Picturing London

Architects' visions: Tooting Broadway station

Sketch design for an entrance to Tooting Broadway station

Sketch design for an entrance to Tooting Broadway station, c.1925
Designer: Adams Holden & Pearson
Artist: Charles Henry Holden
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

As chief architect for London Underground, Charles Holden created a series of stations on the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. Holden was keen to counter the popular impression of the Underground as a dark and tight portal to the underworld and instead popularise the system as clean, efficient transportation. As trains ran day and night, Holden carefully considered the effect of his buildings in the dark.

Holden produced this rapid sketch of Tooting Broadway station seen at night. The building's mass is clearly expressed while a warm glow from the station entrance washes across the pavement. Similar to the restaurant illustration of Gerrard Street by Oliver Hill, the streets outside appear cold and wet relative to the sanctuary of the interior.

Unlike the restaurant, however, the modern Underground station is open to all social classes. Holden hoped that as the Tube expanded into the sprawling suburbs, his innovative designs and modern materials could improve blighted areas by introducing quality architecture to the masses.

Find out more about Holden's work in Underground Journeys.  

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