Green, Leslie

Date of Birth:
1875
Date of Death:
31 Aug 1908
Green, Leslie

Leslie Green was the architect of many of the early station buildings on the Northern, Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines. These lines were run by the Underground Electric Railways of London (U.E.R.L), established by Charles Tyson Yerkes. The separate lines needed to have a united public face, part of the U.E.R.L's standardisation programme to make them into a network. Green was commissioned to design 40 station buildings as a cohesive group. He chose the style known as Arts & Crafts Classical. The distinctive look of the stations, all clad in oxblood red glazed faience blocks, made them easily recognisable even in a busy metropolis.

Green was a Londoner, born in Maida Vale in 1875. He was the son of Crown Surveyor, Arthur C Green, and Emily Ann Green. Green began his career as his father's apprentice for two years after leaving Dover College.

He studied at the South Kensington Arts School and in Paris before setting up his own architectural practice in London in 1897. He was only 22 years old. It was in Paris that Green came into contact with Art Nouveau, a style that inspired much of his work.

He became a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (R.I.B.A) in 1899. Early commissions included the remodelling of 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, and the design of shops and chambers in St James's Street, Bury Street, and Haymarket.

In 1902 Green married Mildred. The couple had a daughter, Vera. The turning point in his career came when he was appointed architect to the U.E.R.L. in 1903 at the age of 28. This was a huge responsibility for the young architect, whose commissions until that point had been on a much smaller scale.

Green's task was to develop a consistent yet flexible style that could be used on sites of varying shapes and sizes, with different requirements. It is thought that he based his ideas on the Holborn Viaduct station designed by Lewis Isaacs in 1873.

The oxblood faience blocks produced a somewhat flamboyant effect. They were constructed around a load-bearing steel frame, which was a cheap and comparatively quick method of building the two-storey buildings. Shops and booking halls occupied the ground floor, while the lift equipment was housed on the first floor, behind the semi-circular windows. All the buildings were designed to allow further storeys to be built on them. Selling off the site for development, if required, was an important way of raising capital.

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