Memories of Broad Street

nlogax

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If a series of photos could sum up the state & image of the railways at the time, those surely must be in the running ( especially the one looking back at the box & the construction site ). No wonder the section up to Dalston looked so decrepid a few years later when I arrived, it'd got a head start!

Always felt like the NLL and its environs were an especially unloved part of the network during NSE times and pre-privatisation, although it could be argued that there's nothing more atmospheric than barely existing bare-bones railway infrastructure when the entire surroundings are being taken apart and the demolition gangs are just waiting for the line to close.
 
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WesternLancer

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Chunks of this film from 1959 seem to have been made at Broad Street, esp the concourse:


with other sections at Liverpool Street I think
 
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davetheguard

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anyway - chunks of this film from 1959 seem to have been made at Broad Street, esp the concourse:


with other sections at Liverpool Street I think

Not seen this film before; certainly a quirky take on the problem of litter. I've always had an interest for Broad Street for some reason: great to see it in busier times; I only visited it when it was very run down with cut back canopies and on its last legs.
 

WesternLancer

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Not seen this film before; certainly a quirky take on the problem of litter. I've always had an interest for Broad Street for some reason: great to see it in busier times; I only visited it when it was very run down with cut back canopies and on its last legs.
Yes, I also only saw it in those latter days.
 

nickw1

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Never used Broad Street but knew 'of' it from 1982-85. The South Western Division timetable I had included a supplementary section at the back containing additional services of interest to South Western travellers. Given its Richmond connection, the Broad Street-Richmond was one of these. 20 minute service, much the same as the 1966 timetable. Knew 'of' the 501s also, though never actually saw one.

Wonderfully atmospheric place by all accounts, and the architecture of the building seems quite impressive.. shame they had to demolish it. There seems to have been little room for these quirky bits of the railway for a while now, I can see why but it's a bit of a shame.

Same with Primrose Hill, served only by the peak hour Watford trains. Have seen a photo of that somewhere (was looking at a Broad Street site yesterday, can't remember what but found it by searching) and it brought up this station. Rather down-at-heel from an 80s photo, but again very atmospheric - complete with station lights with station name (see other thread).

Wondering if something like a London Terminals-Guildford would have been valid out of Broad Street? Reason being, that in the peak hours, only one change (at Richmond) would have been required, when the Ascot-Guildford services started at Waterloo. So presumably London-Richmond-Guildford would have been a valid route, though whether using Broad Street as a terminal was, is a different question.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Never used Broad Street but knew 'of' it from 1982-85.

Wonderfully atmospheric place by all accounts, and the architecture of the building seems quite impressive.. shame they had to demolish it. There seems to have been little room for these quirky bits of the railway for a while now, I can see why but it's a bit of a shame.

The revenue from redeveloping the site for commercial purposes must have been far too tempting. o_O
 

RT4038

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Wondering if something like a London Terminals-Guildford would have been valid out of Broad Street? Reason being, that in the peak hours, only one change (at Richmond) would have been required, when the Ascot-Guildford services started at Waterloo. So presumably London-Richmond-Guildford would have been a valid route, though whether using Broad Street as a terminal was, is a different question.
Highly unlikely I should think. In those days I think 'London Terminals' tickets were 'London SR' and Broad Street was 'LMR' so presumably not valid ?
 

thesignalman

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I saw the filming taking place when travelling one evening but didn't find out what it was for until later.
The inital filming was done in wet weather. I was on duty there when they returned for some second takes a week or so later. It was a dry night, so they needed to wet the platform. Unfortunately, the film crew thought they could stretch their hoses across live running lines to achieve this, and the last two arrivals were severely delayed while the juice was turned off with an emergency isolation until the crew could be convinced to pack their stuff up until the authorsised time of 11.40 pm.

John
 

delt1c

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Worked on LT bus routes 9 & 11 in the late 70's and early 80's which although destination blind said Liverpool St terminated in front of Broad St. Spent many hours exploring Broad St on meal breaks. Always fascinated me how a station could be so run down in one of the worlds top financial districts
 
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frodshamfella

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Never used Broad Street but knew 'of' it from 1982-85. The South Western Division timetable I had included a supplementary section at the back containing additional services of interest to South Western travellers. Given its Richmond connection, the Broad Street-Richmond was one of these. 20 minute service, much the same as the 1966 timetable. Knew 'of' the 501s also, though never actually saw one.

