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Victoria Station – A History in 33 Photos

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Victoria Station, usually known to Londoners as just ‘Victoria’ is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex in north Pimlico named after nearby Victoria Street. Over 81 million passenger started or finished a journey at Victoria between April 2013 and March 2014 which makes it the second-busiest terminus in London (and the UK) after London Waterloo.

Victoria Station

circa 1880: A group of horses and hansom cabs waiting for fares outside the London, Chatham and Dover Railway side of Victoria Station in London. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Ernest, the title character was, of course, found in a handbag:

Jack: In the cloakroom at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own.

Lady Bracknell: The cloakroom at Victoria Station?

Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.

Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial…

At the time, approaching the end of the century (the play was first performed on Valentine’s day in 1895 at St James’s Theatre) Victoria Station was made up of two separate, but adjacent terminal stations. To the east was the ramshackle and run-down Chatham and Dover railway. Jack, however, was trying to get across to Lady Bracknell was that he was found on the far more upmarket London, Brighton and South Coast Railway which went to Worthing – the fashionable and expensive town after which Jack was named.

Victoria Station

German-American actress Marlene Dietrich (1901 – 1992) leaving Victoria Station in a car after arriving in London, 30th July 1936. (Photo by Davies/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In the Observer, June 11, 1860

Opening of the Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway

This line, which forms a connection between all the railways south of the Thames and the Victoria Station, now in the course of erection at Pimlico, was opened on Saturday. The train started from the Battersea Station of the Brighton Railway , and passed over the Victoria Bridge amidst the cheers of the assembled workmen, proceeding up tot he Victoria Staion, which occupies the site of the old Grosvenor basin.

Victoria Station WH Smith

The W.H. Smith bookstall at Victoria Railway Station, London, January 1924. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station

2nd October 1960: An autumn mist falls on Victoria Bus Station in London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station

Platform View at Victoria Underground Station on the District Line, London, November 23rd, 1896.

 

Victoria Station

Victoria Bus Station, London, 1939

 

Victoria Station

Lady with her dog at London Victoria station, 1950.

 

Victoria Station WH Smith

Victoria Station in 1927

 

Victoria Station

Following the decision of the executive council of the transport and general workers’ union to end the strike of London passenger transport board busmen, the 25,000 drivers and conductors who have been idle for almost a month, Kent back to work again. It is expected that the new agreement to be negotiated between the union and the board will embody all the men’s demands except the ½ hour day, which, the board claims, is too costly. Buses in the terminal park outside Victoria station on May 28. The yard has been deserted during the month’s strike. (AP Photo)

 

Victoria Station

A large crowd of people, including a nun, waiting to have their suit-cases examined before depositing them at the cloak room at Victoria, London on July 27, 1939, a precautionary measure instituted following the bomb explosion at the clock room last night. (AP Photo)

 

Victoria Station

Belgian pilots enjoy a beer, a cigarette and a chat as they relax at “Aux Neufs Provinces”, a club attached to the restaurant “Chez Gaston”, near Victoria Station

Victoria Station

Chez Gaston – a Belgian Restaurant near Victoria Station, 1944

Victoria Station 1941

Victoria Station in 1941

Victoria Station postcard 1904-01

Victoria Station postcard c.1904 and based on the first photo in this post

 

Victoria Station

Emperor Haile Selassie, once ruler of rolling Abyssinia, returned, a tragic, defeated figure with downcast eyes. He returned from Geneva where he had made a last bid to secure the League Council’s repudiation of Mussolini’s claims to sovereignty over Abyssinia. The Negus Haile Selassie, walking from the platform at Victoria Station in London, on May 14, 1938, on his return from Geneva. (AP Photo)

Bryant and May matches Happy New Year

Victoria Station postcard sent in 1902

Victoria Station

1956, London, England, UK — Newly landed immigrants at Victoria Station. London.

Victoria Coach Station

National Express

Victoria Coach Station 1974

Victoria Coach Station was opened where its presently situated on Buckingham Palace Road in 1932, by London Coastal Coaches, an association of coach operators. The architects of the Art-Deco style building were Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. The building wasn’t listed until September 2014

3rd August 1929: Passengers aboard open top buses at Victoria Motor Coach Station. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

3rd August 1929: Passengers aboard open top buses at Victoria Motor Coach Station. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Here’s a sound recording of Victoria Coach station in 1935, three years after it opened.

Victoria Station

Victoria Coach Station early 50s

Victoria Station London

Victoria bus station in 1927

Victoria Station London

London Victoria Bus Station 1956

Victoria Station c.1969

Victoria Station c.1969

Victoria Station London

Victoria bus station in London in 1927

 

Victoria Station London

The exterior of Victoria Station in London, January 1924. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station London

29th July 1955: Members of the Belgian Senate Delegation surveying operations at the bus terminal at Victoria Station during a two-day visit to London to discuss plans for Railway modernisation with representatives of the British Transport Commission. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station London

29th July 1950: Holiday makers queuing outside Victoria Station, London. (Photo by Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station London

29th June 1934: Staff of the Southern Railway at Victoria station, London changing the name board on the front of a train, the ‘Southern Belle’ is now called the ‘Brighton Belle’. (Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station

1926: Exterior of Victoria Station, London with taxis and open-topped buses queuing outside. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station

The exterior of Victoria Station in London, January 1924. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station

circa 1915: Troops leaving railway carriages at Victoria Station, London. (Photo by F J Mortimer/Getty Images)

 

Victoria Station London

December 1914: Two soldiers on the concourse at Victoria station, London, about to leave for the front line. They are carrying parcels full of food and other provisions. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Victoria Station London

25th July 1909: Crowds cheer French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot (left, waving) at Victoria station, London, after his historic Channel flight. Seated next to Bleriot is the 1st Viscount Northcliffe, the Daily Mail publisher, who organised the Channel Challenge. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)