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Brent Cross Underground Station and Parade of Shops, Barnet

Description: Brent Cross Underground Station and Parade of Shops

Grade: II
Date Listed: 20 July 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1401123

OS Grid Reference: TQ2389787952
OS Grid Coordinates: 523897, 187952
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5768, -0.2134

Locality: Barnet
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: NW11 9TR

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Listing Text


Underground railway station, 1923 by Stanley Heaps. Minor later alterations.

Reason for Listing

Brent Cross Station and attached terrace of shops is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: subtle massing and proportions make for a refined composition in the neo-Georgian style, redolent of the character and aspirations of the outer London suburbs between the wars, an exemplar of the traditionalist strand of London Underground architecture promoted by Stanley Heaps in the early 1920s.
* Quality of materials: including well-crafted red Dorking brick, artificial stone and tiled roofs
* Intactness: surviving original porticoes, hardwood doors, ticket hall bench, platform canopies, clock and a parade of shops in the forecourt


Brent Cross (originally just Brent) Station opened on 19 November 1923 and formed part of the extension of what is now the Northern Line. In common with neighbouring stations on this north-western branch of the line, the station was built to designs by Stanley Heaps, architect to London Underground.

The Northern Line originated as the City & South London Railway (C&SLR), which opened in 1890 running from King William Street in the City to Stockwell, and the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR), which opened in 1907 between Golders Green and Charing Cross. An additional branch of the latter ran from Camden Town to Highgate. In 1924, by which time the C&SLR operated from Euston to Clapham Common via the City, the two railways were amalgamated. A new tunnel was built between Euston and Camden Town. The Hampstead branch was extended to Edgware in 1924, the southern branch to Morden in 1937 and the Highgate branch to Mill Hill East and High Barnet in 1935-40. A link was tunnelled between Kennington and Charing Cross in 1937 and it was at this time that the various branches became known as the Northern Line.

In 1907, the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL) formed by the railway speculator Charles Tyson Yerkes, opened the CCE&HR terminus at the still-rural Golders Green. This provoked surprise, but in fact the new station stimulated development and the area quickly became a suburb. From then, the arrival of the tube in areas well beyond London's traditional hinterland villages such as Highgate, Hampstead and Clapham became a catalyst for the construction of new housing. The new underground railway network allowed the middle and working classes to commute to the capital and but inhabit detached houses with gardens in the spacious, semi-rural suburbs (at least as the advertising posters of the period cast it). The 'Metroland' suburbs built around stations on the Metropolitan line were made famous by John Betjeman, but a similar story could also be told of the five districts where the 'Hampstead tube' extended: Brent Cross, Hendon Central, Burnt Oak, Colindale and Edgware. All five stations arrived in advance of major house building. Most dramatic in its transformation of the area was Hendon Central Station, which opened as a single-storey pavilion, but was designed to be the central portico of a vast, quadrant block forming part of Hendon Circus; this grand piece of suburban planning was completed by 1929. All the 1920s stations on the branch of the line but Colindale, which was destroyed in the Second World War, survive.

Stanley Arthur Heaps FRIBA (1880-1962) was assistant to Leslie Green, the architect to the UERL from 1903. He succeeded Green on the latter's death in 1908. Heaps' first stations, such as those extending the Bakerloo line northwards in 1914-5, were similar to those designed by Green: faced with ox-blood faience. During the 1920s and 30s, Heaps worked closely with Charles Holden (1875-1960) on new tube stations. His work on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line extension most distinctively his own, and was a particular response to the aspirations of the new suburbs. Heaps described the design of the new stations as 'sufficiently dignified to command respect, and sufficiently pleasing to promote affection' but he rejected the need for 'buildings that blatantly advertis[e] the railway'.

Brent Cross Station has undergone some changes in recent years, most notably the introduction of the Underground Ticketing System in the 1980s which involved the erection of barriers and automatic ticket machines. The ticket hall has also been re-tiled.


EXTERIOR: Neo-Georgian style, built of narrow red Dorking bricks with a pyramidal tiled roof. Characteristically for its designer, the entrance to the station has a Portland stone Doric colonnade with paired columns. This is surmounted by iron railings in a neo-classical design which support an original 'UndergrounD' roundel, the colonnade's parapet dipping neatly to incorporate its circular shape. The entrance doors are paired on either side of a two central shop units, although only one pair is now used. The original timber and glass doors and surrounds, the former with marginal lights, paterae, and bronze fittings survive as do the timber shop fronts. There is an additional small rear entrance, located at the north-east corner of the ticket hall leading to Heathfield Gardens, which has a portico of square Portland stone columns and original doors in the same design as those to the main entrance.

A terrace of shops, divided by paired stone Doric columns, lines the south-west side of the station forecourt, incorporating the railway arches. These were built within a few years of the station. Two of the original four timber shop fronts survive and all the entrances to the shops retain stone door-cases with flanking Doric pilasters.

INTERIOR: of the ticket hall is a large cubic space, lit by an attic clerestory with near-square timber sash windows. The ticket hall has ceramic-faced black pilasters to the walls, a chunky dentil cornice below clerestory level, and a black-and-white chequerboard floor. The ceiling has a coved cornice. The wall tiles, white with green and black edging (the house style for this part of the Northern Line), are modern replicas of the originals. The ticket counter, machines, barriers and lighting are all modern but a wooden bench with tapering legs and the ticket hall clock are original.

PLATFORM: Access to the single central platform is through a subway passage, set below the tracks at the south-west of the ticket hall. This has a wrought-iron unglazed fanlight in a neo-classical design. Stairs at the passage end branch into two, leading to the island platform above which is covered by a shallow-gabled lattice girder canopy with timber and glass covering and timber scalloped valances decorated with shallow discs. An original station clock, manufactured by the Self-Winding Clock Company of New York, hangs above the north-western staircase approach. The wall-mounted metal and timber roundel sign announcing the name of the station is a modern replica.

Source: English Heritage

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