Construction of Circle/District section under Victoria Embankment


New Member
23 Jun 2022
Tower Hamlets
Idly reading about the construction of the Embankment, and I was wondering if anyone had any insight into how this linked in to the section of the (then District Railway) section of the Underground that runs underneath it. Wikipedia is a bit skant. It's obviously a cut-and-cover - but was the Embankment built first and then the line built into it, the embankment built around the railway, or all built concurrently?
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RailUK Forums


Established Member
1 Aug 2013
It was all built together, the sewer system, the road, the gardens/park on top, and the District Railway. Not precisely cut-and-cover, but it was actually reclaimed from the river bank, as the river used to be wider. It took about 15 years to build, in part accounting for the partial completion of the District in sections; the Royal Opening was apparently years before it was finished.


18 Mar 2019
I believe the railway was constructed concurrently with the Embankment. The stretch of railway between Westminster and Blackfriars together with the four stations on that stretch, were opened on 30th May 1870. The Embankment itself was opened on 13th July the same year.


Veteran Member
7 Apr 2010
I found a description describing how the Victoria Embankment was built, it’s quite a few pages of small text, difficult to summarise so here’s an extract, there’s a lot more in the source:
Following in an even line the general curve of the river, the Embankment extends from Westminster to Blackfriars Bridge, rising at each end by a gentle gradient to open upon Bridge Street, Westminster, opposite the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament, and upon Chatham Place, Blackfriars, opposite the station of the Metropolitan District Railway. It passes beneath the Charing Cross Railway Bridge at Hungerford, and the first arch on the Middlesex side of Waterloo Bridge. It is about a mile and a quarter in length, and is 100 feet in width throughout. The carriage-way is 64 feet wide; the footway on the land side 16 feet, and that on the river side 20 feet, planted with trees 20 feet apart. On the river side the footway is bounded by a moulded granite parapet, 3 feet 6 inches in height, and on the land side partly by walls and partly by cast-iron railings.

The wall of the Embankment is a work of extraordinary magnitude and solidity. It is carried down to a depth of 32½ feet below Trinity highwater mark, and 14 feet below low water; and the level of the roadway is generally four feet above high water, rising at the extremities to twenty feet. The rising ground at each extremity is retained by the increased height of the wall, which is built throughout of brick, faced with granite, and founded in Portland cement concrete. The river front presents a slightly concave surface, which is plain from the base to mean high-water level, and is ornamented above that level by mouldings, stopped at intervals of about seventy feet by plain blocks of granite, bearing lamp standards of cast iron, and relieved on the river-face by bronze lions' heads, carrying mooring rings. The uniformity of line is broken at intervals by massive piers of granite (intended to be surmounted with groups of statuary), which flank recesses for steamboat landing-stages; and at other places by stairs projecting into the river, and intended as landingplaces for small craft. The steamboat piers occur at Westminster, Charing Cross, and Waterloo Bridges, and those for small boats midway between Westminster and Charing Cross, and between Charing Cross and Waterloo Bridges, and both are united at the Temple Pier, opposite Essex Street.