Euston Station 1875 - LNWR historical era 1 / 2 layout

Background

Our 4mm OO scale layout of LNWRs Euston Station in the 1870's is based on a donated core of traditionally constructed buildings. As such it provided the basis for super detailing and expansion beyond a static frontage, replicating a famous litho representation of Euston, into a full length cutaway of the station during its major growth years. This is prior to overall coverage by canopy and loss of vista by hotel expansion, but after the famous addition of the Great Hall and Shareholders Rooms.

A specific event is portrayed, the June 1875 visit by the Sultan of Zanzibar to ratify an anti-slavery treaty with Benjamin Disraeli.

The old station was a rabbit warren, a victim of reactive growth, indeed there were plans by the LMS to build an Art Deco ‘Grand Central’ style station (envisage Richmond Upon Thames Southern station on steroids) but this was interrupted by WW2. The concrete box replacement of 1963 swept it all away as far south as the Euston Square Gardens. The main vista of the station is south to north, from the ‘New Road’ later Euston Road, up Euston Grove, through Drummond Street and was based on a lithograph of the 1870s from the Illustrated London News. Everything was slightly offset rather than a clean vista to the Arch, since Euston Grove's villa buildings were built just prior to the station of 1838.

The station was planned to be a combination of London & Birmingham company plus GWR company to the west of site, before Paddington and broad gauge was selected by the latter. In fact, this station very nearly didn’t happen. The owners of the land were suspicious on new-fangled steam and demanded quiet (rather like Eton School land ownership and the reason for the Primrose Hill tunnels) so an initial terminus station was built at Chalk Farm at the top of Camden incline (today a ‘Terminus’ sidings name gives a clue). However, land was secured and the station was built, but for some years without a steam engine service. A combination of noise abatement and weak motive power meant that 2 stationary beam engines were built at the top of Camden Bank to haul departures up out of the station until 1842, shunting being performed in the terminus by horsepower. Arrivals were freewheeling carriages assisted by brakesmen. The opportunity was taken at the top of Camden bank to check tickets in the non-corridor 4 / 6 wheel stock, and also for a quick lineside personal relief making it a very noisome place.

Our layout is accompanied at exhibitions by a detailed historical information display for the public.

Image: The original Somers Town Euston Grove 1876 print from Illustrated London News as hosted by british-history.ac.uk

Image: MDMRCs replication of this view down the length of Euston Grove, which incidentally was the original name for the L&B station.

 The oldest dated section of the locality for modelling purposes was Euston Square Gardens, shown on early 1800 maps as allotments but was made into a garden square for development and bisected east / west by the New Road. This was later named Euston Road and had cut and cover underground lines laid in the 1880s.The 2 lodges in Euston Grove (one now a very nice pub) and an underground tunnel joining the 2 sides were part of the 1870’s development and expansion of the station. Later a war memorial to the Great War would be built in the centre of the road. We had to develop this ourselves from 3d printing and donated scenic materials to supplement the donated lodges and give them the correct context. Previously it was just represented by a green painted flat surface. The OS series 1 map and 1:10,000 town plan gives the general contemporary layout in good detail, so we have followed that.

Image: Euston Square Gardens and Euston Villas, we have included the tunnel between the 2 garden areas. It is still there today, but now rubble from WW2 blocks both entrances.

 

Image: Rush Hour in Euston Square, once a fashionable place, then becoming cheap hotels, finally run down multi family accommodation and bomb site, todays modern Euston Station fronts this road.

 

Image: Northern service yard for Joseph Bazalgette's sewer replacement program. The pipe ironwork for this was transported by redundant farm carts converted for the purpose for the final trip to site.

Image: The Hansom Cab taxi rank on Euston Grove between the Euston and Victoria hotels (Britain’s first true lodging hotels) bult 1938. These were joined together by a gothic centre and an underpass in the 1880s

 

 

Euston Station Forecourt and Main Buildings

Image: Drummond Street with the Euston Arch and Lodges, a view alas now long gone. Omnibus Route #1 passing the station portico.

 

To the rear of Euston Arch by 1875 the station office requirement had grown after the merger of the London and Birmingham, Grand Junction and Liverpool and Manchester Railways in 1846 to form the London and North Western Railway. Gone were the original 2 'Stages' or Platforms for arrival and departure and a single north / south building and granite cobbles to the east of the Arch. We now have we have 3 sides of offices, a covered reception area for horse drawn vehicles and complex access to the Great Hall, ticket offices and platforms.

Image: This shows a temporary courtyard cover for a member’s exhibition of the layout, we now have more accurate transitional stage courtyard images from 1870's to work from.

 

Image: The original 1838 platforms (now extended station LNWR platforms 5/6) shown with a temporary cover in place, the world’s first iron stressed canopy existed here (and in Birmingham Curzon Street the other end) and both were lost in the 1960s. Making the overall platform canopy will be the next big challenge !

 

Image: The Great Hall cut away model nearing completion, we are not modelling the west of the station which gives the opportunity of showing interior detail for the Great Hall. Ticket offices were accessed either side from southernmost doors beside the camera position.

Image: Great Hall southern end, the clock can be seen in the NRM York today. The marble floor had under heating in the same manner as Kew gardens hot houses.

Image: The northern end of the Great Hall, everything in multiples of 5 for the long section including in the Shareholders Room which the stairs lead up to. Good architectural plans still exist in the public domain.

 

The Working Station

The operational end of Euston is currently being built representing a cross section of Platforms 3 through 8, the main boards are now an entity suitable for static exhibition. In theory the 15 lines will run to a fiddle yard just prior to Camden Bank the other side of the iron bridge.

Image: Using the Triang Rocket as a real scale guide to build a manual triple turntable for horse shunting coaches, these turntables remained for some years after stock outgrew the facility, one is in the NRM collection. The plan is of the early 1880's divided into our 5 baseboard sections.

 

 

Our target date of June 1875 was chosen after researching and discovering about the travel to London of the Sultan of Zanzibar to ratify an anti-slavery treaty. We have the red carpet run out on platform 6 and troops from the Coldstream Guards forming up ready to form the guard of honour along with the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Middlesex, at this time Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington. Royalty vetoed the visit (much to the joy of the papers of the day) so it was a purely governmental matter and the royal train carriages could not be used.

Image: It is 12:15 in the afternoon, the band gathers, a platoon marches along the platform for final forming up and stock is ready to be cleared for the Sultans arrival.

 

Currently being worked on are the corner of the eastern Admin Block and Booking Hall plus the Shareholders Rooms external trimmings.

Image: This grand face can only be seen properly in demolition pictures of Euston, otherwise blocked by canopies and temporary buildings of later ages.

 

Recently completed is the eastern administration wing, the boiler house and the lightwell for one of the ticket offices. This faces onto platform 6 and is the northernmost reach of main buildings.

Image: Following the build ethos of the original donation, wood scraps, cat food boxes and cereal box card used for the base with 3d printed details, say hello to half a fish feeding globe on top. Matches the online Aerofilms shots from the 1920s nicely.

 

 

 

 

Exhibition Information for Show Managers
Scale: 'OO'. 4mm
Location LNWR Euston Grove London
Era: Mid Victorian
Dimensions: Baseboard size 6ft x 18ft
Island site ideal
Total Space required 10ft x 24ft
Valuation for Insurance Purposes:  £ NB: Please check before booking
Power: 1 x 13 Amp Mains socket
Transport: Number of Cars 1 + trailer
Number of Operators Static display phase
Other Requirements: Plenty of tea
Information last updated 07 November 2020