Unbuilt London - Archive Articles

Unbuilt London: Biota! – the East London aquarium
Unbuilt London: Biota! – the East London aquarium

Not that many years ago, and already largely forgotten, there was a plan for a huge aquarium, Biota!, to be built next to the Millennium Mills in Docklands.

Unbuilt London: The Eurostar terminus at White City
Unbuilt London: The Eurostar terminus at White City

Eurostar trains are based at the wonderfully restored St Pancras station close to central London, but they nearly ended up in West London, at White City.

Unbuilt London: Demolish Downing Street
Unbuilt London: Demolish Downing Street

Not an anti-government protest slogan, but plans from 1854 to demolish most of the western side of Whitehall and replace it with a grand monolithic building. While lots of grand buildings have been built on Whitehall over the years, Downing

Unbuilt London: The Berkely Square road tunnel
Unbuilt London: The Berkely Square road tunnel

Road traffic trying to go north/south in Mayfair has to cross the busy east/west Piccadilly road – so why not bury it in a road tunnel?

Unbuilt London: Diverting the Thames through South London
Unbuilt London: Diverting the Thames through South London

The River Thames flows through a very expensive part of London, so wouldn’t it make more sense to divert it somewhere cheap — like South London, and then make better use of the land in central London? That was the

Unbuilt London: London and Westminster Improved
Unbuilt London: London and Westminster Improved

In 1766, a plan was published for the improvements of London and Westminster that could have resulted in Trafalgar Square as we know it today looking rather more like Leicester Square.

Unbuilt London: The new Buckingham Palace
Unbuilt London: The new Buckingham Palace

It’s 1910, the British Empire is at its height and people are starting to think that Buckingham Palace is rather shabby for an Imperial capital.

Unbuilt London: A gothic iron bridge across the Thames
Unbuilt London: A gothic iron bridge across the Thames

Imagine a gothic bridge with turrets crossing the Thames at Lambeth, but made from iron. That was the proposal back in 1847, to replace the ferry that had long operated in this part of the Thames.

Unbuilt London: Elizabeth House, Waterloo
Unbuilt London: Elizabeth House, Waterloo

A futuristic arch that would have sliced into the skyline, dominating from some sides, and being almost invisible from others.

Unbuilt London: The Waterloo monument
Unbuilt London: The Waterloo monument

London is full of monuments to wars and battles, but one is conspicuous by it’s absence, Waterloo – but there was a plan for a triumphal arch in central London.

Unbuilt London: Brutalist Whitehall
Unbuilt London: Brutalist Whitehall

Whitehall, the heart of government is lined mostly with grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings, but it nearly looked like the Southbank – lots of concrete.

Unbuilt London: Covering Regents Park with housing
Unbuilt London: Covering Regents Park with housing

Although Regents Park is today a large open space surrounded by grand housing, it very nearly didn’t even exist.

Unbuilt London: Replacing Tower Bridge with a tunnel
Unbuilt London: Replacing Tower Bridge with a tunnel

Considering how iconic Tower Bridge is as a symbol of London, it’s difficult to believe that just 50 years ago there were plans to replace it with a tunnel.

Unbuilt London: The “railway arcade” above the streets
Unbuilt London: The “railway arcade” above the streets

Imagine if you will of streets lined with decorative arcades that protected Victorians from the weather and above their heads, a marvel of the age – a silent railway without steam.

Unbuilt London: The Southwark Railway Terminus
Unbuilt London: The Southwark Railway Terminus

A scheme once proposed replacing five railway stations in central London with one giant terminus in Southwark.

Unbuilt London: The “figure of eight” tube line
Unbuilt London: The “figure of eight” tube line

There should be a major junction under Oxford Circus acting as the centre point of a large double-loop tube line, had plans shown off in 1988 gone ahead.

Unbuilt London: The Legal Quays at London Bridge
Unbuilt London: The Legal Quays at London Bridge

Just over 200 years ago, a plan was presented to Parliament that could have seen a large section of the City between London Bridge and the Tower of London turned into a series of large docks.

Unbuilt London: Heathrow’s rail links to central London
Unbuilt London: Heathrow’s rail links to central London

Although Heathrow Airport has a couple of railway links to central London, they weren’t necessarily the ones that we could have ended up with.

Unbuilt London: The MARS plan to rebuild the entire of London
Unbuilt London: The MARS plan to rebuild the entire of London

In the inter-war years, there was a war between two rival camps for urban planning, the high-density housing with lots of communal space, or low-density with lots of private space.

Unbuilt London: Croydon trams extension to Crystal Palace
Unbuilt London: Croydon trams extension to Crystal Palace

The South London trams snake around the region offering a convenient east-west link, but once could have also been extended to just outside the former Crystal Palace.

Unbuilt London: The 1,000 Foot Tall Glass Conference Centre
Unbuilt London: The 1,000 Foot Tall Glass Conference Centre

In the 1960s, King’s Cross almost became more famous for a massive glass tower than it was for its nocturnal delights in the seedy bars.

Unbuilt London: The Crystal Span Bridge
Unbuilt London: The Crystal Span Bridge

Forget garden bridges and wobbly bridges and tower bridges, what we really need in London is a 7-story high crystal bridge!

Unbuilt London: The Museum of London’s glass tower
Unbuilt London: The Museum of London’s glass tower

When you’re a museum in need of some extra space, and maybe a more visible presence in the area, what could be better than a massive and very tall glass tower on your doorstep?

Unbuilt London: A Garden Bridge across the Thames
Unbuilt London: A Garden Bridge across the Thames

Long before Joanna Lumley went all AbFab over the idea of a garden bridge across the Thames, there was an earlier, and fortunately, never built plan for a garden bridge.