Underground railway station. Built 1906 by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL) under Charles Tyson Yerkes, serving the Great Northern Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR), later the Piccadilly Line. Designed by Leslie Green.
Reasons for Designation
Caledonian Road Underground Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a good example of a station surface building designed by Leslie Green
serving the GNP&BR, later the Piccadilly Line, retaining tiled signage and an original shop front
* Interior: while the ticket hall is much altered, there is a extensive survival of tiling at lower levels, including an unaltered stair flight with pomegranate frieze tiling, original examples of which are now rare, and extensive areas of original tiling at lower passageway and platform levels, including several of the distinctive aedicular platform signs
* Historic interest: the Yerkes group of stations designed by Leslie Green illustrate a remarkable phase in the development of the capital's transport system, with the pioneering use of a strong and consistent corporate image; the characteristic ox-blood faience façades are instantly recognisable and count among the most iconic of London building types
Caledonian Road Station was originally part of the Great Northern Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR), one of three tube lines opened 1906-7 by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL). The City & South London Railway - the world's first deep tube line - had opened in 1890 from the City to Stockwell, and although a flurry of proposals for further routes ensued, further progress was hampered by lack of capital until the Central London Railway (later the Central Line) opened in 1900. From 1901-02 the American transport entrepreneur, Charles Tyson Yerkes, acquired four dormant companies: the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway; the Brompton & Piccadilly Circus Railway and the Great Northern & Strand Railway, which he merged as the GNP&BR, and the BS&WR, the three were incorporated into the UERL in 1902. Yerkes died in 1905 before the tube lines were completed. The GNP&BR, or 'Piccadilly Railway' or 'Tube', opened on 15 December 1906, running from the Great Northern & City Line terminus at Finsbury Park to the District Railway station at Hammersmith, with 16 intermediate stations, increased to 19 in 1907, when a spur to Strand (Aldwych) was also added. In 1910 the three combined UERL tubes were formally merged as the London Electric Railway (LER) and the GNP&BR became the Piccadilly Line.
Leslie Green (1875-1908) was appointed Architect to the UERL in 1903 and designed 40 stations for the company in a distinctive Edwardian Baroque house style. Most were two storeys high, with lift machinery incorporated in the upper floor, and flat roofs to enable commercial development above. A small number of stations, such as Regents Park, had no surface building. Surface buildings were of steel-frame construction clad in brick and faced in ox-blood red faience produced by the Leeds Fireclay Co Ltd. The elevations varied in their detailed treatment, but typically comprised a series of large arcaded bays, frequently incorporating shop units, with Diocletian windows to the upper storey, surmounted by a modillion cornice. Interiors followed s standardised plan adapted for the particular site, comprising a ticket hall with lifts and a spiral stair down to corridors, and further stairs down to the platforms, which were usually parallel. The upper storey housed lift machinery. Ticket halls featured deep-green tiling with a stylised acanthus leaf or pomegranate frieze, and ticket windows in aedicular surrounds. Stairs, corridors and platforms were faced in glazed tiles with directional signage, produced by various tile manufacturers, each station with its unique colour scheme. Green suffered ill health and his contract with UERL terminated at the end of 1907. He died the following year at the age of 33.
MATERIALS: Steel frame clad in brick, faced in ox-blood red faience produced by the Leeds Fireclay Co Ltd.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys high. 5 arcaded bays with the entrance in the central bay and the former exit (now blocked) in the northernmost bay. Above the latter is the original EXIT sign in raised gilded letters; the sign above the entrance denoting the station name is a modern replica. The remaining bays are and always were occupied by shops; that to left (S) of entrance has a complete original shop front with decorative moulded corners to the transom lights and panelled doors; the other shop front is modern. Upper storey has altered timber Diocletian windows in keyed semi-circular arches with egg-and-dart decoration and cartouches between the springers of the arcade, and a modillion cornice.
INTERIOR: This was one of two Green stations (the other being Earl's Court) where the lifts descended directly to platform level without an intermediate stair. The ticket hall was modernised in 1987 and has no original features apart from some sections of cornice. The straight stair down to the spiral stair retains original green wall tiling with a pomegranate frieze, and a timber handrail. The spiral stair also has original tiling in three contrasting tones of mauve, a bronze handrail and timber fire hydrant cabinet at the top. The platforms retains extensive tiling in the same mauve colour scheme, tiled signage, including the station name in dark-brown lettering on white panels and several original aedicular WAY OUT AND NO EXIT panels (others have been replicated), and sections of directional signage on trackside walls. There are also two metal roundels bearing the station name of c1910, very rare to survive in situ.