Cannon Street station

Cannon Street station

London stations
name = London Cannon Street

caption = Cannon Street
manager = Network Rail
zone = 1
locale = Cannon Street
borough = City of London
start = 1 September 1866
platforms = 7
railcode = CST
latitude = 51.5104
longitude = -0.09077
railexits0405 = 17.460
railexits0506 = 17.614
railexits0607 = 21.106

Cannon Street is a National Rail and London Underground station complex in the City of London, the financial district of London in England. It is built on the site of the medieval Steelyard, the trading base in England of the Hanseatic League. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.

National Rail

This is a terminal station approached across the River Thames by the Cannon Street Railway Bridge and having entrances from Cannon Street and Dowgate Hill. Its approach by rail is by a triangular connection to both London Bridge and Charing Cross. There were originally eight platforms: a refurbishment in the late 1990s removed the original Platform 1.

Cannon Street is one of seventeen UK railway stations managed by Network Rail.


Original structure

Opened by the South Eastern Railway on 1 September 1866, the original station building was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and J.W. Barry and was characterised by its two Wren-style towers, convert|23|ft|m|abbr=on square and convert|135|ft|m|abbr=on high, which faced on to the River Thames. The towers supported a convert|700|ft|m|abbr=on long iron train shed crowned by a high single arch, almost semicircular, of glass and iron. To this was joined in 1867 an Italianate style hotel and forecourt designed by E.M. Barry which provided much of the station's passenger facilities as well as an impressive architectural frontispiece to the street. This arrangement was very similar to that put in place at Charing Cross. The station is carried on a brick viaduct over Upper Thames Street. Below this viaduct there are remains of a number of Roman buildings, which form a scheduled ancient monument. Barry's five-storey "City Terminus Hotel" underwent two changes of name: first to "Cannon Street Hotel", and later, as an office block, to "Southern House".

War years

From 5-28 June 1926 the Southern Railway carried 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. [cite news|title=Cannon Street Station Reopened|work=The Times|date=June 29, 1926]

The station, which had been subject to structural neglect prior to the Second World War, suffered extensive bomb damage and was hit by several incendiary devices which damaged the roof. A high explosive also hit no. 8 platform. [cite news|title=London Termini Bomb Damage|work=The Times|date=November 19, 1943] The original glass roof had been removed before the war in an attempt to save it. Unfortunately the factory in which the roof was stored was itself badly bombed, destroying the roof.


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 prime target for property developers.

Various plans were mooted for the reconstruction of Cannon Street Station, from the installation of a new ticket hall and concourse under Southern House in 1955 as part of British Rail's , to the construction of a car park [cite news|title=Rebuilding of Cannon Street Station|work=The Times|date=November 17, 1955] and even a helipad [cite news|title=First Choice for Helicopter Site|work=The Times|date=March 3, 1962] . In 1962 the British Transport Commission entered into an agreement with Town & Country Properties Ltd for the construction of a multi-storey office building above the station totalling convert|154000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. The cost of the development was £2.35 million and it was scheduled for completion by June 1965. [cite news|title=Big New Buildings Over Two London Termini|work=The Times|date=March 22, 1962]

In preparation for redevelopment the remains of the once magnificent train shed roof had been demolished in 1958, and Barry's hotel (which had been used as offices since 1931) soon followed in 1960. [cite book|last=Weinreb|first=Ben|title=The London Encyclopaedia|publisher=Papermac|date=1983|location=London|pages=112|isbn=0333300246.] 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. At his trial in 1974 he admitted that shortly before receiving the Cannon Street building contract, he had given Tunbridge a cheque for £200 and a suit worth £80. [cite news|title=John Poulson tells of gifts to rail man|work=The Times|date=1974-01-15] 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. [cite news|title=Seven-year concurrent sentence on Mr Poulson|work=The Times|url=|date=1974-03-16]

Poulson's building is remarked as being one of the most ugly of all station buildings in Britain, turning what was once a fine building into a hideous monstrosity. All that now remains of the original station architecture are the twin convert|120|ft|m|abbr=on red-brick towers at the country end and parts of the low flanking walls.

