Oxford Circus Underground Station at the north-east corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street, including offices above
List Entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: Oxford Circus Underground Station at the north-east corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street, including offices above
List entry Number: 1400976
Oxford Circus Underground Station at the north-east corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street. including offices above, Oxford Street, Westminster, London
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: City of Westminster
District Type: London Borough
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 20-Jul-2011
Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.
This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.
List entry Description
Summary of Building
Underground railway station. Built 1900 by the Central London Railway (CLR) to the design of Harry Bell Measures. Upper-storey offices added by Delissa Joseph before 1908.
Reasons for Designation
The former Central London Railway building at Oxford Circus is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the two phases of work combine to form a vigorous and well-detailed composition * Historic interest: lower storey forms the best surviving example of an original Central London Railway station, marking an important stage in the development of London's transport * Group value: with Leslie Green's 1906 station building on the other side of Argyll Street (q.v.); the pair constitutes an important survival of two tube stations built by separate companies serving the same station
The opening in 1890 of London's - and the world's - first deep-level tube line, the City and South London Railway (now the Northern Line's Bank branch) inspired a number of similar schemes, including a line running east-west across the capital from Bank to Shepherds Bush, to be known as the Central London Railway (CLR). The railway, now part of the Central Line, received its Act of Parliament in 1891, and eventually opened in July 1900; its policy of charging cheap flat-rate fares, for which it became known as the 'twopenny tube', made the line extremely popular from the start, and encouraged the building of yet more deep-level lines.
Oxford Circus station stood approximately mid-way along the initial route. Like 11 other original CLR stations - of which it is now the best preserved - it was given a surface building designed by the architect Harry Bell Measures, a single-storey structure designed to be capable of carrying additional floors as and when demand arose. By 1908 an additional four storeys had indeed been added, to designs by Delissa Joseph; these later came to accommodate the CLR's head offices. In 1906 a second station opened at Oxford Circus, on the newly-completed Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (now the Bakerloo Line), with a sub-surface passage linking the two stations. The CLR was eventually acquired by the London Electric Railway (which also owned the Bakerloo Line) in 1913, and the two stations were merged into a single complex. Escalators were installed in 1925 to ease chronic overcrowding, and a large new underground ticket hall was built in 1963-8 to allow the new Victoria Line to access the station. The former CLR building is now only used as an exit.
Harry Bell Measures (1862-1940) initially made his career as a domestic architect, designing suburban villas in Hampstead and Brighton, and also a number of 'Rowton Houses' ('improved' working men's accommodation sponsored by the philanthropist Lord Rowton) in inner London. He was architect to the CLR during the 1890s and designed the company's original 12 station buildings. Later in his career he was placed in charge of barrack design at the War Office; examples of his work survive at Aldershot, Sandhurst and Edinburgh. Several of his domestic and military buildings are listed at Grade II.
Delissa Joseph (1859-1927) was an Anglo-Jewish architect, best known as a designer of synagogues including those at Hampstead (Grade II*) and Hackney in London and Didsbury in Manchester (Grade II). He also designed housing in London, including 9 Embankment Gardens in Chelsea and Fitzgeorge Avenue in Hammersmith.
MATERIALS: Pinkish-buff terracotta and red brick with slate roof.
EXTERIOR: Lower storey comprises Measures' original station building. Wholly terracotta-clad with Mannerist detailing: pilasters flanking the entrances have capitals broken by masks and scroll brackets, supporting a cornice and frieze with moulded swags and cornucopias. Short elevation to Oxford Street contains main entrance (now exit), a broad segmental archway, originally glazed with timber mullions and now containing an openwork transom panel with diamond bracing. Large cartouche above rising into a gable, its cherub finial now lost. Long elevation to Argyll Street has two smaller segment-headed entrances, that to left cut down from an original window, and between them two similar openings containing shops. In centre, narrower doorway with glazed overlight gives access to upper floors. Curved corner section contains a metal-framed kiosk with bowed side sections bearing monograms, added before 1927 and now blocked.
Joseph's four upper storeys of red brick, with dressings and window bays in buff terracotta matching the base. Flemish Renaissance style. To Oxford Street, two tall canted bays with projecting transoms and string-courses, rising into a broad scrolled gable topped by a dragon finial. Round corner turret with transom windows and conical roof. To Argyll Street, a recessed canted bay with mullioned windows rising into another scrolled gable. Right-hand section, on a slightly different alignment, has one square and two canted bays, with plain dormers above in place of gables.
INTERIOR: The station interiors have been comprehensively remodelled and retains no visible features of interest. Interior of upper-floor offices not inspected.
Books and journals
Horne, M A C , The Central Line, (1987)
Lawrence, D, Underground Architecture, (1994)
Taylor, S, Green, O, The Moving Metropolis: a History of London's Transport since 1800 , (2001)
National Grid Reference: TQ2908481225
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