Friday, 25 January 2013

Metropolitan Line Walk (20th January 2013)

On a grey and snowy Sunday Anne and I met up at the Great Midland Hotel (1873) at St Pancras to set out and walk the Metropolitan Line (above ground I hasten to add). The day had originally been chosen as a ‘Continuous Professional Development’trip for the City of London Guides of 2012. The weather had put many off who had too far to come for comfort.  We could understand that.

Kings Cross Station - nearly free of clutter!
After coffee and delicious cakes in the Lounge,  I took Anne to gaze in wonderment at the George Gilbert Scott staircase, the extra wide corridors, to accommodate Victorian fashion, the Booking Hall and the serene lounge where we had enjoyed refreshments that had long ago been full of hansom cabs, porters and the hustle and bustle of C19th travel.

The first stop of the route is St Pancras Station (Train Shed 1864), so we had done that; then on to Kings Cross Railway Station (1852), viewed across the road from the Milestone at the start of Grays Inn Road. From there on to Chad’s Place, looking over the cutting (we never found this!). However found some interesting alleys and lanes covered in virgin snow, so we explored. This is the point when you need the rest of the group with you.

We must have passed by Stop 4. Acton Street or circumnavigated it somehow, nor Stop 5. Riceyman Stairs (now Gwynne Place) but did arrive at Mount Pleasant – Stop 7. Post Office Railway – main terminal of the railway lies under the site.

King’s Cross Road looked like a small town street, very quiet, lots of snow covered roof tops so clean with all the snow, and pretty to look at, not something you would usually say about the area.

Behind a bus stop on
Kings Cross Road
Found Farringdon Lane and the pub 'Betsy Trotwood' named after a Dickins character, appropriate as this Stop No. 7 is about ‘Dickins and the Slums’.  The presence of a residential block of the Peabody Housing Trust signalled the improvements over time.  No sign of the steam train on the Metropolitan Line, although we have to confess we were not listening or looking out for it.

A detour round Clerkenwell Green because it looked so pretty in the snow, and noted the Communist Club from a previous walk that Anne had been on. On to Farringdon Station, the old and the new facing each other.  The Castle Tavern pub would have been the lunch stop for the group but we decided to plow on.

Pediment over door in Leeke Street
Arrived at Smithfields  (Stop 10) and decided we should to make our way further into the City and out towards home.

An enjoyable foray and we both look forward to doing this walk again with our colleagues and companions, who will no doubt know the route and of course we will learn so much more about each stop on the way.

The last set of stops are:

Barbican Station
The Barbican
Moorgate Station
Finsbury Circus
Liverpool Street

This walk was created and designed by David Brown

St Pauls Cathedral
You forget how hilly London is
Warehouse conversion

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