Waterloo Station under threat
Waterloo Station is London's largest station rail terminus and the finest example of an early 20th-century station in Britain. It was constructed from 1907-1922 with the electric train in mind (hence the absence of a large span shed to disperse smoke and steam) and platforms 1-6 were already electrified by 1916. The long station front was designed in phases by James Robb Scott, Chief Architectural Assistant to the LSWR. The elegant, sweeping concourse, devoid of columns, is its defining feature and ranks it among the greatest international railway termini of the early 20th-century. It was the only progressive terminus built in Britain between 1880-1960.
Waterloo International was built in 1990-94 as the terminus of the Channel Tunnel rail service. The architects were Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners and the design won a series of accolades including the RIBA Building of the Year Award (forebear of the Stirling Prize) in 1994, and in 1995 the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion Award for European Architecture, the Royal Fine Arts Commission/Sunday Times Building of the Year Award, and the Excellence in Design Award of the London chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Now this great terminus with its acclaimed 1990s addition is under severe threat from redevelopment plans. Network Rail is considering a radical remodelling of the station which would involve the lowering the concourse to street level and conversion of the Grimshaw shed to commercial and retail space. The plans are still under wraps but there are fears that large parts of the station could face demolition. The only protection against these damaging proposals is for the station to be listed. Currently, and astonishingly, only the Victory Arch is protected (listed Grade II), but the Department of Culture Media and Sport is currently preparing a submission to the Secretary of State which will, in effect, decide the fate of the building. English Heritage have advised that the entire station is listed Grade II.
We urge all of you to write in support of the listing of Waterloo Station. Please send your representations as soon as possible to:
Heritage Protection Branch
Department for Culture, Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1V 5DH