Unbuilt London - Archive Articles

Unbuilt London: A cable car across the Thames
Unbuilt London: A cable car across the Thames

There were once plans to build a cable car that would link the Millennium Dome with the DLR on the north side of the river. Obviously, no such cable car was ever built.

Unbuilt London: Turn St James’ Park into a giant roundabout
Unbuilt London: Turn St James’ Park into a giant roundabout

In the early 1890s, a Scottish architect published a grand scheme to rebuild central London. Away with tired old narrow streets and hello to Parisian boulevards. Goodbye to St James’ Park and hello to a massive road network and roundabout.

Unbuilt London: High Paddington
Unbuilt London: High Paddington

Today, the land behind Paddington station is an array of glossy office blocks. But they shouldn’t be there. It’s supposed to be a 1960s array of housing towers.

Unbuilt London: The Thames Airport
Unbuilt London: The Thames Airport

No not that one, the other one. No, not that one either, the other one. Yes, this one — the giant airport right in the centre of London on the Thames, next to Parliament.

Unbuilt London: The 1960s Fun Palace
Unbuilt London: The 1960s Fun Palace

In an age where people were thinking the future of mankind was more leisure and less work, thoughts turned to how such pleasure was to be enjoyed.

Unbuilt London: A 500 Foot Tall Monument to the Battle of Britain
Unbuilt London: A 500 Foot Tall Monument to the Battle of Britain

A massive pyramid, topped with a pillar, and then some more — not the Post Office Tower, but a monument to the Battle of Britain.

Unbuilt London: Straightening the River Thames
Unbuilt London: Straightening the River Thames

The River Thames is a rather curvy beast, especially around the Isle of Dogs, but had a plan in 1796 been carried out, it would be considerably straighter.

Unbuilt London: Britannia Triumphant upon Greenwich Hill
Unbuilt London: Britannia Triumphant upon Greenwich Hill

Greenwich could today be less famous for its observatory and meridian, than for a gigantic statue which would have dominated the area.

Unbuilt London: Replacing buses with a monorail network
Unbuilt London: Replacing buses with a monorail network

In 1967, the Conservative Party published a document calling for the scrapping of buses in central London – and replacing them with a huge Monorail network.

Unbuilt London: The 1,000 foot tall Golden Tower
Unbuilt London: The 1,000 foot tall Golden Tower

In 1832, Parliament passed the Great Reform Act, and London’s skyline was nearly as radically reformed, with a 1,000 feet tall gold plated column to commemorate the occasion.

Unbuilt London: The King’s Cross Airport
Unbuilt London: The King’s Cross Airport

When planes were small and buildings expected to be large, putting an airport right in the centre of a city was seen as a very sensible idea.

Unbuilt London: The Iron Bridge
Unbuilt London: The Iron Bridge

Just over 200 years ago, plans were shown off to replace the venerable London Bridge with a massive single span iron bridge.

Unbuilt London: Stepney’s Massive Clock Tower
Unbuilt London: Stepney’s Massive Clock Tower

Nearly a hundred years ago, plans were shown of for a mighty civic new building for the east-end of London that would have dominated the skyline for miles around.

Unbuilt London: A giant pyramid on Trafalgar Square
Unbuilt London: A giant pyramid on Trafalgar Square

200 years ago, a plan was announced to plonk a giant pyramid in the centre of London, for no purpose other than to cock a snoot at the French.

Unbuilt London: The Isle of Dogs Airport
Unbuilt London: The Isle of Dogs Airport

In the post-war period when London had a surplus of rubble and empty spaces, an airport was planned in the docklands area with SIX runways.

Unbuilt London: The Outer Loop Railway
Unbuilt London: The Outer Loop Railway

London has in recent years gained a loop railway that runs around the suburbs, but 100 years ago, a proposal was made for a much larger loop which would have dramatically changed how we see the city today.

Unbuilt London: Heathrow Airport’s High-Speed Monorail
Unbuilt London: Heathrow Airport’s High-Speed Monorail

Back when London was surrounded by more green and had just one airport, a radical scheme was cooked up for a high-speed monorail linking city to airport. And not just any monorail — these “trains” could also run on roads!

Unbuilt London: How Charing Cross nearly became a giant helipad
Unbuilt London: How Charing Cross nearly became a giant helipad

Imagine if you will, a giant flat surface larger than Trafalgar Square overhanging the River Thames — this was the proposed central London Helidrome.

Unbuilt London: Farringdon’s massive railway terminus
Unbuilt London: Farringdon’s massive railway terminus

A giant railway terminus was once planned for central London that would have swept away all the land between Holborn and Farringdon. Obviously never built, its failure indirectly lead to the creation of the London Underground.

Unbuilt London: The Victorian skyscraper taller than The Shard
Unbuilt London: The Victorian skyscraper taller than The Shard

Around 160 years ago, plans were announced for a skyscraper in London that would have a summit even higher than The Shard stands today.

Unbuilt London: The almost story of a loop railway under Southwark
Unbuilt London: The almost story of a loop railway under Southwark

Imagine a tube tunnel running under Southwark and the City, but carrying full size mainline trains — and you would be imagining something that was actually proposed.

Unbuilt London: A travolator on top of London Bridge
Unbuilt London: A travolator on top of London Bridge

When London Bridge was being shipped off the to USA, one of the ideas mooted for its modern replacement was a high level, covered travolator to help speed pedestrians from the railway station to the City.

Unbuilt London: Extending the Northern Line to Peckham and Streatham
Unbuilt London: Extending the Northern Line to Peckham and Streatham

Back in the late 1980s, plans were seriously looked at which could have seen a new Northern Line spur constructed between Kennington, and either Streatham, or along the proposed Bakerloo Line extension, towards Peckham.

Unbuilt London: The Victorian proposal for a railway to Westminster Abbey
Unbuilt London: The Victorian proposal for a railway to Westminster Abbey

Fairly recently, a chap called Moffat wrote a story about an underground railway in Westminster — to considerable fury of tube geeks who spent an inordinate time chewing over holes in the plot.