On this day in history
11 July 1848
Waterloo Station, London, is opened.
The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened the station on
11 July 1848 as 'Waterloo Bridge Station' (from the nearby Waterloo
Bridge over the Thames) when its main line was extended from Nine Elms.
The station, designed by William Tite, was raised above marshy ground on
a series of arches. The unfulfilled intention was for a through station
with services to the City of London. In 1886, it officially became "Waterloo Station", reflecting long-standing common usage, even in some L&SWR timetables.
The station grew rapidly, but haphazardly. By 1899 Waterloo had 16
platform roads but only 10 platform numbers due to platforms in
different sections of the station or on different levels sometimes
duplicating the number of a platform elsewhere. A little-used railway
line even crossed the main concourse on the level and passed through an
archway in the station building to connect to the South Eastern
Railway's smaller station, now Waterloo East, whose tracks lie almost
perpendicular to those of Waterloo. Passengers were, not surprisingly,
confused by the layout and by the two adjacent stations called
By the late 1890s the L&SWR accepted that main-line
access to the City was impossible. In 1898, the company opened the
Waterloo & City line, a 'tube' underground railway that ran directly
between Waterloo and the City built with the technology pioneered by
the C&SLR 8 years earlier. This gave the company the direct commuter
service it had long desired (albeit with the need to change from
surface to underground lines at Waterloo). With Waterloo now destined to
remain a terminus station, and with the old station becoming a source
of increasingly bad will and publicity amongst the travelling public,
the L&SWR decided on total rebuilding. The station, more or less as
we know it today, opened in 1922.
Photo - The Waterloo Clock.
Famously the clock has now “workings” being driven by a system of rods
and gears from a master elsewhere.