35. The terminus at Cockfosters

To the end of the lineWelcome to the end of the line.

I hope I’m not alone in finding this and other London Underground terminuses (or termini, to be classically correct) hugely beguiling. They have an atmosphere you do not find anywhere else on the network. It’s one of precarious, precious stillness. Nothing and no-one can rush in a place like this. Life feels half-suspended, having drifted in from somewhere, but not entirely sure when it will drift on somewhere else. Trains creep in, loiter, and creep out. Time does the same.

These feelings are amplified and embellished when you’re in a terminus like the one at Cockfosters.

Another Charles Holden masterpiece (yes, him again) dating from 1933, the building seems almost to shiver with languid splendour. Those great grey arches yawn invitingly; the soft lights wink and glow with dapper charm; and all around you the space, the generous, stylish space, circulates with airy, effortless ease.

Beginning to see the lightAll the signature Holden motifs are present and correct: reinforced concrete and glass well to the fore, as much natural light as possible, an emphasis on simple elegance rather than fussy ornamentation, and sleek, smooth lines that curve, criss-cross and sidle in every direction.

But there are surprises as well, like this grill, which reminds me of one of Ken Adam’s stark and memorable set designs from Dr No:

Oh, NoOr this modest attempt at a flower bed:

Insert another "blooming" pun hereNecessity means you have to linger in Cockfosters; the station’s glorious interior makes it expedient to do so as well. It is one of the finest places to begin or end a journey to or from anywhere in London.

To make an end is to make a beginningSomething happened here

2 comments
  1. theoriginalsimonb said:

    Yup, always loved this one. It is the closest station to my Grandmother so has been the gateway for many a day out. Plus you get to dig out the old Paul Hogan advert…

  2. Billy said:

    For font fans, Cockfosters Station is interesting as it uses a non standard font in the signage.

    Look closely at the name sign – tiny serifs which you won’t find anywhere else on LUL.

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