London icons at St John's Wood Tube

Harold Stabler designed these tiles which were made by Carter’s of Poole. These were for the new tube stations built by the London Passenger Transport Board from 1933 onwards and which included St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage towards Stanmore, and from Bethnal Green towards Wanstead, Redbridge, Gants Hill, The Leytons, Woodford, Loughton and Epping/Hainault, plus westwards to Ealing Broadway/West Ruislip.

Some of the tiles are quite self-explanatory. Most of the tiles have ‘S’ which stands for Stabler. The one depicting St Pauls doesnt, possibly because there was already a ‘S’ used.

This is a design of roundel created for the LPTB in the 1930s of which barely any examples remain save for the one at Leicester Square I recently discussed in my post The Odd Tube Roundel.

Thomas Lord of course for Lord’s nearby. Ironically St John’s Wood was a replacement for the other tube station on the Metropolitan Line which was much nearer to the cricket ground and known as Lord’s station. This closed on 19th November 1939. The following day St John’s Wood station (then on the Bakerloo Line) opened.

Houses of Parliament obviously 🙂

The iconic art deco building at 55 Broadway which was until recently the HQ for the London Transport authorities.

St Paul’s cathedral. It seems perhaps one ‘S’ was obviously sufficient so Stabler did not have a signature on this tile. Alternatively this particular design was added to the range in 1939 so perhaps up to that point the designs had not included Stabler’s signature.

The Crystal Palace. Despite the famous building having burnt down a few years earlier, it was still considered a major London symbol and so merited inclusion in the Stabler designs for St John’s Wood.

This one seems a mystery but its actually represents the Thames as does the next two below.

This is the London County Council (LCC) who were based in County Hall at Waterloo looking over the Thames.

Again the Thames is represented with this swan. Traditionally they belong to The Queen hence the crown symbol.

Harold Stabler also designed these colourful roundel tiles which can be seen at St John’s Wood, Gants Hill and other tube stations on the Central Line’s eastern and western extensions.

The rear of the tiles have a stamp denoting the makers – ‘Carter England’. Clearly its a reference to Carter and Company of Poole who were mentioned earlier. Their tiles were given date stamps hence those in the 1930’s would have been for the Bakerloo Line’s extension to Stanmore, whilst those with 1940’s dates (the example above shows ‘1947’ which clearly denotes the final batch of tiles) would have been made for the Central Line’s post war extensions both east and westwards.
Carter’s were responsible for makng most of the tiles that can be seen on the London Underground network.
Swiss Cottage tube station, built at the same time, has many of the features seen at St John’s Wood.

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