Two disused railway arches next to London Bridge station with some unusual decorative features are being restored to bring them back into use.
In recent years, the arches had been used as a nightclub, going by the name of Happy Jacks and later Jacks, but were closed in 2015 for the London Bridge Station expansion, and the arches have remained dormant until now.
They are architecturally significant though, as they were designed by Charles Henry Driver, a prominent Victorian architect who was responsible for the Abbey Mills and Crossness Pumping Stations, as well as the recently restored Peckham Rye station, amongst many others.
Driver’s railway arches for London Bridge were built as part of the 1862 expansion of London Bridge station, where the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) built four more platforms to the south side of the existing station and widened the approach railway.
Driver was never one for simple brick arches though, and these two derelict arches, which can be found on Crucifix Lane, are noteworthy due to their Victorian features, including patterns crafted from different coloured bricks and elaborate stone carvings. It was pretty rare at the time for railway arches to get this level of detail applied to their decoration, especially as these railway arches ran through a poor inner-city district.
That makes them fairly unusual, and the reopening of the arches will include making repairs to the brickwork to restore it back to its original appearance.
Having been empty since 2015, the arches are now part of a £1.5 million restoration by the Arch Company to bring them back into use. The works are expected to be completed next spring.
Tim Hedley-Jones, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust said, “The Railway Heritage Trust is delighted to support the sympathetic restoration of these facades which are a further example of the Trust and The Arch Company working together to provide a long-term sustainable future for our railway heritage.”