & City line being reached easily via a ramp down from this subway. Meanwhile, the Jubilee line has its own ticket hall next to Waterloo Road, with the platform level for this line being linked to the other lines by a long moving walkway.

The Charing Cross branch then joins up with the Bank branch and continues along the Morden branch towards Morden.

1This was until recently a very old and famous pub, on the site where 14th Century rebel leader Jack Straw massed the people to march on London. Although the facade has been preserved, it is now a block of flats.2Although one of these is now closed off and used for staff offices.358.5 metres or 192 feet.4Pronounced 'gooj'.5Not to be confused with the Strand station on the Piccadilly line renamed Aldwych and then later closed.

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