Henry J Neave, 1900 - 1971
Engineers dismantling the Roof of Cannon Street Station, London 1958-1959
Engineers dismantling the Roof of Cannon Street St

 "H.J.Neave . / 1959"

watercolour and pastel
50 x 70 cm. (20 x 28 in.)


H. J. Neave was an artist and illustrator, he worked for Penquin Books and created a number of illustrations for Royal Mail Stamps. A Set of Stamps for Bermuda. He created a number of paintings of the dismantling of the Roof of Canon Street station between 1958-1959 including this one.

Cannon Street station, also known as London Cannon Street, is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station in Travelcard zone 1 located on Cannon Street in the City of London and managed by Network Rail. It is one of two London termini of the South Eastern main line, the other being Charing Cross, while the Underground station is on the Circle and District lines, between Monument and Mansion House. The station runs services by Southeastern, mostly catering for commuters in southeast London and Kent, with occasional services further into the latter.

The station was built on a site of the medieval steelyard, the trading base in England of the Hanseatic League. It was built by the South Eastern Railway in order to have a railway terminal in the City and compete with their rivals, the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. The City location of the station necessitated a new bridge across the River Thames, which was constructed between 1863 and 1866. The station was initially a stop for continental services from Charing Cross, and that route was convenient for travel between the City and the West End, until the construction of the District Railway. It remained popular with commuters, though its off-peak services were discontinued in the early 20th century, leading to it being closed on Sundays for almost 100 years. The original hotel on the station was unsuccessful, and eventually closed. The station was controversially renovated in the late 1950s by John Poulson, while further construction on top of the station building occurred during the City's 1980s property boom. The Poulson building was replaced in 2007 as part of a general renovation of the station to make it more accessible. As part of the Thameslink Programme development in the 2010s, it was re-opened on Sundays and began to offer more long-distance services in place of Charing Cross.

Cannon Street is a terminal station, approached across the River Thames by the Cannon Street Railway Bridge. Its approach by rail is by a triangular connection to both London Bridge and Charing Cross. It is one of eighteen stations in the country that are managed by Network Rail.
There were originally eight platforms; a refurbishment in the late 1990s removed the original platform 1. It has entrances on Cannon Street itself and Dowgate Hill. It is also located near the London Stone (north from station), which was once used as the place from which all distances in Roman Britain were measured.

Cannon Street Station was built on a site where the Hanseatic merchants' steelyard was based from the 10th century until 1598. The site was proposed in 1860 by the South Eastern Railway (SER) in response to their rivals, the London, Chatham & Dover Railway (LC&DR), extending a line into the City of London as far north as Ludgate Hill. The SER had already made plans to extend their line towards Charing Cross, but decided that they should complement this with a terminus in the City.

In 1861, the company obtained an act for a station in Cannon Street, a short distance from Mansion House and the Bank of England.[9] In addition to taking traffic from the LC&DR, the new station would provide a direct railway link between the City and the West End, over which a journey could be made in a fraction of the time taken travelling by road.[10] The approach was a 60-chain (4,000 ft; 1,200 m) branch of the line to Charing Cross, west of London Bridge. Work started on the station and its approach in July 1863.

The station was opened on 1 September 1866 at a cost of £4 million (now £340 million). The original building was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and John Wolfe-Barry and was characterised by its two Christopher Wren-style towers, 23 ft (7.0 m) square and 135 ft (41 m) high, which faced on to the River Thames. The towers supported an iron train shed, 700 ft (210 m) long and crowned by a high single arch, almost semicircular, of glass and iron. The station is carried over Upper Thames Street on a brick viaduct, 700 ft (210 m) long and containing 27 million bricks.Below this viaduct, there are the remains of a number of Roman buildings, which form a scheduled ancient monument.Between 1872 and 1877, the bridge was opened to pedestrians who paid a toll of ½d.

