Wednesday 7 May 2008

Swiss Cottage - formerly The Swiss Tavern

Swiss Cottage is one of the significant landmarks of London - not least because it is the traffic landmark for many people arriving in London. Certainly when travelling down to see aunts and grandparents as a young boy, we knew we were close when we got to Swiss Cottage.

Now the main landmark is the pub and the tube station - I was discussing yesterday with a friend whether anyone actually lives in 'swiss cottage'. It's also an administrative district for elections - Swiss Cottage Ward in Camden - but as a residential area...

In the Swiss Cottage ward many people consider themselves to live in West Hampstead, South Hampstead, Primrose Hill - the actually definition of Swiss Cottage as a geographic area is very small.

Now Swiss Cottage tube station is a London Underground station at Swiss Cottage. It is on the Jubilee Line, between Finchley Road and St. John's Wood. It is in Travelcard Zone 2.

This picture captures what I think is the great 20s/30s architecture of the tube station escalator... it's really stunning and has actually been well matched by the modern architecture of much of the rest of the jubilee line (esp. at Westminster Station).

Opened on November 20, 1939 on the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo Line, Swiss Cottage station was transferred to the Jubilee Line in 1979. The station was originally called The Swiss Tavern (after the pub which is early 19th century), but was soon changed to Swiss Cottage.

Swiss Cottage has always been a major transport hub and in the early 19th century saw a couple of parliamentary bills on the Finchley Road toll road (1835).

The Victoria County History records this in full:
"Omnibuses routes were pushed farther north with the spread of building and opening of suburban railway stations after 1855. By 1880 they not only stretched along Kilburn High Road to Brondesbury but also served Kilburn and West Hampstead by way of Abbey Road and the area north of Swiss Cottage by way of Finchley Road as far as Finchley Road station. Later omnibuses were extended along Finchley Road to meet others from Edgware Road along West End Lane, continuing north to Childs Hill in Hendon."

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