Snow Hill station was opened by the London Chatham & Dover
Railway on 1 August 1874 on the existing City Line between Ludgate
Hill and Farringdon Street. It was renamed Holborn Viaduct Low
Level 1.5.1912. The main entrance was on the north side of the
viaduct consisting of a four storey building with a single storey
above viaduct level. The booking hall was at basement level
sandwiched between the road level and the trains below. A separate
entrance was provided on Snow Hill from where a footpath led
up to the east side of the station building. A covered way and
a flight of steps linked the Low Level and High Level Stations.
The entrance on Snow Hill in about 1901
|The station was never well used
and a census taken in 1911 showed there were fewer arrivals
than at any other city station.
After the station had closed, trains were occasionally diverted
by error into the Low Level platforms and access was initially
maintained from the High Level station. The station entrance
Viaduct had become a tobacconist's shop by 1926 and
the basement level was then in use as a warehouse. By 1938,
the Snow Hill entrance had been utilised to build a single
The 1940-1941 blitz flattened most of the block east of
the railway including the four storey station building leaving
just part of the station's basement floor level, with a
brick wall supported by the girders over the railway. These
remains were removed completely around 1955, in preparation
for roofing over the site prior to the building of a new
office block over the site in the early 1960's.
When the Greater London Council proposed to reopen
the City Line in 1984 the proposal included a new Snow Hill
station with a single island platform, to be sited between the
running lines at this point, somewhat north of the original
Snow Hill Station in April 1954 after the partial removal of
the bomb damaged station building
Photo by R C Riley
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LCDR's
The Metropolitan Extensions Act of 1860 gave the London Chatham
& Dover Railway access to the City, authorizing a 4.5 mile
line from Herne Hill across the river to join the Metropolitan
Railway at Farringdon Street.
The 'City Line' was far more than the Chatham could cope with
financially, but the possibilities for through traffic were
vast. To the north the G N R and the Midland could be reached
and to the south were the L B S C R and L S W R at Clapham Junction
from where the G W R and L N W R could be reached via the West
London Line. All these companies were approached to partake
financially and all eventually profited from the scheme gaining
the right to work trains to their own goods and coal depots
in South London.
The line from Herne Hill to the Elephant and Castle was opened
on 6 October 1862 and on to Blackfriars Bridge on 1 June 1864.
Intermediate stations were initially provided at Camberwell,
Walworth Road and Borough Road and later at Loughborough Junction.
The Thames was eventually bridged and by 21 December 1864 a
temporary station at Ludgate Hill was in use, a permanent station
being opened on 1st June 1865. It had two narrow island platforms
but the station was rebuilt in 1910 with a single broader island
On 1st January 1866, L C D R passenger trains began running
into the Metropolitan's Farringdon Street station and the connection
was soon carrying a wide variety of passenger and freight services.
Then, by an Act of 13 July 1871, the Chatham became committed
to yet another project. A nominally independent Holborn
Viaduct Station Company (for the bankrupt Chatham was not
allowed to raise capital) was authorized to build a 292 yard
branch from the Ludgate - Farringdon line to a new terminus,
complete with hotel, fronting on the new thoroughfare of Holborn
Viaduct. It was opened on 2nd March 1874.
On 1st August 1874 a low-level station, Snow Hill
('Holborn Viaduct Low Level' from 1912), was opened at the foot
of the 1 in 39 incline.
Snow Hill Station looking south in December 1985
by Nick Catford
Finally, on 10th May 1886 a parallel bridge across the Thames
was opened with, at the northern end, yet another new station,
St. Paul's, the original Blackfriars Bridge being closed. St.
Paul's was renamed Blackfriars on 1st February 1937. The existing
layout was completed when the South Eastern Railway opened the
Union Street spur on 1st June 1878 creating a through route
into Charing Cross.