Kensington Olympia

Kensington Olympia may be one of the oldest stations on the network, but it is now only served by the District Line at weekends, bar one token weekday service.

It began life as Addison Road on 1st July 1864, with a service linking up to what is now Ladbroke Grove(but was at the time called Notting Hill). You can see the link up between Addison Road and what is now the Hammersmith and City/Circle Lines as can be seen in this early Harry Beck era map from 1938, alongside the now closed Uxbridge Road. This northern link closed in 1940 and did not reopen after the war with the underground platform stations simply becoming the link for a shuttle from Earls Court.

When I first moved to London, the shuttle service was still operating daily. Since December 2011 this has now been pared back and only runs at weekends and special exhibitions at Olympia only.

It has now been uncovered that the mainline station would have played a pivotal role were nuclear attack during the Cold War imminent, as it was to be where the selected Government Civil Servants would board the trains to take them to the Government’s underground bunker in Wiltshire. Read more here.

The Pub: The Albion, 121 Hammersmith Road, W14 0QL

Given the lack of mid week tube service to the station, we elected to walk from Hammersmith. As we were nearing the station, the bright lights of The Albion pub beckoned us.  Now to me this was an omen, as I had just found out Gus Poyet was staying as Brighton Manager, so it was an obvious choice to celebrate!

Upon arriving, it didn’t disappoint. The pub had a vibrant atmosphere and good contemporary décor – nice spiral staircase and open fire. It also had a fine selection of ales and the London Pride tasted particularly good here.

The walls were decorated with photos of music stars, perhaps given the proximity to Earls Court. I particularly liked the advert I’ve included in the gallery for a Led Zeppelin gig – Zeppelin Rail – suggesting getting there by train. Given this was probably during the 1970s, a very early example of a sustainable transport plan?

The pub also had an upstairs bar, this wasn’t staffed on our visit. All in all, The Albion is a top pub and I’ll be looking for reasons to come back to the area in order to pop in!

(At the time of writing, their website is down)


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