Which Tube Station Is Furthest From Its Namesake?

By M@ Last edited 7 months ago

Last Updated 04 November 2023

Which Tube Station Is Furthest From Its Namesake?
Mansion House tube station with old signs

This is Mansion House station. It distinguishes itself by (a) habouring the most unsightly, over-punctuated sign in the Square Mile; and (b) being the third closest station to the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor could get home quicker via either Bank or Cannon Street.

Misnamed it may be, but Mansion House station is still only 275 metres from the actual Mansion House. Are there other tube stations that are even more distant from their namesakes?

Why yes. Quite a few.

Champ of them all has to be Harrow & Wealdstone. The station is most assuredly within Harrow, but the Wealdstone part of the name is charitable. The actual Weald Stone, an ancient lump of rock outside the Bombay Central, is a 1.5km slog north of the station.

Wealdstone sign

Of course, Wealdstone is also the name of a district (which takes its name from the original Weald Stone). They even have a reasonably nice sign. So you could argue that we're being facetious. The station is within, or very close to, the area known as Wealdstone, so its name is perfectly valid. And you'd be right. This highlights one of the problems in trying to identify London's least accurate station name. But we'll press ahead anyway, because it's sort-of fun.

Now, Google Maps has a very well-hidden measuring tool, which is useful for finding the "as the crow flies" distance between any two places. We've used it to compile the following top 10, in ever-decreasing distance.

Harrow & Wealdstone: 1500 metres from the station to the Weald Stone, as already discussed. Though a bit cheeky inclusion... as already discussed.
Totteridge and Whetstone: 1000 metres. Another 'stone' and another tricksy one. The station is up in Whetstone (near another ancient rock). The centre of Totteridge is about a kilometre away, but it kind of depends where you measure to.
Archway: 620 metres from the arched bridge (the original Archway) that carries Hornsey Lane over Archway Road. That's quite a way, but when you consider that Archway station was originally called Highgate, then it's definitely a nominative improvement.
Boston Manor: 610 metres from Boston Manor House, the Jacobean mansion that recently reopened to visitors.
Harrow-on-the-Hill: About 600 metres from the top of the hill, though you could argue it is technically "on" the hill, just lower down.
Kew Gardens: 398 metres from the station to the main entrance.
Royal Oak: 338 metres to the pub once called the Royal Oak, now the Porchester.
Arsenal: 302 metres from the tube to the Emirates. Or 14km if you want to make the case that it was originally named after Woolwich Arsenal.
Mansion House: 275 metres from the actual Mansion House
Upminster Bridge: 270 metres to the almost invisible bridge over the Ingrebourne.
Putney Bridge: 225 metres
Battersea Power Station: 216 metres from station to station.
Stepney Green: 214 metres to the road called Stepney Green, but 365 metres to the remaining bit of green itself.
Temple: 184 metres
St James's Park: 168 metres
Regent's Park: 167 metres
Chancery Lane: 156 metres. The original Chancery Lane station was much closer.
Marylebone: 130 metres. Not actually in Marylebone (assuming the cut off to be the A50), but not far away either.

Battersea Power Station station with the power station behind
Battersea Power Station and station... not all that far

Now, there are other cases to be made. You could argue (and you probably will, knowing you lot) that places like Stratford should be included. It's named after a ford across the River Lea, somewhere along what is now the A118. This must have been at least 800 metres from the station, but I haven't included it because (a) no one knows exactly where the ford was; and (b) the name has evolved so much that it's now decoupled from the idea of fording a river, unless you're deliberately playing with etymology. I've left off many other stations whose name originally suggested a ford, wood or other vanished feature, for similar reasons.

Someone else will bring up the oft-touted case of Clapham Junction, which is a mile or so from Clapham and actually in Battersea. Well, yeah, but it's not a tube station, so doesn't count here.

Oh, and let's not get started on Stratford International.

Images by Matt Brown