London Bridge is the capital’s oldest railway terminus.
London’s first railway, the London and Greenwich (L&G) opened in 1836 and ran over brick arches from Depford to its station in Bermondsey. After the line was extended to Greenwich a new station was opened at the foot of London Bridge on the South bank of the Thames.
Shortly after the opening of London Bridge Station, the South Eastern Railway (SER) and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSC) lines all converged on London Bridge over high brick viaducts. The rival railways became paying tenants, the station becoming two stations in one.
In 1851 the SER built a frontage of brick faced with stucco designed by Samuel Beazley, while the LBSC, whose headquarters were at London Bridge, constructed a station with a cast-iron roof. Dating from 1866, the LBSC’s building forms most of the current station. The approaches to the station were widened in 1866 and in 1880.
When the rival lines were grouped in 1923, and renamed the Southern Railway, an entrance was made between the two stations. Little remains of the splendor of London Bridge as most of the original buildings were bombed during World War II. In 1978 a major development at London Bridge was completed.
The site consists of long covered streets, commercial premises and the entrance to the underground system. Since the opening of the Jubilee Line, the area surrounding the underground station has been renovated.
There are also plans to upgrade and remodel London Bridge Station itself. Proposals include the construction of a vast ‘shard of glass’ commercial development above the current concourse.
London Bridge Station is symbolic of the City of London and for many years was its chief entrance from the south-east.
Today, London Bridge remains both a terminus and through-line station, serving the thousands of workers who commute into London. The station has 7 platforms and runs trains to and from south and south-east London, Kent, Dover and Brighton. There are also through trains to Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Waterloo. Thameslink trains run through trains between Brighton and Bedford (via Blackfriars).