Wonderfully atmospheric place by all accounts, and the architecture of the building seems quite impressive.. shame they had to demolish it. There seems to have been little room for these quirky bits of the railway for a while now, I can see why but it's a bit of a shame.

Same with Primrose Hill, served only by the peak hour Watford trains. Have seen a photo of that somewhere (was looking at a Broad Street site yesterday, can't remember what but found it by searching) and it brought up this station. Rather down-at-heel from an 80s photo, but again very atmospheric - complete with station lights with station name (see other thread).

Wondering if something like a London Terminals-Guildford would have been valid out of Broad Street? Reason being, that in the peak hours, only one change (at Richmond) would have been required, when the Ascot-Guildford services started at Waterloo. So presumably London-Richmond-Guildford would have been a valid route, though whether using Broad Street as a terminal was, is a different question.
It is a.shame these quirky stations and services disappear, there are less and less of them left. I used Broad Street in the 80s when it was run down, im glad of that now. I also alighted on an evening peak service to Primrose Hill a.few times, glad of.that too.
 

Aljanah

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Highly unlikely I should think. In those days I think 'London Terminals' tickets were 'London SR' and Broad Street was 'LMR' so presumably not valid ?
Back in the day Richmond had two ticket offices - one for Southern region tickets, and the other for London Underground and North London Line.
 

thesignalman

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I watched that linked video with interest. Mention of the overgrown "steam side" platforms (as they were known) reminded me that we regularly had official visits from parties of botanists - apparently there were some fairly rare plants that had made themselves a home there.

When I was based there as a Relief Signalman in the 1980s we never regarded places like that as run down, it was just part of how London was in those days. I am sorry to say this, and it probably reflects my age, but I actually preferred London as it was then - not only the railway but the whole of London was grubby and untidy but homely - it seems so clinically clean and inhospitable these days. I get nostalgic over old television series like The Chinese Detective which feature London, with no pretences, as it was then.

In those days the signalboxes were spartan but well-scrubbed against the few that survive in the 2020s which are usually double-glazed, fully carpeted and provided with fitted furniture. Signalmen, station staff and train crews worked together, whereas today staff seem very insulated and focussed only on themselves.

I do remember that not all the staircases at Broad Street down to road level were in use, and one that wasn't (but was still accessible) still had some 1960s holiday posters displayed in the passageway.

I accept times have moved on, but I look back on those days as the some of the best in my lifetime. We each have our "era" - some people I worked with 50 years ago were saying the 1930s were the good old days . . .

John
 

nickw1

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I watched that linked video with interest. Mention of the overgrown "steam side" platforms (as they were known) reminded me that we regularly had official visits from parties of botanists - apparently there were some fairly rare plants that had made themselves a home there.

When I was based there as a Relief Signalman in the 1980s we never regarded places like that as run down, it was just part of how London was in those days. I am sorry to say this, and it probably reflects my age, but I actually preferred London as it was then - not only the railway but the whole of London was grubby and untidy but homely - it seems so clinically clean and inhospitable these days. I get nostalgic over old television series like The Chinese Detective which feature London, with no pretences, as it was then.

In those days the signalboxes were spartan but well-scrubbed against the few that survive in the 2020s which are usually double-glazed, fully carpeted and provided with fitted furniture. Signalmen, station staff and train crews worked together, whereas today staff seem very insulated and focussed only on themselves.

I do remember that not all the staircases at Broad Street down to road level were in use, and one that wasn't (but was still accessible) still had some 1960s holiday posters displayed in the passageway.

I accept times have moved on, but I look back on those days as the some of the best in my lifetime. We each have our "era" - some people I worked with 50 years ago were saying the 1930s were the good old days . . .

John

I can see what you're saying there, though I find it hard to believe anyone could consider the 1930s as the 'good old days'. Great Depression, Hitler, war... a time without any merits whatsoever. Just like even 18-year olds now are unlikely to remember 2020 and 2021 - probably the worst years since 1945 - with any fondness whatsoever.

For me I think 2010-2015 was a pivotal point, everything before that transition period was better than everything after, though probably a product of my own generation (too old for a Milliennial, too young for a boomer).

