- Date of Birth:
- Date of Death:
- 31 Aug 1908
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.
The interiors of stationsalso conformedto a uniform design. Green used concrete floors containing crushed granite, and shoulder-height bottle-green tiling on the walls. Above the tiling was a decorative dado of acanthus leaves or pomegranate in relief. The design of the wrought iron work on the lifts and the faience ticket windows showed that the Art Nouveau movement influenced Green. South Kensington Underground station has unique Art Nouveau cartouches between the arched windows that were specifically designed for this station.
Green also designed a District Railway transformer station at Pelham Street, South Kensington, and is believed to have supervised the construction of the Lots Road generating station at Chelsea.
By 1907 Green was under such pressure to complete all these stations simultaneously to a tight schedule, that it was having an adverse affect on his health. Because of ill health his contract was terminated. He became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in the same year.
Green died on 31 August 1908 from tuberculosis, less than a year after his stations opened. He was only 33 years old. In 2006 only three of his stations had statutory listed status. Nevertheless they are seen as symbolic of London, much like the Routemaster bus and Harry Beck's tube map. Green's work is very familiar to the travelling public in London: millions pass his designs every day.
Many of the stations survive, having withstood bombs and redevelopment. Holloway Road, Hampstead and Tufnell Park are examples of Green's Underground stations that remain virtually unchanged. Some of the above-ground station buildings such as Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo have been demolished to be modernised. Many of the other stations have been modified to some extent, but in stations such as Mornington Crescent and Edgware Road (Bakerloo line), great care has been taken to restore the tiling in the spirit of Green's original work.
What are these?
Social Bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser. Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice. Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking.