A Supremely Stimulating Station
The book is available from Amazon at £14.95; fbb's copy cost £2!
Nine Elms Railway Station in the London district of Battersea was opened on 21 May 1838 as the London terminus of the London & Southampton Railway. The station was inconveniently situated for travel to central London, with the necessity to complete the journey by road or by the steam boats connecting the station to points between Vauxhall and London Bridge.
The station was closed to passengers from 11 July 1848 when the L&SWR opened its metropolitan extension from Nine Elms to Waterloo (then called Waterloo Bridge Station); in 1941 Tite's building was damaged by German bombs and it was demolished in the 1960s. The site became the flower section of the New Covent Garden Market in 1974.
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 (track in the foreground, above) and passed through an archway in the station building to connect to the South Eastern Railway's smaller station, now Waterloo East.
Such a scheme, as well as costing billions, might not go down too well with commuters deprived of trains into Charing Cross!
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K Jerome was published in 1889 and contains this delightful description of the "first" Waterloo.
We got to Waterloo at eleven, and asked where the eleven-five started from. Of course nobody knew; nobody at Waterloo ever does know where a train is going to start from, or where a train when it does start is going to, or anything about it. The porter who took our things thought it would go from number two platform, while another porter, with whom he discussed the question, had heard a rumour that it would go from number one. The station-master, on the other hand, was convinced it would start from the local.
In the end they bribe an engine driver to take them to their destination.