London Underground: The little-known underground station that is “the nicest on the web”
It’s really easy to walk through the London Underground stations and take them for granted.
For many of us, they’re just places where we take the subway every day.
But in retrospect, it turns out that many of the stops are now considered architectural masterpieces – especially those that fall into the Art Deco design style.
READ MORE: The abandoned London Underground station that is now a stunning country house with a platform for a terrace
The first station to be designed in this unique style was the often overlooked Sudbury Town Station, which turns 90 this July.
Sudbury Town is tucked away in a part of town near Wembley that isn’t exactly the most exclusive.
It’s a collection of old suburban streets that are pretty shabby with a selection of Indian grocery and hardware stores and Polish supermarkets – not really the place you would expect great architecture.
But Sudbury Town train station is unique.
The original station building was demolished in 1930 and 1931 and replaced by a new station in preparation for the handover of the junction from the District Line to the Piccadilly Line.
It was designed by Charles Holden, who became famous for his work in designing numerous underground stations in the London Art Deco style.
It has a tall block-style ticket hall that rises above a low horizontal structure that houses the station facilities and shops.
Built of brick, with large glass windows and reinforced concrete with a flat concrete slab roof, it definitely has a distinctive 1930s look and feel.
Holden designed many other stations in a similar style that have been hailed as masterpieces of Art Deco.
These include Acton Town, Alperton, and Sudbury Hill.
The building in Sudbury Town is so special that it is a listed building. Its round waiting room design is simply classic Art Deco and contrasts with the block concrete of the main building.
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Holden was given the task of transforming London Underground stations from “uninspiring holes in the wall” into bright new, inviting places by London Underground manager Frank Pick.
He definitely did the job.
Charles Holden was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1875 and first felt drawn to function and purpose when he attended evening classes in mechanical drawing at the age of 13.
He soon established himself as a professional architect.
His first job on the tube was to redesign the side entrance of Westminster station.
Then he designed the distinctive London Underground roundabout we see today at every station and made sure it was emblazoned in the stations he designed for the extension of the Morden Line, like Tooting Beck.
Pick and Holden traveled to Northern Europe to see examples of modern architecture, and Pick selected Holden to design all of the stations for the Piccadilly Line expansion stations from 1931 to 1933.
Holden’s work on the Piccadilly Line is full of attention to detail. Everything, including the furnishings, subtle lighting, and carefully crafted platform furniture, has been designed to be beautiful and functional.
Trash cans and shelters also received a distinctive design.
So next time you get off the Piccadilly Line in Sudbury Town, make sure to look around.