124. The cupola at Clapham Common

A case of cup-olaThere are a, ahem, coupla’ reasons to visit Clapham Common station.

The first is the single island platform, identical to the one at Clapham North, both of which are the only such layouts still in existence on deep-level Underground lines.

The second is above ground. It’s the intriguingly (some might say dangerously) exotic confection that sits over the main entrance:

Cosmopolitan twitchingsIt’s rare to find the Underground flirting with anything so continental. It’s even rarer to find it getting away with it. Perhaps it’s the logo that’s key. Its reassuring typeface and dash of provincial antiquity  offsets any passing architectural indulgence.

But don’t worry. On encountering the cupola, if you’re prone to suffer from cosmopolitan stirrings, you can always nip on to the nearby common to relieve any tautness.

My cup runneth 'olaThis is the only decent bit of Clapham Common station to break ground. There’s a small, rather lumpen pavilion on the other side of the road that contains another way down to the ticket hall, but it can’t compete with this fey treat.

There’s a faint whiff of Catholic chintz about it. If the pope were to endorse this kind of architecture, his popularity might get another unlikely boost. But given its devoutly secular antecedents, I’m not so sure. Could Francis ‘ford this cupola? I suspect his fellow cardinals would prefer apocalypse – now.

Yet even if this very-late Victorian fancy (c. 1900) doesn’t tickle yours, there’s something hanging inside to twitch even the devoutest of souls:

Arrow right through meCupola? I barely knew her!

1 comment
  1. Richard Elliott said:

    Been liked now! I especially like that “To the trains” sign. Proper old school typography

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