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Oxford Circus Underground Station Entrance on North-West Corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street, Westminster

Description: Oxford Circus Underground Station Entrance on North-West Corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street

Grade: II
Date Listed: 20 July 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1401022

OS Grid Reference: TQ2906281221
OS Grid Coordinates: 529061, 181220
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5152, -0.1414

Locality: Westminster
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: W1F 7TF

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Listing Text


Underground railway station. Built 1906 by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL) under Charles Tyson Yerkes, serving the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway (BS&WR), later named the Bakerloo Line. Designed by Leslie Green.

The office building above the station is not included in the listing.

Reason for Listing

The entrance to Oxford Circus Underground Station on the north-west corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street is designated for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a good, externally well preserved example of a station on the BS&WR, later the Bakerloo Line, retaining original tiled signage and a cartouche bearing the UER company insignia, the only example to survive intact
* Historic interest: the Yerkes group of stations, designed by Leslie Green, illustrate a remarkable phase in the development of the capital's transport system, with the pioneering use of a strong and consistent corporate image; the characteristic ox-blood faience fa├žades are instantly recognisable and count among the most iconic of London building types
* Group value: with the former CLR station opposite built in 1900; the pair constitutes a notable instance of, and contrast between, two tube stations built by separate companies serving the same station


This was originally a separate station serving the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway (BS&WR), one of three tube lines opened 1906-7 by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL). The world's first deep tube line, the City & South London Railway, had opened in 1890 between the City and Stockwell, and although a flurry of proposals for further routes ensued, progress was hampered by lack of capital. The Central London Railway (CLR), later the Central Line, opened in 1900 between Bank and Shepherd's Bush, with a station at Oxford Circus, and from 1901-2 the American transport entrepreneur, Charles Tyson Yerkes, acquired four dormant companies: the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway; the Brompton & Piccadilly Circus Railway and the Great Northern & Strand Railway (GN&SR), which he merged as the GNP&BR, and the BS&WR, on which work had begun in 1898; the three were incorporated into the UERL in 1902. Yerkes died in 1905 before the tube lines were completed. The BS&WR or 'Bakerloo Railway' or 'Tube' opened on 5 August 1906 from Baker Street to Elephant & Castle with eight intermediate stations. The station at Oxford Circus was linked to the CLR station opposite by a passage. The line was extended to Marylebone and Edgware Road in 1907. In 1910 the three combined UERL tubes were formally merged as the London Electric Railway (LER) and the BS&WR became the Bakerloo Line. In 1913 the LER acquired the Central London Railway and the two stations at Oxford Circus merged. The present ticket hall beneath Oxford Circus was built 1963-8 when the Victoria Line was constructed.
Leslie Green (1875-1908) was appointed Architect to the UERL in 1903 and designed 40 stations for the company in a distinctive Edwardian Baroque house style clad in ox-blood faience. They followed a standardised design and plan adapted to the particular site. Interiors comprised a ground-floor ticket hall with lifts, a spiral stair down to lower corridors, and further stairs down to the platforms which were usually parallel. The upper storey housed lift machinery and office space. Ticket halls featured deep-green tiling with a stylised acanthus leaf or pomegranate frieze, and ticket windows in aedicular surrounds; few of these features now survive. Stairs, corridors and platforms were faced in glazed tiles with directional signage, produced by various tile manufacturers, each station with its unique colour scheme. Green suffered ill health and his contract with UERL terminated at the end of 1907. He died the following year at the age of 33.


MATERIALS: Steel frame clad in brick, faced in ox-blood red faience produced by the Leeds Fireclay Co Ltd.

EXTERIOR: The building occupies a prominent corner site with 2 symmetrical elevations. 2 storeys high. N elevation to Oxford Street has 2 main pilastered bays and a central half bay. The station entrance is in the right-hand bay; the half-bay has a doorway with a segmental pediment, leading to the offices above. The longer E elevation to Argyll Street is of two paired bays flanked by half-bays, the left-hand of which was originally the station exit, flanked by a narrower bay. The bays to either side of the angle were let as shops from the outset and now have modern shop fronts; the former exit bay in Argyll Street is now a restaurant. The lower frieze to Argyll Street has the station name in raised gilded lettering; that to Oxford Street restored in 1994. Set into the corner, above the frieze, is a cartouche bearing the UER monogram, the only example to survive intact. The upper storey has timber Diocletian windows in keyed semi-circular arches with egg-and-dart decoration and a cartouche between the springers of the paired bays. Each half-bay has an oeil-de-boeuf window. Upper frieze lettering has been removed.

INTERIOR: The interior has undergone several phases of modernisation and is not of special interest.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.