LONDON

ROUTE 5 – ARNOS GROOVE

It’s the end of January and it’s a sunny Sunday – why not going and take some pictures. Well, I do – we do. We dress up, put on our sunglasses despite the fact that I cannot see through, but style must be present. Looking forward to the walk – as this time I cheat and walk several kilometres instead of taking the underground.

Arnos Groove Platform

We finally get out – realizing within a second that it seemed warm just from the inside, but there’s no turning back now: we have our sunglasses on… So, we walk. We pass the bride discussing how cold we are, we stroll through the park with a strong intention to go home immediately – we had enough. Then we stay. If all the snowdrops could make it out, we won’t give up either. We walk a bit more, I take some pictures of what people here would call as nature, but what in fact is a pathetic sewer surrounded by some trees and, of course the sign warning you about a deathly danger in case you dare to go in. Well, good luck with that…

There are some dogs around, none of them are friendly, and some people spending some ‘quality time’ together, which is more of a ‘must be done on Sunday’ kind of thing. What I like though, is this old lady pushing her sweet little doggy in a pram, dressed like a baby. It certainly is to her… Reaching the viaduct I get over excited about the sight, as one can catch the tube passing by in its whole glory.  Tom is sitting and laughing on a bench as I fail to capture the scene. I probably look crazy running up and down, trying to climb a tree not much higher than I am. I got upset. He makes an awkward joke.

We leave. He holds me, so I can lean back and photograph the viaduct with the sky. We agree on taking up playing tennis. Then we find the most disgusting façade of the decade – yellow outlines. Then there’s the station. I don’t like this area; however it blends well with the Saturday blue. Two teenagers are fooling around at the entrance – I let them believe they are my models. They seem to enjoy it. I tell Tom that the bus station is confusing here. He agrees.

Inside the hall we read about the history of the London Transport, we learn that the station opened in 1932. We also learn that Charles Holden introduced a new architectural approach to the tube’s design and created a unified characteristic style for it. Another fact we find out that Arnos Groove was the first of the new Piccadilly line stations to employ a complete cylindrical drum for the booking hall. ‘Spacious and well proportioned, Arnos Groove is perhaps the purest example of Holden’s classic style.’ Fascinating, but still ugly, though. It’s somewhat touching how boring and visually disturbing is something that used to be a grandiose idea and epoch-making intention. Like, for example, the upholstery pattern of the tube seats was of a great design once, yet today – with all due respect, it’s just dull.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I understand the remarkable achievement of Holden’s and his companions’. I am just wondering how ideas, styles and concepts change through time. How design transforms itself and how its perception is altered. But it’s still the same great design, we just moved on. We go home by the tube – so it’s not that much of a cheating at last. It was a grumpy, yet memorable journey…

 

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