Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London, The South, London Bridge Station (no.79)

‘..The spacious terminus of the South Eastern, London and Brighton, Greenwich, North Kent, and Croydon Railways, that all converge at this point, is seen at the end of a broad turning that leads from the main road up to the respective stations.’.

London Bridge Railway Station was the first station to be built in London – to serve south London, Kent, and Sussex. The station opened on 14 December 1836 with the London & Greenwich RailwayThis was the first railway in London, the first commuter railway, and the first such system to be built on viaducts, elevated above the roads. It opened between Spa Road, Bermondsey and Deptford Creek in February 1836 and had been extended into London Bridge and Greenwich by the end of the year. (The history of this line is a story of individual enterprise.) The bricks for the viaduct came from Faversham in Kent and were transported in Thames barges to Deptford Creek. (Photograph of barges below & good article here.)

Brick Barges c.1895
Thames Brick Barges c.1895 at Faversham, Kent
Deptford Creek today
Deptford Creek today
London & Greenwich Railway, 1840 (Wikipedia)
London & Greenwich Railway, 1840 (Wikipedia)
Spa Road Station (www.southlondonguide.co.uk)
Spa Road Station (www.southlondonguide.co.uk)
London & Greenwich Railway line at London Bridge, 1836 (Wikipedia)
London & Greenwich Railway line at London Bridge, 1836 (Wikipedia)
The railway viaduct in Deptford today
The railway viaduct in Deptford today

The London & Croydon Railway opened in 1839 and in 1846 merged with other lines to form part of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway. The early history of these companies is complicated! Corbett’s Lane Junction (top left of picture below) was the first railway junction and where this line diverged from the London & Greenwich Line.

London & Croydon, and London & Greenwich Lines, c.1840 (Wikipedia)
London & Croydon, and London & Greenwich Lines, c.1840 (Wikipedia)

The South Eastern Railway wanted to connect London to Dover, where steam packets could then take passengers onwards to the Continent. Parliament judged only one line was necessary out of London and so required the company to share the line with the London & Brighton Railway as far as Redhill – hence the rather curious alignment below. The company operated between 1836 and 1922. The North Kent Railway was developed in the 1840s and owned by South Eastern Railways. (History here.)

Railways in southern England, 1840 (Wikipedia)
Railways in southern England, 1840 (Wikipedia)
South Eastern Railway Offices, Tooley Street
South Eastern Railway Offices, Tooley Street
London Bridge Station (Victorian London website)
London Bridge Station, Illustrated London News 1851 (www.victorianlondon.org)
London Bridge Station, 1922 (Wikipedia)
London Bridge Station, 1922 (Wikipedia)
London Bridge Station, 1978 (Wikipedia)
London Bridge Station, 1978 (Wikipedia)

Today there is a delapidated reminder of Victorian times, probably soon to be swept away as London Bridge changes completely.

Part of Old London Bridge Station?
Part of Old London Bridge Station?
Old and New at London Bridge
Old and New at London Bridge

Rebuilding London Bridge Station

You may be interested in
The Railway Stations of London
Railway History Walking Club
The London Greenwich Railway Line – history
The London Greenwich Line – excellent article
Walking the London Greenwich Line
And finally a view under the station
here.

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