linocut, 1962

Liverpool Street Station was opened in 1874 as the London terminus for the East Anglian lines to Norwich and King’s Lynn, operated by the Great Eastern Railway. It was always conceived as a dual-level station, with the Metropolitan underground line commencing operation the following year. Expansion in 1895 led it to become the largest terminal station in London in terms of platform numbers (18).

Edward Bawden would have been no stranger to this station, given the area it served, and this 1962 linocut captures the grandeur of the vast train shed in the morning rush hour, with hundreds of commuters alighting and forming a queue for the ticket inspector. The atmospheric shafts of light penetrating the glass roof illuminate the plumes of smoke coming from the steam engines below. In 1962 operations were under the control of British Railways (British Rail only came into being in 1965) and the station would have been home to both steam and electric locomotives, during the transition from the former that was completed in 1968.

Bequest of Mr W R Sloman