Railway architecture

Great Hall, Euston Station

Euston booking hall_530x627

Great Hall, Euston Station
Architect: Philip Charles Hardwick (1846)
Drawing: Philip Charles Hardwick (1846)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings & Archives Collection

Euston Station was one of the glories of British railway architecture. Designed by Philip Hardwick between 1833 and 1839, this served as the terminus for travellers to London from Birmingham and the North West. Its architecture, based on Greek temples, was deemed a fitting gateway to the capital and an introduction to the engineering marvels of the railway beyond.

This design is for a new Great Hall by Philip Charles Hardwick, the son of Euston’s first architect. Commissioned to celebrate the creation of the London and North Western Railway in 1846, this was to be Euston’s new booking hall. The room immediately impresses by its great scale. Added to this are the double-flight stairs, graceful gallery and elaborate mouldings. Above, the magnificent coffered ceiling, actually built of iron, stretches across the hall’s great width. This is not what we imagine a booking hall to look like: the porters, laden with heavy trunks, seem most out of place here.

Hardwick’s superb design was executed, apart from the murals above the balconies. Its demolition, with the rest of Euston (1962), was regarded as one of the greatest acts of Post-War architectural vandalism in Britain, the campaign to save it leading to the foundation of the Victorian Society. 


About the online exhibition

'How We Built Britain' is a major collaboration with the BBC


Images in the exhibition are from RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the RIBA British Architectural Library's collections.

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