One hundred years ago, another extension of the Bakerloo opened to the public, although only two of the four planned stations were ready on time, and it didn’t go where it was originally planned.
The original plans by what was at the time, the world’s most valuable stock market company, the London North West Railway called for a new line running from Queen’s Park down to Euston, where it would have terminated in a loop underneath the station (as at Embankment).
However, that plan was changed in 1911, and the line down to Euston was turned into the overground line we have today. However, they also decided to build a tunnel down towards Paddington instead, and this was to become the extension of the Bakerloo Line, which eventually opened in 1915.
One hundred years ago today in fact.
Of the four planned stations, only Warwick Avenue and Kilburn Park opened on time — namely the 31st January 1915, with Queen’s Park opening on the 11th February and Maida Vale following on the 6th June 1915. The delays were put down to wartime conditions.
The Times newspaper writing about the new extension noted the new stations are fitted with “moving stairs instead of lifts”, but the greatest shock about the new extension was the stations — they were staffed by women. Yes, women allowed to do a man’s job, and quite necessary, as the men were away in France at the time, playing football or something with the Huns.
In fact, when it opened, Maida Vale was a women only zone as far as staff were concerned. Even more amazingly, the women were paid the same wages as the men, which was almost unheard of at the time.
But back to the moving stairs, as there was no longer any need for an engine room for the lifts, the new station buildings at Kilburn and Maida Vale were built as a single story building — which they remain to this day, as there has never been the planned oversite office construction.
Kilburn Park was also described by The Telegraph as the finest in London.
Meanwhile the new Warwick Avenue station is underground, but also under the road, so it has just a couple of staircases in the pavement to indicate its existence.
But on this their 100th anniversary, both Warwick Avenue and Kilburn Park have put out the bunting and found some old photos to put on display. At Kilburn Park, which is significantly larger, there will be a display of posters and photos from the time, and if you arrive this morning, maybe, cake.
The plans are to run displays through to September, to coincide with the opening of the other two stations on the extension.. The station staff have been busy engaging with the local community, so keep an eye out for more events taking place to mark this centenary year.
Memorabilia collectors might be interested in this commemorative postal cover.