134. The tower at Boston Manor
There’s a bit of sibling rivalry up the western end of the Piccadilly line. I wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as a “who’s biggest” competition, even though I’ve just done so. But there’s definitely some pseudo-grandstanding going on. It’s quite possibly pseudist as well, for when you’ve not one but two tumescences prodding the sky a few streets apart in the same London borough, it’s tape measures at dawn.
I can’t find details of just how tall the tower at Boston Manor stands in comparison to its brother down the road at Osterley. Judging purely by photos, Osterley edges it. But that’s largely because of the pole that sits on top of the spike that sits on top of the tower. It’s absolutely shameless. Though if you’re going for elevation as well as style, there’s no point in going off half-cock.
Both stations were designed by Stanley Heaps from briefings by Charles Holden.
How fortuitous for a lazy blogger that two of the greatest architects to have worked on the Underground had such pun-friendly surnames. But you won’t find me beholden to heaping such linguistic fancies into what is already an over-ripe textual stew. Their efforts, as always, speak for themselves – or rather, sing for themselves, because Boston Manor is what happens when buildings croon.
The music you can hear is that of the 1930s: of soft, sad ballads; of frantic shape-throwing and frugging; of get-us-away-from-here toe-tappers; and of stoical, cheek-to-cheek farewells.
Boston Manor at night was used for one of the images for the Royal Mail’s set of commemorative stamps marking the Underground’s 150th anniversary. It was a superb choice, but not just for the station’s enchanting design and sophisticated character. This is architecture that radiates a mood as well as a movement; one of weary arrivals, of buoyant departures, of lonely vigils and late-night thoughts.
And yes, it does all those things even in brilliant sunshine.
Anyone up for a tea party?
Very good architecture!