All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


If you look closely at this picture, you will see a vertical-ish line of green curving to the right of the two trains (just lower-left of centre). This is what remains of the platform of the station from which coffins and mourners set out for Brookwood cemetery in Surrey where there was a corresponding station to receive them. It was bombed in the second world war and never rebuilt but the station building still stands on Westminster Bridge Road as you can see in the photograph below.

On Saturday, I sneaked around the back of it, climbed up a flight of steps, found a gate left providentially open and managed to get out onto the area adjacent to the line. It is strange up there - a wide brick tundra three storeys above street level with trains and signals clanking and flashing and nobody to see them.

The train was operated by The Necropolis Railway Company (really) and first, second and third class carriages were available although I have never been able to find out whether this was implemented on a purely financial basis or enforced according to the social standing of the mourners - or corpse.

Way to go.

When I am in charge, I shall I re-instate it.


Martijn said...

How interesting, the Necropolis pun, although not intended by the company itself, it obviously has a nice ironic touch to the current status of the station as well now.

Looking forward to boarding there when you take over, ceased or living; first, second or third class.. I'm sure we'll all have a swell time.

spillyjane said...

Another delicious treasure, hidden in plain view. I wonder how many others walk past it every day, unaware of its original purpose or ultimate fate?

Jason Hilton said...

That's funny how people just pass by this place all day and probably do not know what happened there back in the war. That was a fun read.

I wonder if I have any places like this around where I live :)


clerkenwell kid said...

Yes - hundreds of people now pass it everyday without realising - but this once would have been a very significant place for Londoners. The railway ran from the middle of the the nineteenth century until the Luftwaffe saw it off so would have carried hundreds of thousands of the dead.

I often wonder who the last (deceased) passenger was - and whether you had to have an advance ticket for them.

ArtSparker said...

That's an amazing picture, the signals with nobody to see or hear. Worthy of sneaking up with a video camera, perhaps? In New York, they've built a park on unused railway track:

clerkenwell kid said...

now that is cool.

there is a whole world up above the rooftops in south london too

Doctorwithwound said...

There is a interesting novel about the Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin -

Sally said...

Absolutely amazing.

Just took the TGV in France - the SNCF platform jingle is more like incidental music, intentionally perhaps :)

Sally said...

PS, I do hope you are in charge soon.

Tamsin said...

On an unrelated note, colour photos of Piccadilly Circus and Shaftesbury Ave in the 1940's. I've not seen photos as detailed as this before but then I'm no archivist.

clerkenwell kid said...

Wonderful - thanks

- and a very cool bog