There’s no reason for it not to be. It’s one and a half centuries old. Much of it is in complete darkness. It doesn’t need to look or feel especially reverent. It still does the job for which it was originally built, and that’s all that matters.
Where the tunnel lifts its skirts, as it were, is when it brushes up against the rest of the world. And it does this with the most style, but also the most dignity, at Baker Street.
There’s something about these platforms that perspires history. Granted, a degree of it is down to contrivance. The place has been done up to show off its heritage. But there’s nothing wrong with illuminating the past, and Baker Street does it literally:
The care that has gone into the presentation of the original platforms at Baker Street is palpable. You feel like someone has, for once, grasped how architecture and artistry can rekindle each other in a constructive, forward-looking fashion.
This place could so easily have taken on the feel of a mausoleum. Antiquities could have been preserved out of duty rather than love. Instead the smell of Victoriana that sidles up your senses the moment you arrive on the platforms is comforting, even reassuring.
The eminence is infectious. I want to linger here, not pay my respects and move on.
The drawings and old maps and archive floor plans all help, of course. They sit in the illuminated alcoves, twinkling in the light, making the place feel even more like a living museum. I imagine, or at least I hope, they render the business of waiting for trains a little less tedious. Not that tedium is something I’d be quick to associate with Baker Street (although when I was there to take these photos, somebody was passing the time by doing the electric boogaloo – and rather well, as it happens).
These are only two of the 10 (count ’em) platforms at Baker Street, serving just two of the station’s five lines. But they are the oldest and also the finest. A bit of history gets under your fingernails every time you pass this way. Long may that continue.