Aldgate Station opened on 18th November 1876. It had a variety of service patterns that have long since ceased, including providing a link to the East London Line and New Cross(which in turn was formerly classed as part of the Metropolitan Line in the 1980s), which can be seen on this classic tube map and also services that ran through to Richmond.
These days its serves as the city terminus of the Metropolitan Line as well as being on the fiddly central bit of the Circle Line where everything seems to grind to a halt for ages. Building wise, the station is impressive with a striking roof protecting you from the elements at platform level. There are also some classic signs at platform level too.
Aldgate Station was one of the locations where the 7th July 2005 suicide bombers struck – a bomb was detonated on a Circle line train that had left Liverpool Street and was heading to the station. The seven commuters killed are commemorated by a memorial plaque in the station ticket hall.
The Pub: The Hoop and Grapes, 47 Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AL
While Liverpool Street is only minutes away from Aldgate Station, you certainly get the feeling as you step out here as you are beginning to head out of town. The road is getting wider and the odd derelict/dilapidated office block comes into view – as seen in the gallery. Brick Lane and other East London haunts may only be a short distance away but it certainly doesn’t feel like it will be overrun by hipsters anytime soon.
The Hoop and Grapes is just across the road from the tube station. Given the transient feel of the immediate area, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. When you first enter,it feels like it’s going to be quite a small pub with just a main front room. In actual fact it stretches back a fair old way, as I hope the gallery shot indicates! It’s a Nicholson’s pub so you know what you’re getting on the ale front – Doombar, London Pride and Nicholson’s Own Pale Ale(now over one year old…).
The pub itself is decked out in traditional decor, with comfy red backed seats, glass partitions and wooden beams aplenty. According to the pub’s website, the Great Fire of London stopped 50 yards from the pub, meaning it is one of the few timber framed buildings from the period to survive. The walls are decorated with various photos/artwork of historic London. As we headed here towards the end of the evening, it was quietening down but there was still a fair crowd here.
As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by this pub. I’m not sure when I’ll next be round these parts but if you do find yourself within Aldgate’s vicinity, you could do far worse than pop in.