On the 1st November, 1884, a tube station changed its name, and in doing so became the shortest lived tube station to bear the name it once had.
Even then, the name it adopted was changed shortly after that — although more by slow process as it ceased to use the definitive article.
The station in question is Monument, once known as The Monument for a while, but in 1884, for a few weeks only, as Eastcheap.
It’s not been possible to find out why, only that it had been referred to as “the Eastcheap station” as early as Sept 1877. The company prospectus for the expansion of the railway into the full circle, the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Railway of Nov 1877 also referred to the station as Eastcheap.
However, as it got closer to the railway opening, it seemed that the station was renamed as King William-street station, and also appeared on maps as such while under construction, and then just before it opened, back to Eastcheap — which The Standard of Sept 18th 1884 said was a very bad idea as King William Street was far better known as a location.
Despite that, it opened as Eastcheap on the 6th October 1884, but just a few weeks later, it was renamed The Monument on 1st November 1884.
Why the name changed has proven difficult to work out.
What I do know is there was some correspondence between an Alfred Frampton, who seems to have been a lawyer based in Lincoln Inns Fields, and the District Railway on the 26th September suggesting that the name should be changed to Monument, and that the railway company’s secretary responded on the 9th October saying that the matter was being put to the Directors and was likely to be agreed to.
Sadly, I don’t know what reason was given in the letter, as it must have been quite a strong one for the railway company to agree to a name change so shortly after the station had opened.
And thus, on the 1st November 1884, Eastcheap ceased and The Monument was born, although when The was dropped is unclear. However, an article in The British Architect of Feb 1885 reviewing the construction of the railway was already referring to the station by its modern plain name of “Monument”, so even The didn’t last that long.
Anyway, just for 26 days, London had a station called Eastcheap — making it (probably) the shortest lived station name on the Underground.
Article last updated on November 1st, 2018 at 06:48 am