Cannon Street station, one of three stations set on the north bank of the Thames, is in the heart of London’s financial district.
Built for the South Eastern Railway, the station was constructed, with its hotel, in 1865 – 67. The station’s cast-iron roof was supported on walls that matched the design of the train-shed side of the hotel.
Designed by the engineer Sir John Hawkshaw, the train-shed, like that at Charing Cross, was roofed without internal supports. Until St Pancras was completed in 1868 these were the largest roofs of their kind. The vast Cannon Street Hotel was designed by E M Barry, and for the first half of the the 20th century the hotel was used as offices but after World War II the building was demolished. Only the stone towers and the immense brick walls of the train-shed survived.
The South Eastern Railway merged with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway to become the South Eastern and Chatham. This railway was the sworn enemy of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, based at London Bridge Station.
Today, Cannon Street is a mix of old and new architecture but modern office blocks dominate the station. At the passenger entrance there is a concrete concourse, dating from the 1970s and above the platforms are 1980s offices. The only remnants of the original building are the two towers at the mouth of the train-shed.
Cannon Street serves south-east London and north Kent, mainly used by the thousands of City workers who commute into London from Monday to Friday. At weekends Cannon Street is almost empty.