Liverpool Street / Broadgate
Liverpool Street Station, the terminus of the Great Eastern Railway, was opened in 1874 - the last of London's great mainline stations to be completed. Its lines radiate to much of North East London and Essex, and out to Cambridge, Ipswich, Harwich and Norwich. On an adjacent site to the west was Broad Street, a smaller station that served as the City end of the North London Railway from Richmond, via Hampstead.
Times change. Liverpool Street was not even a hundred years old before a massive and badly needed refurbishment scheme was under way. It took several years but the result was worthwhile. What used to be an ugly, cramped, confusing and airless rabbit warren of a station is now a smart, light and airy construction boasting split-level shopping malls and huge areas of glass. The refurbishment has transformed one of London's most unpleasant rail termini into one of its best.
Broad Street has undergone a far more radical transformation. The station, its goods yards and its environs have been swept away and in its place is the new Broadgate development - one of inner London's boldest new precincts and a prime example of what can happen to a derelict site if enough money is spent on it. Broadgate, covering several blocks, is a complex of office buildings and piazzas surrounding a central circular paved area. The whole complex has been designed and built to a very high standard and is a riot of concrete, steel, glass and greenery. The development extends to and includes Exchange Square, built over the Liverpool Street rail lines to the east. The circular piazza can be used as an ice rink. During the week the place fairly buzzes, particularly at lunchtimes and on summer evenings when office workers are entertained by open air musical events and street theatre. At weekends, however, the entire complex is deserted and eerily silent. I took these photos one Saturday morning.