Whenever we would travel to Liverpool Street station – either to collect mormor or to travel to Denmark ourselves, I would always – even as a very young kid – be in awe of the structure of the place.
When we got out of the taxi – which would pull up inside the building, right by the train tracks – it would feel like we were in a huge metal ‘cavern’, full of noise, smells and overwhelming vibrancy.
I was always impressed by the massive cantilevered roof, all the railings, the stairs and steps that often seemed to go nowhere, and the fact that the Great Eastern Hotel – with its huge tall banks of windows – was partially situated inside the railway station. (That felt so very glamourous to me as a kid, the fact that you could walk straight out of your hotel and onto a train going somewhere.)
Of course I know now that this love for the building was merely part of my early appreciation of ‘architecture’, an appreciation I certainly (now) wish I could have translated into some kind of career.
As it was ‘music’ became my working mistress, as later diaries will attest to. However, much to my wife’s chagrin, I remain FAR more obsessive about buildings and architecture – man made structures basically – than I have ever been, or will ever be, about nature. Nature is just ‘nature’ to me, (that’s a “yellow” flower right?) whereas the whole “man’s endeavour” thing – how did they build that? – gets to me far more than I let on.
Out of curiosity, I image-googled “liverpool street”, “photos” “197*” and found this glorious photoset on flikr. I hope the photographer won’t mind me snagging & using a trio by way of an example of just how impressive a building Liverpool Street Station was?
Look at all the iron and brick work that was used to build the place, those soaring gothic columns and the acres of glass they used to protect train travellers from the elements.
One thing I can distinctly remember (“oh well done, remember this, but not who your friends were?!”) were banks of turning handles on selected columns. These handles were connected to long snaking sets of rods, ropes, gears and pulleys that extended all the way up the column and across the roof. Turning the handle would open glass panels to let in fresh air (or let steam train smoke out).
Just consider for a moment the sheer ingenuity of engineering, then constructing, that comparatively tiny – but necessary – addition to this massive structure of a building.
I will return you to regular (inane) programming with the next post.