Underground railway station. Built 1907 by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL) under Charles Tyson Yerkes, serving the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR), later part of the Northern Line. Designed by Leslie Green.
Reasons for Designation
Belsize Park Underground Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a good example of a station designed by Leslie Green to serve the CC&HR, later the Northern Line, complete with boundary walls and railings, a unique feature at an Underground station
* Interior: while altered, features of interest survive including tiling at lower levels
* 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
The CCE&HR was one of three tube lines opened 1906-7 by the UERL. The world's first deep-level tube line, the City & South London Railway (C&SLR), had opened in 1890 from the City to Stockwell, and although a flurry of proposals for further routes ensued, progress was hampered by lack of capital until the Central London Railway Line (later the Central Line) opened in 1900. In 1901-2 the American transport entrepreneur, Charles Tyson Yerkes, acquired four dormant companies: the CCE&HR; the Brompton & Piccadilly Circus Railway and the Great Northern & Strand Railway (GN&SR), which were merged as the GNP&BR, and the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway; the three were incorporated into the UERL in 1902. Yerkes died in 1905 before the tube lines were completed.
The CCE&HR, or 'Hampstead Railway' or 'Tube', opened on 22 June 1907, running from Charing Cross to Camden Town where it diverged, terminating at Highgate (now Archway) in the north, and Golders Green in the north west, with 13 intermediate stations. In 1910 the three UERL tubes were formally merged as the London Electric Railway (LER). In 1924-6, the former CCE&HR and C&SLR lines were joined, becoming the Northern Line in 1937.
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 clad in ox-blood faience. They followed a standardised design and plan adapted to the site. Interiors comprised a ground-floor ticket hall with lifts, a spiral stair down to lower corridors, and further stairs down to the platforms which were usually parallel. The upper storey housed lift machinery and office space. Ticket halls featured deep-green tiling with a stylised acanthus leaf or pomegranate frieze, and ticket windows in aedicular surrounds; few of these features now survive. 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.
DESCRIPTION: 2 storeys high. Symmetrical elevation of 5 main pilastered bays arranged 1-3-1 with alternating half-bays, the 3 central bays forming a triple arcade. The entrance and exits are in their original positions in the penultimate bay to the north, and the southermost bay, respectively. The northernmost bay is an open passageway; the central and adjacent bays have timber windows: that to the left is original with moulded decoration to the transom corners; the other modern. Entrance and exit portals have vitreous enamel panelled surrounds dating from the 1980s (not of special interest). The northern half-bay has an original doorway (intended to serve a future building over the station) with a timber pedimented doorcase and fanlight; that to the south has a small window with similar mouldings to that of the central bay. The upper storey has timber Diocletian windows in keyed semi-circular arches with egg-and-dart decoration, cartouches between the springers of the central arcade, and a modillion cornice, and a deeply-hooded oeil-de-boeuf window to each half-bay. Frieze lettering has been removed.
INTERIOR: ticket hall has been entirely modernised with replicated tiling to 1906 pattern. The straight flight of stairs down to the spiral staircase retains original cream and green tiling with a pomegranate frieze, and wooden handrail. Original tiling in dark red and cream also survives in the spiral staircase. Lift portals have curved moulded architraves. Tiling to lower passageways and platforms was renewed in 2008 to match the original, apart from soffit banding. Southbound platform has brass clock with an ornate bracket.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: uniquely among Green's stations, Belsize Park has a forecourt, enclosed by a set of square gatepiers in Portland stone and cast-iron railings and gates on a low stone wall. Exit gatepiers have 1920s bronzed poster frames with swan-neck lamp brackets.