Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photo Essay: Baker Street Underground Station

While trundling around London with a camera, you get to capture the commonplace but still great sights. Here’s my take looking at Baker Street Underground Station. Baker Street already resonated with me because of the association with Sherlock Holmes, but the fact that it was the first underground train station obviously excites an amateur history buff like me. Plus I always wanted to be a train driver but ended up as a bloody boring banker. How the mighty have fallen. Anyhow, I am not planning to give you the history of this station here, for that you can go check the wiki entry. Only my thoughts and commentary are here.

Baker Street,Underground

This is the main ticket hall. Quite an interesting arrangement on the roof with the beams. Very nice patterns are formed.

Baker Street,Underground

Moving towards the Circle and Hammersmith line platform, you can see the World War I memorial. It is made out of marble, with a lion on top killing some kind of a serpent like monster. Pretty good work. The inscription on the top says:

“The men from the service of The Metropolitan Railway Company whose names are inscribed below were among those who at the call of King and Country left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten.”

This year is the sad year when the last WWI British veteran died. Quite poignant. It was supposed to be the great war, the war to end all wars and still men are dying to this very day.

Baker Street,Underground

This is a 12 inch artillery shell, presented by the Vickers (remember the references to this firm’s guns in Biggles? or am I showing my age?). It has a slot for donations.

Baker Street,Underground

The signage shows the way to the other platforms as you can see. The interesting bit was the railway clock on top.

Baker Street,Underground

The ironmongery on the round window shows the motif for the Metropolitan Railway. You see the M and R.

Baker Street,Underground
There’s the platform where I need to get to. The water damage can be seen in the frankly mouldy and leprous white marking on the wall and the buttress support. Looks faintly like you are descending into a World War time interrogation chamber, with the harsh light and dingy brick walls, no?

Baker Street,Underground

So why am I showing you manky old roofs and arches? Well, they are pretty old for one and secondly, you can see the old iron supports and scaffolding that were originally put up. Could do with a good clean, i tell you.

Baker Street,Underground

These were previously gas powered, but now they are tungsten lamps. They emit a pretty bright light. These are the original light fitting, see the

Baker Street,Underground

Between the platforms you have wood panelled corridors, go figure. Something that wouldn't be out of place in an old corporate setting is quite eye catching here. This corridor crosses over the tracks. 

Baker Street,Underground

Looking up the tracks, a train is approaching, but on the other side, you can see wooden cupboards. No idea what’s in them, but it is so surprising to see wooden furniture in a station like that. 

Baker Street,Underground

Looking up the empty tunnel. On the left, where you see the sodium orange light, is the spur line which moves into the metropolitan line.  Its very grimy but you can see the tunnel curving away to the left, nicely highlighted by the train traffic and signalling lights.

  Baker Street,Underground

On the left is a Chromolithograph dating back to 1863 comparing how the station looked almost 100 years ago and how it looks today. Can you see the ventilation and lighting shafts? they are still the same (more about that lower down). Obviously the clothes are a tad different, but the platforms are now much higher than before.

Baker Street,Underground
The platform has lots of plaques and posters showing the history of the construction and how it was made.

Baker Street,Underground
There are these crimson drum like speakers across the platform which are used for station announcements. Ok, why that colour? doesnt match with anything, but anyway. I was trying to figure out why on earth would somebody actually put a damn sticker on a speaker which has been disconnected? Weird.

Baker Street,Underground 

Baker Street,Underground

These tile lined holes were originally meant for ventilation and to let light come in, but have now just been boarded up. This is how the ventilation holes look now. Look vaguely like upside down urinals, if you ask me. Very strange bizarre. 

But we are but the people who travel these trains...

Baker Street,Underground  Baker Street,Underground

Sitting in front of a damp, water splotched wall and absentmindedly picking their nose while waiting for the train. Puzzled looks on the right.

Baker Street,UndergroundBaker Street,Underground 
How on earth did this lady manage to get a phone into her back pocket? Besides surgery, I cannot see how.

Baker Street,Underground

Somebody is reading a newspaper, somebody has luggage and two friends are busy gabbing away.

Baker Street,Underground  
Baker Street,Underground

Totally bored out of their mind while waiting. Then the lady got tired of waiting for the tube and then decided to plonk herself on her friend’s lap.

How progress moves, even Sherlock Holmes with his characteristic pipe will not be allowed to smoke down here. It does not make any difference that his museum is located opposite the street of Baker Street Station and that perhaps the pipe smoke could have curled itself towards the station in older times, now there is no exception, not even for him. Here is the full slide show.

2 comments:

Bheela said...

Hi Shonabhai, Remeber, when I was taking picture with you in the staiton, a police came asking us not to take pictures?? How come you could manage so many,
They are all superb, I read your photo essay in one shot..great going.

BD said...

lol, they can see me and think that this fellow has already gone, cant say anything to him! :)