Like you I think that the 'grittiness' of the railway of the 80s and even the 90s to a degree had its charm. Certainly on the railway I think there was far more variety in the late-BR and even early privatised era. Things like XC these days seem to be run like a glorified metro system: it's not so much old vs new stock, but just the lack of quirkiness in the timetables and the routes these days. I am one of those strange people who bemoan the loss of even unimportant things like classic street lighting and those yellow sodium lights that used to start as red and come on at dusk - a mainstay of my childhood, teens, twenties and even thirties but now as much the past as my younger days...
 
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thesignalman

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I am one of those strange people who bemoan the loss of even unimportant things like classic street lighting and those yellow sodium lights that used to start as red and come on at dusk - a mainstay of my childhood, teens, twenties and even thirties but now as much the past as my younger days...
And those sodium lights went off at 11 pm and came on again at 6 am in suburbia. Nowadays we are "green" and keep them on all night!

J
 

PeterC

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I do remember that not all the staircases at Broad Street down to road level were in use, and one that wasn't (but was still accessible) still had some 1960s holiday posters displayed in the passageway.


John
I used the station regularly in the last few years before closure and I only ever used the open staircase alongside Sun Street Passage. Even in the occasional use I made of the line starting in about 1970 I don't recall any other way to access the station.

The film wasn't accurate about access to the temporary platform. This was direct from Sun Street Passage, a right of way that separated Borad Street and Liverpool Street stations.
 

Taunton

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The film wasn't accurate about access to the temporary platform. This was direct from Sun Street Passage, a right of way that separated Borad Street and Liverpool Street stations.
Do I remember correctly that this was a large unpainted wooden staircase, built on the outside of the viaduct, leading to the "temporary" platform on the extreme eastern side of the formation?
 

nickw1

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And those sodium lights went off at 11 pm and came on again at 6 am in suburbia. Nowadays we are "green" and keep them on all night!

J

Strangely I do remember the lights going off in the small hours for a short period around 1979/80 or so, though these were not sodium but mercury I think (new build small housing estate in rural-ish Southern England). Don't think the lights going off lasted too far into the eighties, but only their first year or two of existence (from 1979).
 

Pigeon

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My principal memory of Broad Street is a blank circle squeezing apologetically into a corner on the Underground map next to Liverpool Street with a blank line connected to it...

Infuriatingly I can't correctly remember whether I ever actually went there or not. I can remember definitely that I spent part of a day going round London visiting termini I never normally had cause to visit, but I can't remember exactly when it was or how it was I could have come to be there with the time to do it. I remember going to Liverpool Street and it makes sense to think I would have done Broad Street at the same time but I don't remember whether I did or not. I remember a great empty falling-to-bits barn of a place with a single platform protruding forlornly into the wasteland outside, which would have been correct for the period, but I can't tell if it's a real memory or one I have synthesised from looking at photos once the internet happened.

Similarly I can remember heading east along the North London line (track-bashing) and marvelling at the flipping state of some of the stations and what kind of a wreck a fully functioning railway line can nevertheless manage to look like, but I can't remember where I was going to or where I got off. It was at a time when you still could go to Broad Street, but my memory stops short at Dalston, and I only know that I certainly didn't get off there.

As for street lighting I remember it coming on at dusk and going off about midnight or thereabouts. It didn't come on again in the early morning, though it would have been possible: the lights were timed by these beautifully elaborate time switches (of which I had an example), one in each lamp post, with automatically-wound clockwork backup for mains failure and a pair of cams, a morning one and an evening one, which went round once a year and could be used to automatically adjust the switching time settings as the hours of daylight varied. It would have been possible to do the evening-and-morning-only thing by controlling both switching times off the cams and then cutting the power from a central timer between say midnight and 6am, using the clockwork to carry it through, or by having a couple of extra stops to provide additional fixed off and on times in the middle of the night, but most places I remember only the evening on time was automatically varied and the off time was fixed at midnight or so. On again in the morning would have been for swarming piles like London but not for normal places. Naturally, there was plenty of scope in this arrangement for individual timers to get out of whack and turn the lights on at silly times...

The on-all-night thing became a lot more common when they started to move from time switches in the lamp post to daylight sensors on top of the luminaire. Highly magenta, and they didn't seem any less prone to failure than the time switches either.

