Coordinates: 51°28′38″N 0°17′07″W / 51.4771°N 0.2853°W / 51.4771; -0.2853

Kew Gardens station is a London Underground and National Rail station in Kew in south west London. It is the nearest station to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (located to the west) and The National Archives (to the north east) and is managed by London Underground. The station is served by both the District line and the London Overground services on the North London Line, and is situated midway between Gunnersbury and Richmond stations.

The main entrance to the station is located at the junction of Station Parade, Station Avenue and Station Approach about 100 yards (90 m) from Sandycombe Road (B353) and is about 500 yards (460 m) from the entrance to the Botanic Gardens and 600 yards (550 m) from The National Archives. The station can also be accessed from North Road, on the other side of the railway line; the two entrances are connected by a pedestrian subway. The station is in Travelcard Zones 3 and 4.

History

The station was opened by the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) on 1 January 1869, in an area of market gardens and orchards. The station was located on a new L&SWR branch line to Richmond built from the West London Joint Railway starting north of Addison Road station (now Kensington (Olympia)). The line ran through Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith via a now closed curve and Grove Road station (also now closed) in Hammersmith. Via a short connection from the North & South Western Junction Railway (N&SWJR) to Gunnersbury the line was also served by the North London Railway (NLR).

Between 1 June 1870 and 31 October 1870 the Great Western Railway (GWR) briefly ran services from Paddington to Richmond via Hammersmith & City Railway (now the Hammersmith & City Line) tracks to Grove Road then on the L&SWR tracks through Kew Gardens.

On 1 June 1877, the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District Line) opened a short extension from its terminus at Hammersmith to connect to the L&SWR tracks east of Ravenscourt Park station. The MDR then began running trains over the L&SWR tracks to Richmond. On 1 October 1877, the Metropolitan Railway (MR, now the Metropolitan Line) restarted the GWR's former service to Richmond via Grove Road station.

The MDR's service between Richmond, Hammersmith and central London was more direct than the NLR's route via Willesden Junction, the L&SWR's or the MR's routes via Grove Road station or the L&SWR's other route from Richmond via Clapham Junction. From 1 January 1894, the GWR began sharing the MR's Richmond service and served Kew Gardens once again, meaning that passengers from Kew Gardens could travel on the services of five operators.

Following the electrification of the MDR's own tracks north of Acton Town in 1903, the MDR funded the electrification of the tracks through Kew Gardens. The tracks on the Richmond branch were electrified on 1 August 1905. Whilst MDR services were operated with electric trains, the L&SWR, NLR, GWR and MR services continued to be steam hauled.

MR services were withdrawn on 31 December 1906 and GWR services were withdrawn on 31 December 1910, leaving operations at Gunnersbury to the MDR (by then known as the District Railway), the NLR and L&SWR. By 1916, the L&SWR's route through Hammersmith was being out-competed by the District to such a degree that the L&SWR withdrew its service between Richmond and Addison Road on 3 June 1916, leaving the District as the sole operator over that route.

Present

The two storey yellow brick station buildings are unusually fine examples of mid-Victorian railway architecture and are protected as part of the Kew Gardens conservation area. The station is one of the few remaining 19th century stations on the North London Line and had one of the last illuminated banner signals on the London Underground, possibly because of the footbridge. This signal was replaced by an electronic version in 2011.

The footbridge to the south of the station is also noteworthy and is Grade II listed in its own right. The railway line bisected Kew, but it was not until 1912 that the bridge was provided to allow residents to cross the tracks safely. It is a rare surviving example of a reinforced concrete structure built using a pioneering technique devised by the French engineer François Hennebique. The bridge has a narrow deck and very high walls, designed to protect its users' clothing from the smoke of steam trains passing underneath. It also has protrusions on either side of the deck to deflect smoke away from the bridge structure. It was restored in 2004 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Kew Gardens is the only station on the London Underground network that has a pub attached to it. 'The Railway' has a door (now closed) which leads out onto platform one.

In popular culture

Kew Gardens station appeared in the BBC comedy-drama Love Soup (2008) as the fictional "Hove West" station.

Transport links

London bus routes 65 (24 hours), 391 and 391.

Media

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Building Activity

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