IMG 1472 640x425 - Goodbye Leslie Green, hello Paddington Cube

Goodbye Leslie Green, hello Paddington Cube

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The future at Paddington without the Leslie Green building (Source: Paddington)

Today news is out that Paddington Cube, designed by Renzo Piano, has been given the go ahead. It will soar upon the site of the old mail sorting office.

The nearby Bakerloo Line entrance will be relocated and provided with direct escalators from street level.

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The Bakerloo entrance with the old sorting office behind in London Street.

Paddington tube station, opened 1 December 1913, is one of only three on the Bakerloo provided without surface buildings. It was the very first of a new phase of tube stations to have escalators instead of lifts, thus surface buildings became totally unnecessary.

Tweet depicting the Paddington tube entrance – before the GWR building behind had been completed.

The entrance is unusual in being an intermediary between Leslie Green’s designs (Elephant – Edgware Road with lifts) and the modifications by Stanley Heaps (Paddington – Kilburn Park with escalators.) Instead of iron railing surrounds (as at Trafalgar Square/Piccadilly Circus & elsewhere) this delightfully decorated small building was provided.

IMG 9798 - Goodbye Leslie Green, hello Paddington Cube
The London Street side of the tube entrance clearly showing its Leslie Green tiling.

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Clearly the structure, with its motley collection of roof-fans, abandoned street signs, is these days unloved.

Originally it had smartly tiled interior walls with roundels, a glazed canopy, an arch and decorative lights. The exterior tiles are in the classic Green style which is an oxblood red faience colour. Possibly as a result of wartime economy or damage the more decorative bits vanished and it became austere, an appearance retained to this day.

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It holds the record for the deepest flight of stairs from street level to the ticket hall. That’s a reason to get rid of it! 🙁

Even though its unique in terms of London underground history, the structure is not listed and WILL be knocked to the ground. A rare opportunity to see a Leslie Green building swept away in the name of progress.

It’s a case of goodbye Leslie Green, hello Paddington Cube!

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  1. This wasn’t a Leslie Green building. Green died in 1908, whereas the extension of the Bakerloo to Paddington opened in 1913. The stations on the Bakerloo extension beyond Edgware Road to Queen’s Park were designed by Stanley Heaps, in a similar style. However, the Maida Vale and Kilburn Park (the two with street-level buildings) only needed a single storey since they have escalators. Lifts needed a first floor lift machine room.

    1. Author

      I understand what you are saying. Green’s designs were used for a few more years, even by Stanley Heaps. Both Edgware Road and Paddington have the slightly lighter coloured tile used by Leslie Green (and they too had Green’s original tiling inside the station, examples of which can still be seen at both Edgware Road and also at Regent’s Park). Stanley Heaps finally changed the exterior to a darker red for the Bakerloo’s further extension northwards and the first use was at Maida Vale along with his newer style of interior.

      1. Green didn’t design any stations after 1907 (so he did do Edgware Road – hence the station building and geometric tiling). Paddington did not have the UERL style geometric tiling patterns on the platforms though.
        I agree that Heaps followed the general style created by Green, but it’s not accurate to say that Green’s designs were used for a few more years. This implies that he had created a number of designs in readiness for the extension, which wasn’t the case (apologies if this isn’t what you meant though!). Heaps created the new stype of design specifically for these stations as the original, two storey buildings were no longer required with escalators being installed.
        I wasn’t aware that the exterior tiling on Maida Vale and Kilburn Park was darker than on the Green stations though – an interesting observation. Thanks!

        1. Author

          The comments re Stanley Heaps here are of interest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maida_Vale_tube_station

          Green didn’t design future stations I agree with that however his influence was very strong and Heaps added his own touch to Green’s designs.

          As far as I know Maida Vale & Kilburn were adapted from Green’s own single storey stations which means Heaps didn’t originate that concept.

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