TALES OF THE VAULTS: A HISTORY - PART 1

Written by Emma


PART 1 - TIMES OF CHAOS


The Waterloo area took its name from the Battle of Waterloo, a battle that we French know pretty well, as it marked the defeat of Napoleon. It also marked the end of a dream where the French would have run Europe. Instead, the defeated emperor was placed in exile on the Island of Sainte-Hélène where he could spend the rest of his life thinking about his sins and the effects of his disproportioned ambition under the sun, close to the beach...


Waterloo Station first opened in 1848, linking Waterloo to the North Bank. As platforms were added to the original structure, more as a result of an extended usage than a preconceived plan, the situation got messy. Here is how Jerome K Jerome described it in "Three Men in a boat" (1889):


We got to Waterloo at eleven, and asked where the eleven-five started from. Of course nobody knew; nobody at Waterloo ever does know where a train is going to start from, or where a train when it does start is going to, or anything about it.


Luckily, for all Londoners, the station is rebuilt and renamed (Waterloo and City at that time) in 1898, with much improved services. It was not the end of troubled times for the Waterloo station though...