Going to Tottenham Court Road, it’s the future, rather than the past, which seems most apparent. It’s one of the most visible Crossrail sites in the capital – there is a massive great hole in the road where the new station and tunnelling is taking shape. The tube station is also being redeveloped to cope with both increased demands on existing lines as well as to incorporate an interchange with the new Crossrail station and the additional passengers that will generate
The station first opened on 30th July 1900 on the Central London Railway. When the precursor to the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line arrived, the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway arrived in 1907, its platforms were called ‘Oxford Street’ until a link between the two lines opened in 1908 and they were both unified under the Tottenham Court Road name.
The development of Centre Point in the 1960s put paid to the original Northern Line station building. The Central Line one has all but been demolished in the Crossrail works. What I am really glad has been preserved are the impressive and colourful mosaics by Italian architect Eduardo Paolozzi, put up in the station platforms and corridors during the 1980s.
The Pub: The Intrepid Fox, 15 St Giles High Street, WC2H 8LQ
Sadly the pub I visited here, The Intrepid Fox, is not long of this world. It is due to close on 1st April before a redevelopment of the Centre Point area into new housing. However given I’ve enjoyed many a trip here, I thought it only right for it to feature on the crawl! It is located just south of Centre Point on St. Giles High Street
The exterior of the Fox is hardly an oil painting by anyones standards thanks to being based in one of the grim buildings that flank Centre Point. You get a feel for the vibe of the place by the dark tinted windows and red goblin type creature above the front door. The interior is pretty unique and makes it clear you are in a rock/goth rock pub. Decorations on the wall include skull and crossbones, a ball and chain and ghostly cobwebs behind the bar. There isn’t any ale on tap here but to be fair, it’s not really the sort of place you come for a pint of Old Speckled Hen.
What I’ve always liked about the Fox is it attracts a diverse mix of people, from metalheads who fit right in to more suited types from nearby offices. I certainly don’t fall into the first category but have always felt welcome here. They do sometimes play 80s/early 90s rock which does help! There are often metal gigs upstairs too. In addition to a quiz machine, there is also a suitably named Pinball Table called ‘Scared Stiff.’
The Intrepid Fox does also remain the only pub in London I’ve ever been thrown out of. It was due to a legitimate grievance a friend of mine had with someone causing trouble and we were all ejected by default. There were no hard feelings on my part and we have been back countless times since – it was often a stop when taking round friends of mine visiting London.
I was really sad when the redevelopment of the site was confirmed last summer. The Fox has moved before though, it was based in Soho until the end of 2006. I certainly hope it relocates nearby. In the meantime get down here before its doors here for the last time!