Earl’s Court station first opened on 30th October 1871 on the Metropolitan District Railway. During its early years, a service known as the ‘Super Outer Circle’ operated between St Pancras to Earls Court, travelling via Cricklewood and South Acton. Unsurprisingly, given the distance involved, the service only lasted between 1878 and 1880.
The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway(now the Piccadilly Line) arrived here in December 1906. Shortly after that comes a piece of tube history I wished was true, but sadly no evidence seems to exist to back the story up. Earl’s Court was the site of the first escalators on the tube network, which were installed in 1911. The rumour went, and one that a particularly cheery District line driver recounted once on a train I was on via the PA, that Transport bosses hired a gentleman, Bumper Harris, to demonstrate the safe operation of the device to cautious Edwardian passengers. Rather regrettably for the whole endeavour, Bumper himself only had one leg. Sadly no evidence of this has been found by the London Transport Museum.
Earl’s Court(sub surface) station is particularly, especially following an extensive refurbishment in recent years. Another piece of tube history survives in the shape of the ‘next train’ indicators on the District Line platforms. These pre date the electronic dot-matrix displays and indicated, via the means of a lit up arrow, the destination of the next district line train.
The Pub: The Blackbird, 209 Earl’s Court Road, SW5 9AN
Exiting Earl’s Court station onto Earl’s Court Road, The Blackbird is a short distance away. Of note here is a mock up Police Box or TARDIS, for all you Doctor Who fans. It has been there for several years now so I assume it has something to do with the Doctor Who exhibition that has run at the Earl’s Court exhibition centre.
The Blackbird is a fairly smart Fullers pub with traditional decor. Given its location, it’s another tourist trap but feels more authentic than the other pubs dotted round there.
One thing that certainly rankled with me was the price, two pints of London Pride came to well over £8! I like a pint of Pride as much as the next man, but even I found that rather eye watering. We stumbled on a nice, if unintentional heritage touch. As you’ll see in the gallery, The Blackbird has a rather old school lift. I assume this is merely for access to the cellars, but I didn’t give it a try.
This is a decent, well maintained pub. But it is a bit steep, price wise! Unless you’re nearby, I wouldn’t advocate popping in..