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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.