Politics

The Glory That Is Uxbridge Station


The front of Uxbridge station. Black columns hold up an ornate roof with wheels carved in stone

Whichever end you approach from, Uxbridge station is magnificent.

The front entrance, with its black columns and stone carved wheels is a true original. Who wouldn’t be lured into that portal?

Approach by train, meanwhile, and you get the nearest earthbound equivalent of entering the hangar bay of Battlestar Galactica.

A concrete station building with tracks running through the centre and prominent orange spot lights

This gem of a station lies way out in zone 6, at the end of the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. It’s not somewhere most of us travel often, if at all. But the station alone makes it worth the trip.

The building was designed by the great Charles Holden with L H Bucknell. It opened in 1938, replacing an earlier station to the north (now lost under a Sainsbury’s car park).

A look along Uxbridge station with a mural of flamingoes on the left
Those flamingoes comprise one of many daintily painted windows in Uxbridge at the moment, courtesy of @LoveUxbridge

Much of the station is formed by a lengthy concrete canopy, not dissimilar to the one Holden built at Cockfosters. Miraculously for a prewar concrete building, it still feels fresh and modern — almost space-age in parts.

Uxbridge station interior, showing the clock and stained glass

The crowning glory of the station, though, is the clerestory stained glass windows. The pairing with the concrete canopy is unusual — brute strength with light delicacy —  but somehow it works.

A tube station with stained glass windows at clerestory level and the exit in the distance

The three windows represent (left to right) the arms of the long-defunct Middlesex County Council, part of the Municipal Borough of Uxbridge arms, and a white swan associated with Buckinghamshire. The glass triptych was the work of Ervin Bossányi, whose windows can also be seen at Tate Britain and the V&A.

Look out for the numerous heritage features throughout the station. You might even spot this antique weighing scales along one of the platforms.

A panorama showing the brown-brick exterior of Uxbridge station

In contrast to the concrete interior, the front of the station is a mix of stone and brick. Two elegant wings of brown-brick office space curl out from the centre. Look to the top of the entrance to find the pair of winged stone wheels. These represent the trolleybuses that once turned around in the station forecourt (now pedestrianised).

The whole complex is an architectural feast, so much so that it’s carried Grade II listed status since 1983.

A tube roundel saying Uxbridge on a concrete wall

Uxbridge is, itself, a rewarding place to explore. Look out for the half-timbered buildings of Windsor Street, the golden postbox for Natasha Baker, the nearby Battle of Britain bunker, and (best of all) the glorious section 12 of the London LOOP walk along canals and rivers.

All images by the author.



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