The “prettiest” London tube station on the Bakerloo Line, which seems to be a bit like an outdated pub


London has its fair share of awesome underground stations that are real works of art, but it also has its fair share of weird structures. Architecture depends heavily on personal opinion, and many subway stations are like Marmite.

But there’s one station on the Bakerloo Line that’s hard to deny that’s very quirky and interesting, even if you don’t find it pretty. In fact, Kilburn Park Station’s red-tiled facade makes it look like many London pubs would have done it back then, and it’s one of the many classic red-tiled Tube stations designed in the early 20th century.

This particular station is believed to have been designed by Stanley Heap – although it was heavily based on the style of his more famous predecessor, Leslie Green. Leslie Green stations all had similar red-tiled facades, glazed with their glossy finish known as faience, and arched lattice windows, but Kilburn Park takes this to a whole new level.

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Kilburn Park at platform level with its distinctive green and cream tiles (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

That’s because it’s a much longer, sturdier building than most of the other buildings Leslie designed. And unlike many of its others, like Chalk Farm or Belsize Park, the station doesn’t have a first floor with arched windows.

This is because escalators were used instead of an elevator and therefore no space was needed for the elevator mechanisms.

The distinctive oxblood tiled facade of Kilburn Park tube station. (Photo by: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It is also unique in that the ground floor mullioned windows are all original and have not been replaced or repainted. Their striking lattice glazing – and the fact that they almost reach the ground across the entire station front – make it a truly unique structure.

The station has a six-aisled facade facing Cambridge Avenue, and this is where the best view of the tripartite windows is from the outside. Above the windows is a tiled frieze set into the faience and above each bay are signs reading ‘EXIT’, ‘Underground’, ‘KILBURN’, ‘PARK’, ‘Underground’ and ‘ENTRANCE’.

The original wooden ticket office is over 100 years old (London Transport Museum Collections)

Inside, much of the classic green and cream tiling that is so characteristic of Leslie Green’s work and tasteful 1920’s style can still be seen. There are original wooden surrounds on the ticket windows and there is a very unique original wooden kiosk with molded cornices, sash windows, dado paneling and a paneled door. It looks a bit like a dark brown Tardis!

The simple double escalator shaft is crowned from above by an oval glazed dome with a tall central light. The lower escalator hall has sculpted arches with keystones leading to platforms on either side and tiled at the top. At the far end is a veneered wood observation kiosk with an original clock. The platforms are tiled on the station side up to the height of a continuous frieze with the station name.

The original tiller wood surround and checkered tiles can be seen here (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The station was built when the Bakerloo Line was extended north from Edgware Road to Queens Park, where it joined the London and North Western Railway on the surface. It opened on January 31, 1915 at the height of World War I. In February of that year, the service was finally extended to Queen’s Park.

Originally called the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, the line was built by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) and opened on 10 March 1906 between Lambeth North (then Kennington Road) and Baker Street. She was extended east to Elephant & Castle five months later, on 5 August. The shortening of the name to “Bakerloo” quickly caught on, and the official name was changed accordingly in July 1906.

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