Redbridge Underground Station


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Redbrisge Underground Station, Eastern Avenue (A12), Wanstead, Redbridge, Greater London
Statutory Address:
Redbridge Underground Station, EASTERN AVENUE (A12), WANSTEAD, REDBRIDGE


Ordnance survey map of Redbridge Underground Station
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Statutory Address:
Redbridge Underground Station, EASTERN AVENUE (A12), WANSTEAD, REDBRIDGE

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Redbrisge Underground Station, Eastern Avenue (A12), Wanstead, Redbridge, Greater London
Greater London Authority
Redbridge (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Underground railway station, Designed by Charles Holden between 1935 and 1938 but not opened until 1947. Minor later alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Redbridge Underground Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: as a largely unaltered exemplar of the last group of stations that Charles Holden designed for London Underground and for its role during World War II as the site of an armaments factory in the unfinished tunnels * Architectural interest: for its design, which although modified on its post-war completion, retains recognisable elements of Holden's celebrated Piccadilly Line stations, and for the unusual design of the concrete booking hall roof * Survival of original fabric: good survival of decorative finishes and fittings


Under the 1935-1940 New Works Programme, plans were made for the extensive expansion of the Central Line both to east and west. This was to be accomplished by combining new track and the incorporation of existing overground lines. The work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, so that none of the new works opened until after the war, although unfinished underground stations were used as air raid shelters and the tunnels between Leytonstone and Gants Hill were converted into an aircraft component factory by Plessey's from 1942. In the east the Central Line was extended into Essex as far as Ongar by 1949 (where the section between Epping and Ongar was run using steam trains by British Railways until electrification in 1957; this line was subsequently closed in 1994) and included the Fairlop Loop between Wanstead and Roding Valley completed in 1948. In the west the line reached its furthest extent at West Ruislip in November 1948. The line has 49 stations and is the second busiest line of the system after the Victoria Line.

Redbridge was originally to have been named West Ilford and then Red House and is one of Charles Holden's last designs for London Underground (along with Gants Hill, Wanstead and Ruislip Manor). Construction was halted by the outbreak of World War II, during which the tunnels were originally used as an air raid shelter before becoming part of the Plessey plant from 1942. The original design, which featured a glazed tower projecting further forward than the brick tower actually built, was amended due to post-war austerity (an intended curved shopping parade enclosing the bus station, as at Southgate, was also never realised) and the station opened on 14 December 1947 although work to the main surface building was not finally completed until the following year. There have been some subsequent alterations to the station including the infilling of the western of the three original entrances to the ticket hall and some re-tiling. The original passimeter and ticket collection booth were replaced, probably at some time in the 1980s during modernisation for the Underground Ticketing System (UTS).

Charles Henry Holden (1875-1960), working in association with the visionary head of London Underground, Frank Pick (1878-1941), was responsible for the bold modernist designs that were adopted as the house style for the stations built during the expansion of the underground during the 1930s, notably on the Piccadilly Line. Pick worked for London Underground from 1906-1940, throughout his career striving to promote high-quality, well-detailed design that he believed was essential for serving the public. Holden was a notable Arts and Crafts architect in the Edwardian period who, uniquely, made the move to modernism following a 1930 study tour (with Pick) of continental railway stations and modern architecture. Together they firmly promoted functionalist modernism for the new station designs, taking advantage of newly available materials, and adopting the continental and American idea of a primary concourse as circulation space, with the ticket hall as the dominant element of the new buildings.


MATERIALS: Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire brick; flat concrete slab roofs; metal-framed Crittall glazing.

PLAN: sited on a traffic island, on the north side of the A12 trunk road, in order to provide an integrated bus link, the station is D-shaped in plan with a low circular single-storey booking hall and tall ventilation tower. The integrated bus stand occupies the north of the site and is not of special interest. EXTERIOR: Booking hall built of mixed red and brown Buckinghamshire brickwork on a low plinth of concrete blocks. The concrete roof has slightly overhanging eaves and a low circular clerestory with metal windows. A square brick tower with London Underground roundels on the east and west sides projects slightly from the flat southern elevation and is similar to those at Bounds Green and Turnpike Lane on the Piccadilly Line. The tower has a ventilation function, being sited over the steps to platform level and diverting the draft of incoming trains, but is mainly designed to advertise the stations presence in the landscape. South of the tower is a raised platform containing a glass-brick skylight which lights the stairway to the platforms. This is surrounded by a distinctive metal balustrade incorporating London Underground roundels and the letters L and T. The elevated circular drum of the ticket hall was originally pierced by three external entrances to north, east and west with the stairway to the platforms exiting to the south, below the tower. The western entrance was later blocked in order to provide increased office space. The exterior elevations retain their two timber shop fronts, metal windows and tile-bordered poster panels, as well as the original bronze illuminated sign panels (with roundels at the ends) above the two remaining entrances; the name panels themselves are later replacements.

INTERIOR: booking hall lined with grey-brown Staffordshire brickwork below a buff brick ring beam and glazed clerestory. The concrete lantern, supported on short round columns, consists of 12 ribs radiating from a circular central hub with the recessed segments thus created each filled with sixteen circular pavement lights. Each rib carries a florescent light tube with the original fittings. The interior has been modernised for the Underground Ticketing System (UTS) but a large amount of original signage remains including illuminated sign boxes to the entrances. The bronze Johnston lettering, above the office and w/c doors and public telephone niches in the entrances, has been lost although their outline remains. Most doors are original. The cream floor tiles are thought to be original and there is a set of bronze covers to the Bostwick gates to the platform stairs. The stairs have been re-tiled; they originally contained some decorative tiles by Harold Stabler.

PLATFORM: the platform was created by the cut and cover method, hence its vertical walls and it has the distinction of being the shallowest 'sub-surface' platform on the system; only 4.87m below ground. The unadorned concrete roof is supported by a concrete central spine supported on tiled square pillars with niches for the (original) wooden platform benches. Above these are, mostly original, bronze-framed Johnston roundels. The cream Poole Pottery tiling to the upper frieze of this central spine, with its blue border and roundel motif, is original although the tiling to the pillars has been replaced. The walls on the far side of the tracks mostly retain the original cream tiles with a blue upper dado and black tile surrounds to the poster panels; the roundels are not original however. The original stone platform surface survives as do two blue roundel platform clocks and bronze equipment cases. The Auto Phone box on the platform has the remains of the Johnston lettering.

OTHER FEATURES: Two illuminated London Underground roundels with bronze fittings, mounted on concrete posts, sited just to the south of the station; the exterior concrete lamp standards with their T-shaped fittings no longer survive.


Books and journals
Horne, M A C , The Central Line, (1987)
Karol, E, Charles Holden, (2007)
Lawrence, D, Underground Architecture, (1994)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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