Today marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of Marylebone tube station – but last month also marked the 110th anniversary of the opening of Marylebone tube station.
The tube station opened originally on the 27th March 1907, as part of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway, as Great Central Station.
The 100th anniversary taking place today though is to mark the renaming of the station, on 15th April 1917 as Marylebone.
Why the change?
The mainline station above ground was built by the Great Central Railway, and opened as Great Central Station, Marylebone, but for some reason, the London Underground decided to name their tube station as Great Central, after the railway line, rather than the terminus station.
Even that was the second choice, as it was originally going to be called Lisson Grove, after the nearby main road. It seems curious that the tube line was being dug with a station planned to go next to a mainline station, and the London Underground went to seemingly significant lengths to avoid using the name Marylebone.
It’s speculation, but the mainline railway themselves opened the station as Great Central Railway, Marylebone — and indeed, used that naming convention for all their stations — the railway name, then the station location.
With the GCR brand foremost, it seemed sensible at the time to name the tube station accordingly. Even if within just a few years, everyone was referring to the mainline station as plain Marylebone.
As it happens, the original tube station entrance wasn’t even connected to the mainline station — it was a short walk away, where today a Travelodge hotel stands.
Following damage to the station during WW2, it was decided to close that entrance, and dig a new tunnel towards the mainline station and install escalators instead of lifts. The former tube station entrance was demolished in 1971. That change of location is why today there’s a decent walk in a tunnel from the platforms, which sit directly underneath the old entrance, to the escalators leading up to the replacement entrance.
So, 100 years ago, on 15th April 1917 Great Central Station became Marylebone.
The original name still appears in places on the platform wall tiling, although the tiling is a modern replacement to reflect the original design.
The curious aspect is that the tube station wasn’t supposed to exist. When the mainline railway was being built, they petitioned for a tunnel to the circle line, a short walk to the south, with a new station being built there. However, the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.
Had they built the new circle line station, then it’s likely that the Bakerloo line would have skipped the site entirely.