Happy 180th birthday to London Bridge Station

Happy 180th birthday to London Bridge Station

London Bridge is 180 years old – Passengers invited to find out more about the fascinating history of London’s oldest station

A pop-up exhibition charting the 180-year history of London’s oldest railway station is taking place at London Bridge station this December.

The special event, organised by Network Rail in partnership with Southeastern, celebrates the 180th anniversary of Britain’s fourth busiest station and highlights the major redevelopment due for completion in 2018 – the most transformational in the station’s long and rich history – as part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme.

London Bridge opened to the public as part of the London and Greenwich Railway on 14 December 1836, six months before Queen Victoria took to the throne. It has undergone many changes in the years since. From 5 December until Christmas, passengers and the public can learn more about this fascinating history through the exhibition, which charts the station’s evolution from pioneering railway terminus to major 21st century transport hub.

Andrew Hutton, Network Rail’s Lead Development Manager, London Bridge, said: “This is a momentous milestone for London Bridge and very timely as the station enters the final stages of redevelopment, as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. London Bridge is the gateway to London and a catalyst for growth across the Southwark area; Network Rail is proud to play such a crucial part in 180 years of history.”

David Statham, Southeastern’s Managing Director, said: “We’re proud to be custodians of a railway built in an age when trains transformed more than travel. When the first commuter line opened 180 years ago on our network, it brought social mobility, standardised time, and even saw people’s eating habits change as fresh produce was brought in from Kent and fish from the coast. Today our services are still enablers of change for the communities we serve and we’re working closely with Network Rail on the redevelopment of London Bridge so we can give even more of our passengers’ better connections, now and in the future.”

London Bridge has always been a busy station and continues to adapt to meet growing demand for rail travel in the capital. The exhibition will reflect upon the ambition and competitive spirit that characterised the development of London’s railway and provide a window on the future as major redevelopment takes place.

Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, Collections and Research, National Railway Museum, said: “We are delighted to be associated with the celebrations marking 180 years of the capital’s first railway. Our collections and those of the Science Museum include images of the original station and an early train on the line. They also include a diary of one of the workers on the line, the latter being a very early example of an eyewitness account ‘from the shop floor’.  Col. Landman, the man who engineered the line would surely be proud that his work is still heavily used, and is a key part of London’s network in the 21st century.”

Network Rail has also teamed up with children’s charity Barnardo’s, which celebrated its own 150 year anniversary this year, to raise money for vulnerable children and young people.

Bridget Dawson, Corporate Relationship Manager, Barnardo’s, said: “We are delighted to take part in the London Bridge 180th anniversary activities as Barnardo’s and Network Rail launch our Charity of Choice Partnership. All funds raised during these celebrations will go directly towards the vital work we provide through our children’s services. Over the next two years Barnardo’s and Network Rail will be working together so that no child makes their journey alone. Our Partnership will be focusing on caring for communities in and around the railways, with a particular focus on social deprivation issues such as safety, education and employment.”


Notes to editors:

The exhibition to celebrate London Bridge’s 180 years of history will run from 5 – 23 December.

National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum’s collection, the largest in the world, includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.

For more information visit nrm.org.uk.


To find out more about the Barnardo’s and Network Rail partnership please visit networkrail.co.uk/charities

Search ‘believe in me’ believeinme.barnardos.org.uk

About Thameslink Programme

The Thameslink Programme is  transforming north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:

  • New longer and more spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London in the peak
  • Improved connections and better options to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network including Cambridge and Peterborough
  • More robust tracks and state-of-the art signalling and more reliable trains to make journeys more reliable
  • Completely rebuilt stations at Blackfriars and London Bridge