Bishopsgate railway station
|Opened by||Eastern Counties Railway|
|Key dates||Opened 1 July 1840
Closed November 1875 to passengers; 5 December 1964 to freight
|Replaced by||Bishopsgate (Low Level) and Liverpool Street|
|London Transport portal|
Bishopsgate railway station (latterly Bishopsgate Goods Yard) was a railway station located on the eastern side of Shoreditch High Street in the modern London Borough of Tower Hamlets (historically within the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green) on the western edge of the East End of London and just outside of the City of London.
It was in use from 1840 to 1875 as a passenger station and then as a freight terminal until it was destroyed by fire in 1964. Substantial remains laid derelict until they were demolished in 2003-04 to make way for Shoreditch High Street railway station which now stands on the site.
The station was opened with the name Shoreditch by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) on 1 July 1840 to serve as its new permanent terminus when the railway was extended westwards from an earlier temporary terminus at Devonshire Street, near Mile End. The station was renamed Bishopsgate on 27 July 1847 with the intention of drawing more City commuters by naming it after the major thoroughfare in the heart of the financial district.
In 1862, the ECR amalgamated with a number of other East Anglian railway companies to form the Great Eastern Railway (GER). For a time the GER also used Fenchurch Street as a terminus but a lack of capacity led the GER to build a new terminus for its services at Liverpool Street which opened in 1874. Bishopsgate station was closed to passenger traffic in November 1875 and converted to a goods station which opened in 1881 and became known as Bishopsgate goods yard. A passenger station called Bishopsgate (Low Level) was provided on the new route into Liverpool Street. Platforms of this station are still visible from trains on the approach into Liverpool Street.
As a goods depot, Bishopsgate handled very large volumes of goods from the eastern ports and was arranged over three levels with turntables and hoists allowing railway wagons to be moved individually around the station for loading and unloading. Incoming goods could be stored in the warehouse on site or transferred directly to road vehicles for onward transportation to their destinations.
A major fire on 5 December 1964 destroyed the station. Within 40 minutes of the first firefighters arriving on scene, the scale of the blaze was so intense and widespread that the London Fire Brigade had mobilised 40 fire engines. In addition, 12 aerial turntable platforms, two firehose-laying vehicles and two emergency tenders as well as 235 firefighters battled the fire which killed two customs officials and destroyed hundreds of railway wagons, dozens of motor vehicles and millions of pounds worth of goods.
The station was subsequently closed and the upper-level structures were largely demolished. Over the next 40 years much of the site became derelict. Following an extended period of planning, the entire site was demolished in 2003-04, with the exception of a number of Grade II listed structures: ornamental gates on Shoreditch High Street and the remaining 850 feet (260 m) of the so-called "Braithwaite Viaduct", one of the oldest railway structures in the world and the second-oldest in London, designed by John Braithwaite. The demolition of the former Bishopsgate station made way for Shoreditch High Street station on the East London line extension in 2010, part of the new London Overground network, replacing Shoreditch tube station to the east which had closed in June 2006.
- English Heritage: Delivering the Goods
- Bishopsgate Goods Station (Goodsyard) on Subterranean Britannica
- London Borough of Hackney: Bishopsgate Goods Yard Draft Interim Planning and Design Guidance
- London Borough of Tower Hamlets: Draft Interim Planning Guidance for Bishopsgate Goods Yard