The end of the Railway

By Pete Scully in London, UK

the railway, edgware

This is the Railway Hotel in Edgware, at the topmost end of the Northern Line in London. It’s not actually a hotel, it is a pub with a carvery restaurant above it. Haha, why am I saying ‘is’ – it used to be a pub. It has been closed down for years now, boarded up and left empty, one of the most interesting buildings on Station Road just left for the mice. Locally it’s just called the Railway (it’s not actually a railway) and was built in 1936 around the time that Edgware and other suburban areas of London were experience growth due to the expansion of the London Underground a decade before (the term ‘Metro-Land’ was used to describe these areas, enticing people to move out there).  Big buildings such as this were thrown up in the Mock-Tudor style in these burgeoning and now-connected suburbs, to emphasize the ‘rural’ appeal of suburbia. Edgware itself goes back centuries, its name being Saxon in origin and meaning ‘Ecgi’s Weir’, and is on the historic and vital Roman Road of Watling Street (actually called Edgware Road from here to central London; you’ve seen Edgware Road on the tube map, it is miles away). There are some genuinely historic buildings here, one around the corner being an old tavern that the famed highwayman Dick Turpin is rumoured to have stayed at. Right across the street from the Railway is St.Margaret’s Church, whose tower dates from the 15th century, with the building dating from the 18th century. And while it’s not particularly historic, George Michael’s dad used to own a restaurant a few doors down from here called Mr. Jack’s. The Railway Hotel may not be so old, but it was beloved locally. I remember the pub being a nice, warm place, friendlier than many other more raucous pubs nearby (and there were a few). I remember going to that carvery restaurant for my friend Terry’s 18th birthday, all those years ago. Some nice memories here. I grew up not far from here in Burnt Oak, and Terry and I walked past the Railway every day on our way to Edgware School. In those days, you thought big old buildings like this would last forever.
I sketched this on Christmas Eve, as big red buses poured by and last-minute Christmas shoppers converged on Sainsbury’s (here’s a tip – Sainsbury’s at 3:30pm on the day before Christmas isn’t fun). I don’t think the Railway will re-open. It is apparently not a Listed Building, and so the ever hungry ‘Developers’ are likely to erase it and build something much less interesting. Goodbye, all the old pubs.

By: Urban Sketchers
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

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