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Bradshaw’s Guide

Charing Cross

The handsome and important terminus will, for the future be exclusively identified with the “South Eastern Railway;” the two names are now indissolubly joined as are “Paddington” and the “Great Western.” And as a result, the vast “London Bridge Station” must now be considered only a great junction to which the Brighton company have a joint title as their terminus.

As the latest terminus built in London, the public have a right to expect Charing Cross to be one of the handsomest and most convenient; nor will this expectation be disappointed. Its position is superior to most others, and its neighbourhood the best of all. Standing back from the street some 100 feet, rises the vast frontage, 200 feet long, of an hotel, built after the simple and imposing designs of Mr. E. Barry, in the Italian style. The open space between the street and the station will be ornamented with an Eleanor Cross, a facsimile of the original, which once occupied an adjacent site. The whole ground floor of the hotel will be appropriated to railway offices and refreshment rooms. The passenger, at present, entering from the Strand, passes through an arched passage, upon the terminus platform. Here the vast and harmonious proportions of the station are felt at once, as the eye glances to the semicircular roof of iron and glass, nearly 200 feet span, and next to the almost measureless brick walls which form the sides of the station, and the substantial back of the hotel. Only a few windows pierce this mass of brickwork, so that the stupendous structure, built as it is on arches, bears the appearance of the stability which it undoubtedly possesses. From the four lines of rails on the bridge, seven lines run into the station, in a fan like form, the wider end of which is the width of the terminus. The ironwork of the bridge and station roof is painted chocolate colour, the knobs and ties being effectively gilded. The one front girder of the station contains 40 tons of iron, whilst in the whole roof there are 1,200 tons, and yet the structure has the light appearance of the Crystal Palace Transept.

The removal of property consequent on erection of the Terminus alone has been immense, but the houses and premises taken down, including Hungerford Hall and market, were all of a class that could well be spared, and the two miles of permanent way to London Bridge did not sacrifice any building of interest, always excepting the suspension bridge and St. Thomas’s hospital. The line runs on 190 brick arches, of which 18 are over streets; there are several street bridges, and over the Borough market an iron viaduct, 404 feet long. Box girder bridges of iron cross the thoroughfare on the Southwark side of London Bridge, and these last are undoubtedly as ugly as utility unadorned can be. These repulsive features occurring where the most imposing stream of life ebbs and flows over London Bridge, will perpetuate a dislike to the line that has thus disfigured the English capital, an offence which nothing can excuse but the connection of the South Eastern railway with the West End of the town, and with other systems.

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