62. The exterior of West Kensington

The sun always shines on Charles HoldenA bit of luck with the clouds, plus a bit of derring-do with the traffic, led to this picture. Granted, the station is strutting rather shamelessly in the light. All its finery is on display. But what’s not to love? West Kensington spends its life squeezed among buildings squatter in size and inferior in style, a plucky player in the jamboree of architecture that unfurls along the North End Road. Why begrudge it an occasional moment in the sun?

Go, West!Vehicles pummel the tarmac yards from the entrance. It’s possibly one of the least best locations for a generous slab of between-the-wars Charles Holden. You can’t fully appreciate it on your way in or out. You have, like an aesthetically-picky aircraft, to be on the right approach.

And one of these approaches is, to be granted, not especially practical if you’re hastening for a train:

Barbed remarksBarbed wire had to be navigated to take this picture. No, there was no trespassing involved. And there was no loss of dignity either – only a few stitches.

You can see how West Kensington dwells in less than exceptional street-level surroundings. But it’s always nice to come across a bit of the Underground’s lower anatomy exposed for perusal.

That’s a fine set of alcoves, as the draughtsman said to the stationmistress.

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