It holds its own against fierce competition from pretty much every station along the northern end of the Piccadilly line, which is easily the most rewarding stamping ground for Underground architecture. And it does this by not merely being another example of Charles Holden’s faultless skill for coupling beauty with design, but by being unique.
There is literally no other station like this on the whole of the network.
You might think he failed, or that he went too far. I think he succeeds with aplomb.
Agreed, it does look like Southgate station has landed from some other time and place, even some other world. But it doesn’t feel out of time or out of place. Maybe that’s because we’ve all got so used to seeing this kind of extraordinary architecture in ordinary surroundings. But perhaps that’s all the more reason to continue to draw attention to it – and to appreciate and marvel at it even more, Dalek stalk and all:
The interior, which I’ll cover another time, and which explains how that dazzling circular roof appears to be entirely self-supporting, was renovated in 2008. The majestic exterior is pretty much unchanged.
It’s not something you can easily take in just by standing still. If you’re like me – which you’re probably glad you’re not – you’ll end up walking all the way round the outside. Twice.
Oh, and as if we weren’t spoiled enough, Holden throws this in to boot:
Now if only Transport for London licensed desk lamps that looked like this…