Perivale Underground Station, London

Standing on Horsenden Lane in Greenford, Middlesex (just off the A40 Western Avenue), Perivale is an underground station on the western part of the Central Line. Until the early 1930s public transport in London was operated by a many separate private companies, together operating a fragmented service to passengers.

In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Act brought together public transport in London under the control of the London Passenger Transport Board. Tube lines, buses, coaches and trams were combined, although overground lines operated by the mainline railway companies were not included. Along with a massive merger and restructure of the combined assets of the disparate range of companies, London Transport embarked on a works programme to expand and improve the network. Essentially the private companies had barely managed to make a decent enough profit to reward shareholders and reinvest in the network, so much work was required.

Using deep tunnels to push out into the suburbs and then above-ground lines, the Underground network was to expand greatly in the proposed 'New Works Programme'. The 'New Works Programme' saw the development of new line extensions, additional tunnelling and track work, new and redeveloped stations and new rolling stock. The programme, introduced in 1935, planned for five year's development. However, the outbreak of the Second World War saw plans put on hold.

In post-war Britain London Transport was much less able to embark on an ambitious programme of works. Not only did the network suffer bomb-damage, but rolling stock, tracks and stations had been pressed into prolonged war service. Reinstating pre-war levels of service took priority over new developments. Perivale Underground Station was one such example where the outbreak of hostilities had thwarted developments. Construction began in 1938 to designs by Australian architect Brian Lewis (1906-1991) but it was not completed until 1947, and then only in reduced form.  A wing containing shops and a tower were dropped leaving a scaled down scheme.

Perivale Station is built around a reinforced concrete frame, evidenced by the radiating concrete beams of the ticket hall ceiling. The front elevation is clad in red brick and has a concave, curved facade. At street level there are two wide entrances either side of a central curved wall with four poster display panels. Each side of the building has a shop unit, either side of the entrances. The western shop is the larger of the two extending out with a convex frontage.  Above is a deep, projecting canopy in a serpentine 'S' shape. The metal canopy features illuminated blue-glass panels. The original panels carried separately 'Central Line' lettering, the London Underground roundel and the name 'Perivale Station'.  The panels were repeated in sequence across the entire canopy, forming a 'ribbon' of blue glass.

Above, is a large clerestory window, providing illumination to the ticket hall behind.  The double height window is formed of slender, tall windows between regularly-spaced concrete mullions, with a short return down each side of the building. The window has a thick concrete lintel on top, and on either side, a London Underground roundel mounted at the base of a tall pole. Above, the frontage is topped with a deep, brick parapet. The bricks have a solider course, unlike the stretcher bond of the the rest of the frontage.

The platforms and tracks are set above the ticket hall concourse and are accessed by a curved staircase. The tracks are carried on a viaduct behind the station. The central section of both the platforms is covered with a cantilevered canopy, providing shelter to waiting passengers. The surviving buildings of the former Hoover Factory complex at Perivale can be seen from the platforms.

The station building was awarded Grade II-listed status on 20 July 2011.

Posted by Richard Coltman on Saturday, April 6, 2013

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