Modern era

In 1974 the station closed for five weeks from 2 August-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. [cite news|title=Cannon Street station closing for five weeks|work=The Times|date=1974-07-29] On 4 March 1976 a Provisional Irish Republican Army 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. Had the bomb exploded 13 minutes earlier it would have caused widespread carnage as the train had been carrying commuters on the 7.49 from Sevenoaks. [cite news|title=Thirteen minutes saved hundreds on the 7.49 from Sevenoaks|work=The Times|date=1976-03-05]

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. [cite news|title=Cannon Street rail station 'close to closure'|work=The Times|date=1984-02-15] This was denied by British Rail which pointed out that it had invested £10m 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. [cite news|title=Letters to the Editor, David Kirby|work=The Times|date=1984-02-22]

In 1986 the station's twin towers, which had been Grade II listed in 1972, were restored in a £242,000 project. The works revealed that the east tower still contained a large water tank which was used during the days of steam to replenish locomotives and to power the station hydraulic systems. The brickwork was repaired, cleaned and repointed, and the weathervanes guilded 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. [cite news|title=Restoration at Cannon Street|work=The Times|date=1985-12-02]

The 1980s also saw another property boom and British Rail again began looking into further commercial uses of the Cannon Street landspace. 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 and above Cannon Sports Centre, a sports club which opened beneath Cannon Street's arches in 1981. The works involved complex piling operations whereby 450 tripod piles were bored to depths of 30 metres below the station in order to support the steel deck.

The larger office block, the "Atrium building", provides convert|190000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. of office space on six floors and is 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 two station flank walls, which were rebuilt, providing convert|95000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. of office space. This building would project slightly beyond the restored twin towers which form the riverside boundary to the development. [cite news|title=Construction Contracts: Building Over Busy Station|work=Financial Times|date=1989-03-06] The Atrium building was later let to Liffe. The River building has a roof garden covering about an acre which cost about £500,000 and was laid in order to comply with planning restrictions which required the building to be low and flat in order to maintain the sight lines from St Pauls to Tower Bridge. [cite news|title=City garden feels the frost|work=The Times|date=1991-11-27]

Cannon Street was the scene of the Cannon Street rail incident on 8 January 1991 when a train hit the buffers leaving 2 dead and 248 injured.


Planning permission was granted in March 2007 to replace the Poulson building, with a new air rights building designed by Foggo Associates. [ [ Architects Journal, 21 March 2007] ] Hines, the US developer, will lead a £360 million project involving the demolition of Poulson's office block, replacing it with a mixed-use development containing more than convert|400000|sqft|m2|abbr=on of office space alongside convert|17000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. of station retail space. The redevelopment is part of a larger regeneration programme undertaken by Network Rail to modernise and "unlock the commercial potential" of the main London termini; both Euston and London Bridge will also be redeveloped. Speaking of the plans for Cannon Street, Network Rail's director of commercial property said that "the finished station will be less congested and more accessible for passengers." [cite news|title=Cannon Street to lead revamp of stations |work=The Times|date=2007-04-06]


The station connects the south side of the City to south and south east London via London Bridge rail station. Some services run directly into Cannon Street from Kent and East Sussex, but only during rush hours. Occasionally during the weekends when track maintenance is in progress, the station serves as an intermediate station between London Bridge and Charing Cross. Either trains reverse at the station or rail passengers change trains here. The station is closed on Sundays, except when engineering works close Charing Cross station and services are diverted to Cannon Street instead.


London Underground

The London Underground station is a sub-surface station, situated immediately below the mainline station. It is served by the District and Circle lines. Entrances are located on Cannon Street, Dowgate Hill, and on the main-line concourse upstairs at the mainline station, providing an interconnection for commuters. A station here was part of the unrealised phase two expansion of the Fleet Line.

The Underground station is open Mondays to Fridays until 20:58 each day and Saturdays from 07:31 to 19:29. It is closed all day on Sundays.


By 1876, the Metropolitan Railway (MR) and Metropolitan District Railway (MDR) had constructed the majority of the Inner Circle (now the Circle Line), reaching Aldgate and Mansion House respectively. The companies were in dispute over the completion of the route as the MDR was struggling financially and the MR was concerned that completion would affect its revenues through increased competition from the MDR in the City area. City financiers keen to see the line completed, established the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Railway in 1874 to link Mansion House to Aldgate. Forced into action, the MR bought-out the company and it and the MDR began construction of the final section of the Inner Circle in 1879.

On 6 October 1884, the final section of the Inner Circle was opened along with Cannon Street station. Initially the station was served by trains from both companies as part of circular Inner Circle service but various operational patterns have been used during the station's life. The Inner Circle service achieved a separate identity as the Circle Line in 1949 although its trains were still provided by the District or Metropolitan Lines.

The station was reconstructed at the same time as the main line station above.


Abandoned Plans

ee also

*Cannon Street rail incident
*Cannon Street


External links

* [ London Transport Museum Photographic Archive]
**ltmcollection|49/9889749.jpg|Underground station, 1896
**ltmcollection|61/9889861.jpg|Underground station and Cannon Street Hotel, 1916
**ltmcollection|70/9872970.jpg|Booking hall, 1928
**ltmcollection|25/995125.jpg|Underground station entrance, 1939
**ltmcollection|51/9866051.jpg|Main line and Underground station entrances, 1974
* [ Station information] on Cannon Street railway station from Network Rail

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