Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Fantastic Place - Finsbury Park (3)

In the early 1960s, when fbb visited Finsbury Park station, it was a depressing and ugly place. There was a maze of gloomy corridors and the entrance/exit on to Station Place was impeded visually and physically by a dark and overpowering set of dingy girders.
fbb thought, as they tend to say at the end of many EastEnders episodes, "Wass goin on?"

In the 1930s London was expanding rapidly into open country, particularly to the north. London Transport drew up plans for a massive development of the Underground network, called "The New Works Programme".

The Central line would be the biggest benefactor. In the east more of the former LNER branches would be absorbed ...
... and in the west, services would be extended along the GWR main line to Birmingham as far a Ruislip.
The Northern Line would be taken further into the green fields with an new-build extension to Bushey Heath ...
... and the absorption of the LNER branch from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace.

The cunning plan would link this branch with the existing Northern City line giving a whole range of travel opportunities for the area, notably through trains to Moorgate at the centre of "The City".
Ally Pally trains had, latterly, used platforms on the west of Finsbury Park ...
... but the link-up plan would use platforms on the east of the station and trains would be routed via the track (centre right) and OVER the East Coast main line on a line (subsequently removed). The bridge across the main line was situated just south of the footbridge that we explored when investigating Finsbury Park (park) in last Fridays's blog - read again (here).
So, changes would be needed in Station Place, seen below in 1925.
Property on the right ...
... was demolished ...
... to allow Station Place to be moved eastwards. The grand old shops were replaced with a "state of the art" (for the 1930s!) replacement which still stands.
Where Station Place WAS, the new platforms structure was built ...
Connections into the open air from Drayton Park were relatively easy to do ...
... then the work stopped "for the duration" and post war the Northern Line extensions were cancelled.

The London County Council had blocked development at Bushey Heath whilst London Transport dusted off their abacus and decided that the branch to Ally Pally was no longer viable.

Thus the Finsbury Park girders remained as a monument to a cancelled project.
The gloom which fbb experienced in his youth remained until the early 70s when demolition happened.

The unbuilt platforms' location is now taken up with today's posh canopy.
The buildings and most of the west side platforms used by the branch trains ...
... were demolished after the line closed in 1954.

Tomorrow, we will complete the picture by looking at aspects of the Ally Pally branch then and now.

Back Door (a P.S.)
Yesterday and by pure coincidence, correspondent Roger passed through Finsbury Park and reports that the Seven Sisters Road entrance is still in use, but now with the dreaded barriers - so presumably ingress is now only possible for those with tickets, Oysters or pre-loaded bank cards.
Nice to see some good old fashioned next train indicators with good old fashioned light bulbs in a box technology.

Mr Tubbles - Latest Bulletin
The cat came down from a sulk at the top of the loft stairs for a snack and an FNB (Feline Needs Break) and spent much of the night on and off the fbbs' marital bed. Yesterday morning involved a period of detailed exploration of the interior appurtenances at fbb mansions ...
In the evening, Sir came downstairs and graciously entertained Mrs fbb by playing with her piece of string.
Relationships are improving!

 Next Finsbury Park blog : Wednesday 11th March 


  1. The Central Line extension was originally heading for Denham, cut back after the war to West Ruislip. I don't think the LCC had much to do with Bushey Heath, which is mostly on the Hertfordshire side of the Herts/Middlesex border (GLC since 1965). It ended up in the Green Belt as a result of town planning legislation, an unintended consequence being an unlikely location for a bus overhaul works...

    And that curious sign at Finsbury Park, implying there would be trains from there to Morden!

  2. Andrew Kleissnrer10 March 2020 at 15:36

    To be fair, they wouldn't have run to the West End either. I suspect "generic" wording, the same for every hoarding at every workplace.