My street still had concrete posts with SOX lamps until just a few years ago, but then they came round and chopped them all down and replaced them with tubular galvanised steel posts and SONs, for no reason at all. Completely pointless waste of resources to replace a remarkably efficient light source with a less efficient one. But that's councils for you; ours already thinks nineteen million is less than five hundred thousand, so you can't expect them to come up with sensible figures for something complicated like street lighting.
 

nickw1

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Similarly I can remember heading east along the North London line (track-bashing) and marvelling at the flipping state of some of the stations and what kind of a wreck a fully functioning railway line can nevertheless manage to look like, but I can't remember where I was going to or where I got off. It was at a time when you still could go to Broad Street, but my memory stops short at Dalston, and I only know that I certainly didn't get off there.
I do remember using the NLL in 1993, I can't remember what the context was but I think it was just to 'see' some of north London from surface level. This would have been late NSE; I don't remember the stations being that gritty or run-down by then - even though some other parts of the network still had that gritty feel. Can't even remember how much of it I used or where I got on or off, but I think, if I remember right, I visited Hampstead Heath so perhaps left the train at Gospel Oak. I do seem to remember using the Metropolitan Line that day to sample Underground 'fast' running so if there's a station where the two interchange, perhaps there. Broad Street was obviously long gone by then so couldn't sample it; stock was a 313. Also visited Heathrow to watch a few planes take off (but that was later in the day) so it was if I remember right a 'London public transport in all its forms' day !
As for street lighting I remember it coming on at dusk and going off about midnight or thereabouts. It didn't come on again in the early morning, though it would have been possible: the lights were timed by these beautifully elaborate time switches (of which I had an example), one in each lamp post, with automatically-wound clockwork backup for mains failure and a pair of cams, a morning one and an evening one, which went round once a year and could be used to automatically adjust the switching time settings as the hours of daylight varied. It would have been possible to do the evening-and-morning-only thing by controlling both switching times off the cams and then cutting the power from a central timer between say midnight and 6am, using the clockwork to carry it through, or by having a couple of extra stops to provide additional fixed off and on times in the middle of the night, but most places I remember only the evening on time was automatically varied and the off time was fixed at midnight or so. On again in the morning would have been for swarming piles like London but not for normal places. Naturally, there was plenty of scope in this arrangement for individual timers to get out of whack and turn the lights on at silly times...
I certainly remember lights coming on during the daytime in the 70s/80s/90s.
The on-all-night thing became a lot more common when they started to move from time switches in the lamp post to daylight sensors on top of the luminaire. Highly magenta, and they didn't seem any less prone to failure than the time switches either.
These have been present for most of my lifetime I think. Certainly - and going as far back as the late 70s - I remember the lights had little 'buttons' on top which were the daylight sensors. My dad always went on about lights being controlled by timers, but that was presumably a previous generation (50s/60s) and had already gone by the late 70s.
My street still had concrete posts with SOX lamps until just a few years ago, but then they came round and chopped them all down and replaced them with tubular galvanised steel posts and SONs, for no reason at all. Completely pointless waste of resources to replace a remarkably efficient light source with a less efficient one. But that's councils for you; ours already thinks nineteen million is less than five hundred thousand, so you can't expect them to come up with sensible figures for something complicated like street lighting.
There seemed to be a mass withdrawal of older lights, of various generations from the 60s right up to the 90s, in the 2010-15 period. As late as 2007-09 older style lights (sodium and mercury, concrete posts, and ornate metal posts) were still common, by 2015 all had just about gone. You can see that from old Google StreetView scenes from the late 00s; much of the old-style lighting is still there. I think this was down to various council 'schemes' involving private contractors replacing ALL the lighting, whether it dated from the 60s or the 90s.

A particular shame the 'ornate metal' posts went; I think these dated from old gas lanterns from 100+ years ago and survived with various changes of the actual light fitting. These were removed from the street I lived on (at the time) in around 2012, and Southampton had many of these, now almost all gone. A pity that they could not keep these.

