[Vwoolf] VW, enthusiast of the Tube

Stuart N. Clarke stuart.n.clarke at btinternet.com
Sun Sep 23 10:30:50 EDT 2012

I like to explore new extensions to the London Underground, although on (anti-Olympic) principle I have so far avoided the spur between Stratford and Stratford International on the DLR (B8-C8):


However, when the new (embarrassingly named) Emirates Air Line (cable car) opened on 28 June 2012 (D8), I was pretty quick to give it a try:


I see that VW was similarly keen:

“Golders Green & Hampstead July [1907]

“Last Sunday, the 6th, to be precise [actually, the 7th to be precise!] I made an expedition which seems to me to deserve commemoration. The Twopenny Tube has now burrowed as far as Golders Green [B5]; so that sinking into an earth laid with pavement & houses at one end, you rise to soft green fields at the other; the ashen dark & the chill & the cold glitter of electricity is replaced by the more benignant illumination of daylight. Indeed on Sunday there was a sky & a sun; & the exuberant holiday making of the crowd had some excuse. Well, we all of us got out at Golders Green ...”  (“A Passionate Apprentice” [Hogarth Press, 1990], p.365)

(1)   ‘Twopenny Tube’ is not a mistake—the Twopenny Tube was what is now the Central Line—for VW “was using the term in its newly generic sense to describe the growing Tube railway” (see “Virginia Woolf Bulletin”, No. 40 (May 2012), p.63).  

(2)   What we now call the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line opened on Sat. 22 June 1907, from Charing Cross (D5) in the south to Golders Green (B5) in the northwest (and to Archway in the northeast)—ONLY TWO WEEKS BEFORE VW MADE HER EXPEDITION!

(3)   “Many of [Golders Green] station’s original features remain intact including the ticket hall building (albeit partially obscured), wall tiling in the subways and staircases, and railings at platform level.”  (David Leboff, “The Underground Stations of Leslie Green” [Capital Transport, 2002], p.36).

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