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The line into Victoria from Stewarts Lane was built by the Victoria Station & Pimlico Railway, strongly backed by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. The Grosvenor Canalprovided a suitable course and the canal basin at the western end of Victoria Street a convenient site for the station. Construction began in 1859. The LBSCR had subscribed two-thirds of the VS&PR capital and therefore obtained its own section of the terminus while arrangements were made with the London, Chatham & Dover Railway and the Great Western Railway for their lease of the eastern side. Naturally this entailed mixed gauge track from Longhedge junction, Battersea, which the GWR would reach by the West London Extension Railway. Grosvenor bridge across the Thames was the first railway bridge over the river in the London area; it was désigned by John Fowler, engineer of the VS & PR, and took exactly one year from the commencement of construction to the passage of thefirst train, on 9 lune 1860. The Brighton side of the station opened in October 1860 while the LCDR and GWR side came into use in August 1862. The influential inhabitants of  Belgravia had insisted upon the sleepers being mounted upon rubber to reduce the noise. The GWR ran trains to Victoria from Southall, and later from Uxbridge, Reading, Slough and Windsor, with a number of other brief experiments. The Great Northern was to run trains from Barnet, the Midland from South Totten-ham or Hendon both via the City Widéned Lines through Farringdon, and Lough-borough junction, and the LNWR from Broad Street via the West London line. 

 
The idea of unloading cattle at Euston station inevitably seems incongruous to the modern traveller who has long been accustomed to the separation of goods and people. In the earlyyears of railways, facilities had not been sufficiently developed to permit segregation, so passengers would doubtless have had to suffer the inconveniences of sharing the platforms with cows on more than one occasion. The dramatic improvement in the quality offood in towns and cities must have been one of the most evident and universal benefits to be derived from the newform of transport. It certainly transformed the routine of livestock farmers who no longer had to worry about the problems of escorting their animals to markets, sometimes entailing treks of a hundred miles or more, with all the worry about their weight and condition on arrival. In time many of the old drove roads returned to nature. 

It was during the construction of the approaches to St Pancras through the burial ground of the church that a body in a coffin was exposed, causing a great scandal, Proper reburial was arranged and a young assistant named Thomas Hardy was sent to supervise; two poems resulted from the experience. Before the Midland Railway ran into St Pancras, it had shared Kings Cross with the GNR, obviously not a satis-factory position for a company with the Midland's aspirations. Sanction for the 50 mile extension from Bedford to St Pancras was granted in 1863 and work began on the ,new terminus in 1866. Barlows original plan for a double or triple roof span was changed by the suggestion of james A liport, the Midlands general manager, that the space below the station could be used as cellerage. A barrel of Burton beer became the unit of Barlows calculations; the harm-ful effect of intruding columns, which a roof of two or more spans would require, encouraged the décision to produce a single span. Regular goods trains ran to Agar Town goods station from September 1867 and St. Pancras itself was opened without ceremony on 1 October 1868. Only the foundations of the hotel were complete. 
 
 
 The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park attracted just over 6m visitors between May and October 1851. In August 1852, the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace began on a site at Sydenham Hill by a company set up by its builder, Joseph Paxton. The intention was to create a Winter Park and Garden, providing the finest display of rare plants and trees, and to display copies of the world's finest statuary. Queen Victoria opened it in june 1854 in the presence of 40, 000 people. The LBSCR line to the Iow-level station necessitated a walk along a 720ft glass-covered colonnade so the station of the Crystal Palace & South London junction Railway, which deposited its passengers alongside the Palace, was preferred. The new line, from Peckham Rye, was opened on 1 August 1865. Services were suspended during both wars and the line beyond the junction at Nunhead was closed on 20 September 1954. 
 
 

THE CHARING-CROSS BRIDGE 

Regarded as the terminus that most conveniently serves the heart of London, Charing Cross was reached by a line from Cannon Street West junction (later Metropolitan junction) and crossed the Thames on the site of Brunel's 1845 suspension bridge, built to attract custom from Surrey to Hungerford Market. The chains and ironwork of Brunel's bridge were sold and used in the Clifton suspension bridge, although the new lattice girder bridge used Brunel's two red brick piers and abutments. Footways had to be provided on both sides of the new bridge to replace the suspension bridge. A halfpenny toll was charged until abolished in 1878 when the SER was paid the colossal sum of £98,000 by the Metropolitan Board of Works. 
 

This bridge is for the purpose of extending the South-Eastern Railway from London-bridge to Charing-cross, where a station will be erected upon the site of the Hungerford Market. The station will be on the same level as the Strand. The bridge is to be erected upon the site of the present Suspension-bridge, which will be taken down to make room for the new bridge. The Thames at this point is 1350 feet in width, and is 30 feet deep at high water. The bridge is to be supported on cast-iron columns sunk deep into the bed of the Thames. Upon these columns the superstructure of the bridge, which will be wholly of wrought iron, is to rest. The bridge will have a minimum width of 70 feet - sufficient for four lines of way, with footpaths seven feet in width on each side, on which the passenger traffic across the Suspension-bridge will be continued. The bridge will be of eight spans, each 151/2 feet; and the height of the under side of the bridge above Trinity high-water mark will be nowhere less than 25 feet. The Act of Parliament authorising its construction was obtained last Session. The designs of the bridge have received the sanction of the Admiralty and of the Conservators of the River Thames, and the works have been commenced. Mr. Hawkshaw is the engineer of the bridge and railway, and Mr. George Wythes the contractor; but the bridge, as well as the other iron bridges along the line, are to be con-structed and erected for the contractor by Messrs. Cochrane and Co., who are executing the iron-work for Westminster-bridge. 

[ILN MARCH 31 18601 


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This page was created by Julia Lee '99. It is maintained by Professor Robert Schwartz of the History Department, 
Mount Holyoke College.