In Pictures: Farringdon and High Holborn


Mikey’s Flikr pool is one that we have raided (with his permission) before, as it is often home to some impressive images from London’s Transport history.

This week is no exception, with two excellent images of Farringdon & High Holborn featuring, both taken in 1934. These are reproduced below, along with the original accompanying original commentary.

You can see the originals on his photostream. As he points out, both images are likely originally London Underground’s own, so we hope they will not mind us reproducing them here.

Farringdon & High Holborn, looking north

Looking north across the Circle & Metropolitan line platforms, this image is amazing if only because of the massed advertising that the Met Railway had allowed to plaster the walls with! Tucked away is also the then obligatory W H Smith’s kiosk, even it advertises ‘The Star’ newspaper. Various well-known products are seen – such as Yardley’s Soaps (at the time made not that far away in Stratford), and mainline railways such as the LMSR are also plugging their wares. One company who advertised heavily here were Stephens Inks – perhaps designed to remind the legions of City clerks who used the station of the brand to buy!

Also seen is the Metropolitan Railway’s version of the roundel – the red diamond sign. Tucked away to the right are the signs of the previous year’s takeover of the Met by the new London Transport. The edge of a new Beck tube map, and the Johnston typeface of an LT timetable can be seen.

Farringdon & High Holborn, looking south

A fine, if dingy, view looking south of the station platforms taken in 1934, a year after the ex-Metropolitan Railway station became part of the new London Transport empire. It shows a busy array of retail outlet – despite having a Lyons Cafe upstairs even the platform boasts a refreshment room, and a W H Smith newsagent kiosk. The various adverts include the old London company of Yardley’s, and the LNER advertising their Holiday Yearbook – the far platforms, the Metropolitan Widened Lines on their way to Moorgate and with connections towards Blackfriars, of course being served by the LNER. Although the now Listed 1865 train shed still survives, the scene has changed. The Widened Lines have come back to life, having been ‘saved’ by the Moorgate services, these have now been sacrificed for the further enhancements to Thameslink – Farringdon is at the heart of this scheme and the station is currently being extensively remodelled. The overbridge and staircases, seen here, were reconstructed in the 1980s by London Underground, and in the next few months will be completely remodelled as new lifts are installed.

The ex-Metropolitan Railway ‘diamond’ signs, their version of the LT roundel, still shows the name “Farringdon & High Holborn” – along with ‘alight here for Gamages’, the retail emporium a short walk away on Holborn.

Written by John Bull