Above: View looking east at the railway arches beside Tooley Street. The rather dark part of the picture (below the pedestrian footbridge crossing the road) is where the old wall of the station remains.
Work to totally rebuild London Bridge has been going on for some years and it will not be completed until 2016. London very first railway terminus opened at London Bridge Station in 1836. It was much smaller then, having just two railway lines. The railway line was constructed on a brick viaduct by the London and Greenwich Railway, initially running from London Bridge Station down to Deptford Station. It was a few more years before the railway reached Greenwich Station. Having chosen a site for the terminus, the two lines were soon joined by several other railway platforms, built by other railway companies who chose to build their termini beside the first one.
Cutting a long story short, that is why London Bridge Station has platforms at different levels and different alignments. The whole thing grew larger and larger as additional companies added new railway tracks to the original. To cause further complications, new railway lines were constructed to allow trains to pass through the terminus (on what have become platforms 1 to 6) – travelling to Cannon Street Station, Blackfriars Station and Charing Cross Station.
Above: The ornate brick wall, seen when entering the station from Tooley Street. In the 1950s and 1960s the ground was part of a roadway called Stainer Street.
Over the long life of the station, most of it has been rebuilt at least once and so very little remains from the original two tracks with their platforms. One of the very early features is a sturdy wall, with arches built into it which – at the moment – remains beside the entrance to the station when approached from Tooley Street. Grimsaw, the architects responsible for the master-plan, have left the upgrading of the station on the Tooley Street side to the end of the project. Work is starting in 2016 and will continue until 2018 on the northern part of the station. Whether that old wall will remain or be removed is not known. It therefore seemed a good time to show pictures of Tooley Street and the old ornate wall in case it is finally ‘consigned to history’.