Tuesday 1 December 2020

Where Goes With Logos? Who Knows? (2)

 From Private To Public

The Metrolpolitan Railway had small beginnings as a line linking some of London's main line termini ...
... built by the simple expedient of digging a trench along what became Euston Road, dropping in the track and putting a lid back on the top, a technique known as "cut and cover". Even way back when, this was highly disruptive to London's traffic and even more disruptive to some properties on the edge of the trench.
They collapsed.

The "Met" had a tortuous relationship with the District Railway (now the Underground District Line) as the two companies operated the Circle Line (then called the Inner Circle) jointly, each injecting venom, legal cases and mega-tantrums into the operation.
The so-called "Extension" into Buckinghamshire opened progressively.

There was also a more favourable relationship with the Great Central Railway, last into London at Marylebone and now expunged from History as a main line.

The Great Central had plans to extend its London line under the city, down to the coast and through a tunnel under the English Channel (La Manche) affording the opportunity for through trains from Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester to Paris.

That still hasn't happened!

But the Met always had aspirations of grandeur. They developed land alongside their railway and brought affordable properties to the Middle Classes ...
... and they built a huge block of flats, dubbed Chiltern Court, complete with all the services you could possibly desire ...
... over the top of their London Terminus, Baker Street.
It replaced the original more modest station.
At the time of building, it was the largest block of residential accommodation in central London.
Look closely, and you can see the outer extremities of the platforms in the V of the development.
There is even a train sitting there on the left waiting to depart from one of the terminal platforms.

There is a plan to redevelop the site by building a brand new "raft" at street level using the arches and retail space of the original block as entrances.
This would provide a load of "retail opportunities" to turn the terminus into a "destination", to use the jargon of developers. The frontage would, thankfully, be unchanged.

But, historically the Met was adept at literally building its customer base. It thought of itself as part of a real railway network of quality; not just what we would call today a "commuter" line.

It was therefore the first railway company to be awarded an official Coat of Arms ...
... which adorned all its rolling stock both steam ...
... and electric.
By today's measure, the Arms were the logo, combined with the rich maroon colour and the clear name, they presented that powerful image of quality and reliability.

The company initials appeared, logo-like, on some buildings ...
... but often the publicity just relied on name plus reputation ...
... and, indeed, name abbreviated to "Metro". That was good enough to get the message over.

But, lookee here, again on the Watford line:-
... and at Croxley Green ...
... and even on some timetable publications.
The equivalent of today's London Transport "roundel" featured on station nameboards and other signage.

The "diamond" station logo has also appeared at today's Moorgate ...
... as a celebration of the line's heritage.

Had the line continued in private ownership, no doubt we would still have this logo today, as the Met always considered itself a cut above the "ordinary" Underground.

But all was to change in 1933. 

 Next Lovely Logo blog : Wednesday 2nd December 


And Now ...

Our political leaders want us to be able to "celebrate Christmas", so have taken the risk of relaxing the rules for five blissful days of fun and frolic (?). fbb has news for these politicians. A Christian does not need their permission, or their rule mitigation, to celebrate  CHRIST  mas , the "mas(s)" i.e. the feast that recognises the arrival of the "Christ", the Saviour.

Each day's alphabetic snippet is offered  NOT to preach or to seek to change peoples' minds - but in a society which only "celebrates" Kriss-Muss, we seek to inform and encourage folk to give the real reason for the season some thought.

So here goes:-

 fbb's Alphabetical Advent Calendar 
Those who, nearly two thousand years ago (give or take a century or two), decreed that  CHRIST  mas  would be celebrated on December 25th, ensured that festivities would start at midnight on Christmas Eve and continue for 12 days. Things are very different today!

A separate Season would begin on the first Sunday in December; starting a month of eager anticipation . The Season would be known as Advent from the Latin for "coming".
Today, many churches and some families light a candle on each of the four Sundays of Advent. The central candle is lit at midnight on Christmas Eve; or, if the celebrants are tucked up in bed, at the service on Christmas morning!

About 500 years before the Nativity, Isaiah wrote in full-powered prophetic mode:-

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows but now light is shining upon them.

Expecting and preparing for the "great light" of  CHRIST  mas  is a big theme of Advent - hence the five candles.

Do we make the link between the Advent light and the Kriss-Muss illuminated decorations?
Candle, probably? Reindeer, not!


  1. Andrew Kleissner1 December 2020 at 07:39

    Hmmm ... The Metropolitan "diamond" was surely a response to the early use of the UndergrounD group's roundel, which had first appeared in 1908 - examples still exist at Ealing Broadway (District Line) and elsewhere. This was a plain red disc with a horizontal blue bar carrying the station name; the white "infill" - possibly inspired by the somewhat similar YMCA logo - didn't come until later and was, I think, devised by Frank Pick as a means of "holding the eye".

  2. The poster for Metroland Watford is interesting as a station was never built in the town centre as a terminus for the line. The nearest they got was the station by Cassionbury Park which is about a mile and a half from the town centre. Their is a building in Watford that would have been used as the terminus if the line had ever got that far. It is built in a grand style and is easily recognized from the outside. The Metropolitan Station is still used by the Underground but is a good way outside the town.