top of page
  • Writer's pictureIna

London's Rail Stations: Waterloo Station

Waterloo Station is a major railway station located in central London, England. It was opened in 1848 by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) and was named after the Battle of Waterloo, which took place in 1815.

The original station was designed by William Tite, and it was the terminus for trains from the south and west of England. The station quickly became a hub for transportation, serving as a gateway to London for both passengers and goods.

In the early 1900s, the station underwent a major expansion, which included the construction of a new entrance and booking hall, additional platforms, and the famous clock tower. The clock tower, which is 63 meters tall, is a distinctive feature of the station and has become an iconic symbol of London.

During World War II, Waterloo Station played a significant role in the evacuation of children from London, with thousands of children passing through the station on their way to the countryside.

In the 1990s, the station underwent another major renovation, which included the construction of the Waterloo International Terminal, which was designed to accommodate Eurostar trains traveling between London and continental Europe.

The Famous Clock

The main four-sided clock at Waterloo Station is one of the most recognizable features of the station and is a prominent landmark in London. The clock was made by Gents of Leicester and is located on the south side of the station, above the main entrance and booking hall, and is mounted on a tower that rises 63 meters above ground level.

It was installed in 1893 and was designed by clockmaker Frederick Dent. It features four faces, and is powered by a mechanism that is located in the tower above the clock faces.

The faces are made of opal glass and are illuminated from behind, providing a clear and easily readable display both day and night. The clock hands are made of copper and are coated with gold leaf, adding to the clock's ornate appearance.

The clock is considered one of the most accurate in the world and is regularly checked and adjusted to ensure that it maintains precise time. Overall, the Waterloo Station clock is an iconic feature of London and an important part of the station's history and heritage.

It has been a popular meeting point for Londoners ever since. Although not mentioned directly, it's probably immortalised by The Kinks in their 1967 hit, Waterloo Sunset: 🎵 “Terry meets Julie, Waterloo station every Friday night.”

A stunning example of Victorian Gothic

The architectural style of Waterloo Station in London is Victorian Gothic, which was a popular style during the 19th century when the station was originally built. The station's designer, architect William Tite, was known for his work on other notable buildings in London, including the Royal Exchange and the Corn Exchange.

The design features many of the characteristic elements of Victorian Gothic architecture, including pointed arches, decorative stonework, and ornate detailing. The exterior of the station is clad in red brick and Bath stone, with large arched windows and intricate carvings.

One of the most prominent features of Waterloo Station is the clock tower, which rises 63 meters above the station and is visible from many parts of the surrounding area. The clock tower features four clock faces, each measuring 7 meters in diameter, and is topped by a cupola with a decorative finial.

Inside the station, the architectural style is more functional, with a focus on providing a practical and efficient space for passengers. The station features a large, open booking hall with a high, vaulted ceiling and a grid of iron columns that support the roof. The platforms are accessed via a series of arched passageways that are lined with shops and restaurants.

Overall, the architectural style of Waterloo Station reflects the Victorian Gothic style of the mid-19th century, with ornate detailing and decorative elements that create a sense of grandeur and importance.

Today, Waterloo Station is one of the busiest railway stations in London, serving around 100 million passengers per year. It is a major transportation hub, providing connections to destinations throughout the UK and Europe. The station is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and other amenities, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.


bottom of page