The Art Deco Euston Station That Never Was

The Art Deco Euston Station That Never Was

Everyone knows the Victorian Euston station was bulldozed to make way for a controversial 1960s  replacement. But in this extract from London's Great Railway Stations, we learn the old station was actually supposed to be ousted by an American art deco dreamboat of a design.

A vintage image of the Queens hotel in leeds
Not Euston, but the Queens' Hotel in Leeds — the closest thing we'll get to seeing LMS's art deco London train station

By the time it was celebrating Euston's centenary in 1937, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) had announced new plans to rebuild its main London station, using a government loan guarantee.

An architect's perspective was released showing a giant American-influenced building in monumental art deco style, which would combine station facilities, railway offices and even a heliport on the roof.

Unlike London Transport, who had moved fast with new tube extensions and stations funded in the same way in the 1930s, the LMS only managed to build a chunky new nine-storey art deco-ish head office building to house 1,300 of its own admin staff at Euston in 1934. But nothing to improve the travelling experience of passengers.

Euston House, the only part of the new station complex that was ever built. Image: Oxyman in Creative Commons

The office block, named Euston House, still stands just east of the station on Eversholt Street, but is no longer a railway property. War broke out before any work on the grand new terminus scheme had even started.

an artists impression of the 1960s euston we ended up with
What we ended up with.

A smaller-scale version of what a 1930s-style Euston might have been like can still be experienced at Leeds station, where the LMS in-house architect William Henry Hamlyn designed the Queens Hotel with a stylish new station entrance concourse alongside, all opened in 1938.

London's Great Railway Stations by Oliver Green & Benjamin Graham, published by Frances Lincoln, RRP £35

Last Updated 16 November 2021