The five-storey City Terminus Hotel, which fronted the station, was opened in May 1867. It was an Italianate style hotel and forecourt, designed by E. M. Barry, and it provided many of the station's passenger facilities, as well as an appropriate architectural frontispiece to the street. This arrangement was very similar to that put in place at Charing Cross.[15] The hotel was not profitable, and was over £47,000 (now £4,127,000) in debt by 1870.[16] The City Terminus Hotel was renamed the Cannon Street Hotel in 1879.[6] In July 1920, the hotel was the first meeting point of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Most of the hotel was closed in 1931, but the public rooms were kept open for meetings. The rest were converted into offices and renamed Southern House.

Upon opening, Cannon Street Station was a stopping point for all services to and from Charing Cross, including boat trains to Continental Europe. A shuttle service between the two stations ran every 20 minutes and became a popular way of travelling between the City and the West End. However, the opening of the District Railway as far as Blackfriars caused traffic to drop off, and its extension to Mansion House the following year reduced it further. The SER's route could not compete with the Underground, which was more direct and reliable, but suburban traffic to Cannon Street remained popular, and the bridge was widened to 120 feet (37 m) in the late 1880s, allowing ten tracks with sidings. The rebuilt bridge was opened on 13 February 1892. The signal boxes outside the station were upgraded the following year.

The London and Southwestern Railway (LSWR) became interested in using Cannon Street as a terminus, as it would allow a connection between Waterloo and the City. Work on strengthening the bridge, by the addition of six new 443-foot (135 m) girders in between the existing ones, was completed in 1913.

Most Cannon Street train services ceased during World War I. Continental boat trains were stopped on 15 November 1914 and rerouted to Victoria. The station stopped being served by through services from Charing Cross on 31 December 1916, and was closed on Sundays. Services were reduced further on 1 May 1918, when it was closed after 3 p.m. on Saturdays and between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. This allowed Cannon Street to be used as a goods depot for war supplies.

Between 5–28 June 1926, the station was closed to allow the Southern Railway to carry out various works, including the rebuilding of the platforms, relaying of the tracks and installation of a new system of electrical signalling – the four-aspect colour light scheme. The station was also renovated and the glass roof cleaned. The number of platforms was reduced from nine to eight, with five set aside for the new electric trains. The signal box spanning the width of the railway bridge was removed. In July 1939, Cannon Street was closed for a week following a fire in Borough Market which prevented any trains accessing it.

The station, which had been subject to structural neglect prior to World War II, suffered extensive bomb damage and was hit by several incendiary devices which damaged the roof. A high explosive also hit platform 8. The original glass roof had been removed before the war in an attempt to save it; however, the factory in which the roof was stored was itself badly bombed, destroying the roof.

Following nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the station was managed by the Southern Region of British Railways. The station's prime location coupled with the property boom of the 1950s and the need for British Rail to seek alternative revenue streams made war-damaged Cannon Street a key target for property developers. Steam trains stopped running from Cannon Street in 1959.

Various plans were mooted for the reconstruction of the station, from the installation of a new ticket hall and concourse under Southern House in 1955 as part of British Rail's Modernisation Plan to the construction of a car park estimated to cost £125,000 (now £3,010,000) and even a helipad. In 1962, the British Transport Commission entered into an agreement with Town & Country Properties for the construction of a multi-storey office building above the station with 154,000 sq ft (14,300 m2) of floor space. The cost of the development was £2.35 million (now £42 million) and it was scheduled for completion by June 1965.

In preparation for redevelopment, the remains of the train shed roof had been demolished in 1958, and Barry's hotel (which had been used as offices since 1931) soon followed in 1960. The architect selected to design the new building was John Poulson who was good friends with Graham Tunbridge, a British Rail surveyor whom he had met during the war. Poulson took advantage of this friendship to win contracts for the redevelopment of various British Rail termini. He paid Tunbridge a weekly income of £25 and received in return building contracts, including the rebuilding of Waterloo and East Croydon stations. At his trial in 1974, Poulson admitted that, shortly before receiving the Cannon Street building contract, he had given Tunbridge a cheque for £200 and a suit worth £80. Poulson was later found guilty of corruption charges and was given a seven-year concurrent sentence; Tunbridge received a 15-month suspended sentence and £4,000 fine for his role in the affair.