EDIT: I had to look up 'SOX' and 'SON'. 'SOX' appear to be the yellow lights I was alluding to while 'SON' are a pinkish variant of sodium light. Mind you even the 'SON' (which were frequently mounted on older 'classic' columns rather than wholesale replacements) seem to have gone in recent years - those also were replaced by the schemes I alluded to above. They were common in the 90s and 00s. In some other countries, such as Greece, SON still seem to be common as are 'classic' street light styles.
 
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Deepgreen

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It's running round to couple up; 1533, 1534 and 1535 are all the same movement... that's actually the driver propelling it out...
That in itself is an oddity these days - imagine a driver today driving a train out of a London terminus from the rear cab!

Do I remember correctly that in the final months before closure some legal technicality arose. The main station got closed but a temporary single platform, built entirely in wood, was erected on the east side viaduct just at the platform end. And that a huge wooden staircase to access it was built up the viaduct side.
Yes - I visited at that time:

7400510112_c73a9f3d3a_oa.jpg
With a group of LU colleagues, including Howard Collins OBE in the black raincoat, who now runs Sydney Transport in Australia. This is the bustling concourse a few months before closure:
8259299484_a1b4421f17_oa.jpg
Finally - has there ever been an operating London terminus with a simpler throat?! Two tracks to a single platform and a sempahore starter.
7400503496_8ae0b429b2_oa.jpg
 
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NorthKent1989

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Sadly I was born years after Broad Street had been torn down.

Having done some research on it, I find it a shame that I’ll never be able to ride a train from the City to Richmond via the inner suburbs of North London, it must have been an unusual train journey.

Someone above earlier said that railways today don’t have quirky or unusual elements, I think Broad Street was one of those elements.
 

edwin_m

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Sadly I was born years after Broad Street had been torn down.

Having done some research on it, I find it a shame that I’ll never be able to ride a train from the City to Richmond via the inner suburbs of North London, it must have been an unusual train journey.

Someone above earlier said that railways today don’t have quirky or unusual elements, I think Broad Street was one of those elements.
All but the last bit into Broad Street can still be done on the Overground from Bishopsgate, although it's pretty sanitised now compared with the state it was before closure.
 

nickw1

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With a group of LU colleagues, including Howard Collins OBE in the black raincoat, who now runs Sydney Transport in Australia. This is the bustling concourse a few months before closure:
View attachment 100605

Nice to know they still went to the trouble of putting up a Christmas tree :) So Christmas '85 presumably - the date of my first visit to Clapham Junction, the opposite extreme when it comes to London stations.

Nothing to do with the quietness, but the general atmosphere of that photo screams '80s BR' to me. Just the overall 'look' of the station. Some might say that's a bad thing, I'm not so sure...

Finally - has there ever been an operating London terminus with a simpler throat?! Two tracks to a single platform and a sempahore starter.
View attachment 100606

Whereas the semaphore makes it look like a bygone era, some considerable time before the 80s - if one ignores the modern 'Broad Street' sign and litter bin.
 

Taunton

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Finally - has there ever been an operating London terminus with a simpler throat?! Two tracks to a single platform and a semaphore starter.
Apart from the semaphore, Shoreditch at the end of the East London Line on the Underground, just round the corner from here, was the same, with an even more restricted service. I did use this a couple of times in the 1980s and walk on to the office in the City.

Colleague at that office used to commute from Pinner on the Met to Liverpool Street, but in the periodic LT strikes would go over to Hatch End and travel to Broad Street.
 

WesternLancer

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I think this music video was filmed at Broad Street in the 80s

Certainly looks like it was! Not one of the better known 80s music videos there so that's a good find. Complete with an Edmondson ticket in hand.

Ironic given the song title that trains departing Broad Street would not have got the band 'Out of London' however, just sound to SW London...
 

urbophile

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I can see what you're saying there, though I find it hard to believe anyone could consider the 1930s as the 'good old days'. Great Depression, Hitler, war... a time without any merits whatsoever.
What did the 1930s ever do for us? I take your point and I doubt if it was in any sense a golden age. But in terms of railway design it gave us Holden's Underground stations; Art Deco gems like Surbiton; 1938 tube stock and their grown-up cousins on Merseyside; the LNER Scottish expresses... Without WW2 we might have had a transport network that was the envy of the world. There was a brief hope of recapturing a new national standard of design in the 1950s with the Festival of Britain, but architects and designers were trampled to one side in the rush to rebuild, and then Big Money took over.
 

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