2. The steps at Wembley Park
If anyone were to ever write a musical about the Underground, and were that musical then turned into a big budget film, this would be where the opening number would unquestionably have to take place.
If Wembley is England’s national stadium, then this is England’s national staircase:
It was finished in 2007. I’ve no memory of what was here before, having moved to London in 2006 and only first visited the station soon after the refurbishment was complete. I believe some sort of temporary staircase was thrown up in time for Euro 96, the kind of “temporary” that turns into “10-year residency”.
The Euro 96 connection was rekindled when David Seaman joined Ken Livingstone to officially open the reshaped station building. I love this quote from the former England goalkeeper:
“It’s great to see the Wembley Park Tube station in action today… Wembley Park will certainly be a fans’ favourite.”
There’s no doubt the steps help contribute to an exciting prelude of emotion for anyone heading to a sporting event at the stadium:
For those beating a retreat in the opposite direction, however, there’s another treat for the eye: a mammoth, brilliant-white, conical turret soaring high above the steps and into the sky:
The exit from the station used to just come down to the road level. One set directly onto the road and one set to the right hand side of the station as you exit. The direct pedestrian avenue/walkway did exist at all, that was a mix of industrial sites, offices and car parks. You used to have to follow the road to the right, take the left hand fork and then walk up past Wembley Arena etc. This is far more swish and ‘joined up’. And no doubt a source of joy for any driver that used to have to contend with swathes of sports and music fans attending either venue!
From what I can remember, Wembley Park station was right on the road. No steps leading under the road at all. You came out the station,crossed the road & walked down Wembley Way. There was a pub on the left hand corner of Wembley Way as you crossed the Road. I went to this station last October, the first time in about 30 Years! I couldn’t believe where all the steps came from!