All that now remains of the original station architecture are the twin 120 ft (37 m) red-brick towers at the country-end and parts of the low flanking walls.In 1974, the station was closed for five weeks from 2 August to 9 September to enable alterations to be made to the track and the approaches to London Bridge to be resignalled. Traffic was diverted to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Blackfriars. On 4 March 1976, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb of about 10 lb (4.5 kg) exploded on an empty commuter train leaving Cannon Street, injuring eight people on another train travelling alongside.

On 15 February 1984, it was reported in The Times that Cannon Street would close. At the time, the station had been closed for weekends and evenings, and the publication of British Rail's new timetable for 1984–1985 revealed that it would lose all its direct off-peak services to the south-east. Services from Sevenoaks, Orpington, Hayes, Dartford, Sidcup, Bexleyheath, Woolwich, Lewisham and Greenwich would instead terminate at London Bridge except during peak hours. This was denied by British Rail (Southern)'s manager David Kirby, who pointed out that it had invested £10 million in redecking the railway bridge, and that passengers travelling from the south-east during off-peak hours would most likely be visiting the West End and not the City.

In 1986, the station's twin towers, which had been Grade II listed in 1972, were restored in a project costing £242,000 (now £2,930,000). The works revealed that the east tower still contained a large water tank which was used during the days of steam traction to replenish locomotives and to power the station's hydraulic systems. The brickwork was repaired, cleaned and repointed, and the weather vanes gilded to complement the dome of nearby St Paul's Cathedral. This work was one of the Railway Heritage Trust's first projects and coincided with an exhibition held in the station in August of the same year to mark its 150th anniversary.

In the 1980s, there was another property boom and British Rail again began looking into further commercial uses of the Cannon Street landspace, including 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of office space. The air rights over the platforms to the rear of Poulson's office were sold to Speyhawk which appointed Bovis Construction to build a free-standing structure comprising two office blocks on a 6,000 tonne steel deck constructed over the station's eight platforms.[6] The Cannons Club, a sports club, was founded beneath the station's arches around this time, and quickly became one of the most prestigious squash clubs in the country. InterCity, the high-speed arm of British Rail, subsequently sponsored the National Squash Championships and National Squash Challenge.

The larger office block, the "Atrium building", provides 190,000 sq ft (18,000 m2) of office space on six floors and is linked to the smaller building, the "River building", via a glazed link raised through a central glazed atrium. The River building, which has two storeys, is built on the steel deck and contained within the station's two flank walls, which were rebuilt, providing 95,000 sq ft (8,800 m2) of office space. This building projects slightly beyond the restored twin towers which form the riverside boundary to the development.[40] The Atrium building was later let to the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe). The River building has a 1 acre (0.40 ha) roof garden. The project cost around £500,000 and was laid to comply with planning restrictions which required the building to be low and flat to maintain the sight lines from St Paul's to Tower Bridge.

Planning permission was granted in March 2007 to replace the Poulson building, with a new air rights building designed by Foggo Associates. Hines, the US developer, led a £360 million project involving the demolition of Poulson's office block, replacing it with a mixed-use development containing more than 400,000 sq ft (37,000 m2) of office space alongside 17,000 sq ft (1,600 m2) of station retail space.The redevelopment was part of a larger regeneration programme undertaken by Network Rail to modernise and "unlock the commercial potential" of the main London termini; Euston and London Bridge were also redeveloped. Network Rail's director of commercial property said that the finished station would be "less congested and more accessible for passengers."[43] Cannon Street won the award for "Major Station of the Year" at the 2013 National Rail Awards.

In January 2015, the station's opening hours were extended to 0500–0100 Monday to Sunday (prior to this, the station had been closed on Sundays and during the evenings), and several services which previously terminated at Charing Cross were diverted to Cannon Street as a result of Thameslink Programme works. Some of these services will revert to terminating at Charing Cross following the completion of the works, while services from the Greenwich line and from New Cross and St Johns will permanently run to Cannon Street due to the removal of the Spa Road Junction.