Beautiful red London Waterloo building has a morbid past as ‘gateway to the afterlife’

By Staff

Many years ago, a railway line ran between the centre of London and Surrey. But, its trains were not made to accommodate the living, though they did travel on it too.

The number of people living in the capital grew from one million in 1800 to 6.9 million a century later. London’s necropolis railway transport deceased residents southwards amid this ballooning population.

It opened in 1854 and relieved overcrowded cemeteries in the capital, taking lost loved ones to Brookwood Cemetery instead.

READ MORE: The Roman road to London built 2,000 years ago that you can still see clues about today

There were two necropolis stations, the first of which has been demolished. But, remnants of the second one can still be seen in Westminster Bridge Road in the form of a beautiful red facade on what is now an office building.

The station buildings were designed to transfer coffins from ground level to the platforms, take care of mourners and even conduct funeral services. UK’s railways were of course ever expanding as the 19th century wore on.

From its very earliest days Waterloo station was popular with race goers travelling to Epsom. The original interchange opened in 1848.

This was brought forward a week to enable passengers to travel to The Derby by rail for the first time, Network Rail says. In 1899, London and South Western Railway – previously London and Southampton – sought permission to completely rebuild and expand the station.

Due to this upgrade, in 1902, a deal was done with the necropolis railway to open a new station in Westminster Bridge Road. The facade of its entrance can still be seen today after the building and rails was heavily damaged during the Blitz in 1941. After the war, it was not thought to be financially viable to reopen it. Nowadays, it is office space.

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