Cathedrals of Steam

How London’s Great Stations Were Built – And How They Transformed the City

Christian Wolmar

RRP: £25.00

5 November 2020

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781786499202

RRP: £10.99

5 November 2020

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781786499219

London hosts a dozen major railway stations, more than any comparable city. King’s Cross, St Pancras, Euston, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo, London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street – these great terminuses are the hub of London’s transport system and their growth, decline and epic renewal has determined much of the capital’s character.

Each of these stations has a story to tell. Built between 1836 and 1900 by competing private railway companies seeking to outdo one another, the construction of these increasingly impressive terminuses involved tremendous upheaval and had an immediate impact on their surroundings. What were once called ‘slums’ were demolished, green spaces and cemeteries were concreted over, and vast marshalling yards, engine sheds and carriage depots sprung up in their place.

In a compelling and dramatic narrative, Christian Wolmar traces the development of these magnificent cathedrals of steam, reveals how they transformed the capital and explores the evolution of the stations and the city up to the present day.