LBS Number: 200575
Grade: II* - upgraded from II to II* in 2009
Date Listed: 19/02/1971
Local Authority: Enfield
Southgate Station, Station Parade, London Borough of Enfield
Underground station with surface buildings and associated pylons and lamp posts. Opened March 1933 to the designs of Charles Holden of Adams, Holden and Pearson for the London Passenger Transport Board.
Reinforced concrete frame, the street-level entrance building clad in red and brown brick on Cornish granite plinth; high concrete cornices and oversailing flat roofs.
The surface buildings comprise a circular drum set in a roundabout, with high central booking hall surrounded by lower offices and kiosks. The exterior of the drum is surprisingly complex in its detailing. Cast-iron dado in geometric Greek key pattern around vent covers. Steel window frames in timber surrounds, a pair set either side of blind timber poster boards. Projecting illuminated sign band standing proud of narrow glazing band.
Archive Photo, 1934
Broad projecting eaves formed of a slim concrete slab; high clerestory with strongly horizontal pattern of steel glazing bars under shallow concrete slab roof topped by distinctively Scandinavian style finial of five swirling bands between opal light fittings (they slide to open) with a ball top. The letters to some shop units have contemporary bold signage. Many of the signs, particularly the roundels, are late-C20 replicas of 1930s originals. The station building sits in the centre of an oval island, this with some original and some replaced radial cut paving slabs, as well as late-C20 brick pavers.
Booking hall has bronzed framed information panels in entrances; stepped ceilings incorporating specially designed inset lights. A passimeter is set around a central concrete pier, cylindrical with flat eaves incorporating floodlights upwards and round inset lighting projecting downwards; glazed above linoleum-coated timber lower section, cupboards and shelving below dado level within. The main drum has black curved plinth, with black tiles and fretwork decorated soffit panels below shop fronts and ticket counter (modified in 1987).
Archive Photo, 1948
Shopfronts with contemporary bold signage in individual letters. Around perimeter and between shops, twelve single rectangular lights of opaque glass. Above runs the concrete ring beam, here tiled with fluted cornice band; exposed concrete roof above clerestory forming ripples of concrete around the top of the central pier. Interiors of the non-public spaces not of special interest.
A sign denotes: 'TO THE TRAINS' over the head of the escalator hall; reached through tiled reveals, this plastered hall is segmental arched with long escalators flanking central stair; these were sensitively modernised in 1991 retaining the eight pairs of bronze uplighters that are a special feature of Southgate, and the bronze escalator casings with stepped details and handrails. Two further uplighters in the lower hall, with bronze manager's door below clock, flanked by windows at end of hall and, to either side, segmental arched openings to the platforms.
Suspended illuminated signs (two feathers to their arrows) give directions. Vertical flutings to the passageways. Cream terrazzo flooring with black subdivisions. All this area is tiled to cornice height in cream tiles with dark yellow roll mouldings at entrances and narrow surrounds to poster areas. The tile pattern is repeated on the cylindrical and slightly curved platforms, with roof soffit on platform side, black plinths and precast concrete paving. All this tiling was replaced in replica as part of the 2007-08 refurbishment, with the exception of that on the far side of the tunnel walls.
Yellow surrounds to tunnel entrances. Fixed timber benches with, above, station roundels with black edgings and 'WAY OUT' signs; the arrows with four feathers, a sign of their being contemporary with the station, so are the arrows on the direction boards towards Cockfosters and central London. Staff letter boxes, water and fire service points (while not themselves included) are outlined in the coloured slip tiles used elsewhere. Bronze doors at ends and, on the eastbound platform, a former bronze sales point.
The pair of pylons, four lamp posts and the shops at Nos. 1-8 (consecutive) Station Parade and No.1 Chase Side, to the west of the station, are all listed separately.
Southgate Underground Station was approved in 1930 and opened in 1933 on the northern extension of the Piccadilly Line. This seven mile extension beyond the original terminus of Finsbury Park required a parliamentary act and was to serve the enlarging suburban areas in north and west Middlesex. The first section of the line, from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove, which included the stations at Manor House, Turnpike Lane, Wood Green and Bounds Green, was opened on 19 September 1932. Southgate and Enfield West (now Oakwood) followed in March 1933 and the terminus at Cockfosters opened on 31 July 1933. The London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) was created on 1 July 1933. The Piccadilly extension line stations were commissioned by Frank Pick (1878-1941) and designed by architect Charles Holden (1875-1960), who together created an architecturally distinguished group of buildings. Pick worked for London Underground from 1906-1940, throughout his career striving to promote high-quality, well-detailed design that he believed was essential for serving the public. Holden was a notable Arts and Crafts architect in the Edwardian period who uniquely made the move to modernism, following a 1930 study tour (with Pick) of continental railway stations and modern architecture. Together they firmly promoted functionalist modernism for the new station designs, taking advantage of newly available materials, and adopting the continental and American idea of a primary concourse as circulation space, with the ticket hall as the dominant element of the new buildings. The station was restored in the 1990s and 2007-08.
Architects' Journal, 26 March 1942, p.233
Laurence Menear. London's Underground Stations: a social and architectural study. (1983)
David Leboff. London Underground Stations. (1994)
David Lawrence. Underground Architecture. (1994)
Desmond F. Croome. The Piccadilly Line: An Illustrated History. (1998)
Twentieth Century Society/Victorian Society, End of the Line? The Future of London Underground's Past. (1988)
Susie Barson. 'A Little Grit and Ginger': The Impact of Charles Holden on the Architecture of the London Underground, 1923-40' in The Architecture of British Transport in the Twentieth Century. ed.by Julian Holder and Steven Parissien. (2004)
Resons for Designation
Southgate station has more than special architectural and historic interest for its:
* Bold massing demonstrated by low circular tiers of the station building with central finial and the effective counterpart of the soaring pylons with their integral circular seats and Underground logo. While characteristic of Holden's work, the station is also a unique design and the ball finial motif was adopted from the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition that would effectively influence British architecture for the next 20 years as a primary source of the Festival of Britain style.
* Logical planning as an integrated bus and underground transport interchange in an effectively grouped ensemble further identified as a transport circus by the curved routes defined by the buildings and the landmark pylons with signage. It has group value with these other listed structures.
* Attention to detail and dramatic interiors with original features such as bronze shopfronts, the central passimeter that grows into the main finial, the bronze fluted uplighters (a feature of all these stations) and distinctive signage.
* Position as one of the best of Charles Holden's fine London Underground stations, designed in partnership with Frank Pick of the London Transport Passenger Board. These are among the first and most widely celebrated examples of modern architecture in Britain.
* Also highly significant as an example of the modernist approach to corporate identity which subsumed architecture, design and graphics to a common idiom.
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