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Edward Bawden On Liverpool St Station

November 20, 2023
by the gentle author

Jonathan Pryce will read my short story ‘On Christmas Day’ at the launch at Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston this Thursday 23rd November at 6:30pm.





Liverpool St Station by Edward Bawden


Please come to our free SAVE LIVERPOOL ST STATION campaign event at 6pm tomorrow, Tuesday 21st November, at Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4QH. No need to book, just come along. Speakers include Griff Rhys Jones, Eric Reynolds and Robert Thorne.




Edward Bawden made this huge linocut of a smoke-blackened Liverpool St in 1960. It extends to almost five feet in length, so long that to allow you to see the details of this epic work I must show it here in two panels. In order to print it, Bawden laid a board on top of the linocut and asked his students at the Royal College of Art to assist him by standing on top

When I first visited the station it was just like this and I remember it as a diabolic dark cathedral. As a one new to London, I arrived back from Cromer one Sunday on a late train after the tubes had closed and spent a terrifying night here, shivering on a bench. Sitting awake, I watched all through the small hours as the trucks rattled in and out of the station, racing down the slope onto the platforms, delivering newspapers and mail sacks to the waiting trains.

But as this print reveals, Edward Bawden had a keen eye for elegant nineteenth century ironwork and, even before it was cleaned up, he was alive to beauty of the station. Contemplating Liverpool St on the BBC television programme Monitor in 1963, he said “I think the ceiling is absolutely magnificent, it is one of the wonders of London.” And he knew it well, because for nearly sixty years – between 1930 and 1989 – he travelled regularly through the station, whenever he took the train back and forth between London and Braintree station, just one mile from his home at Brick House in Great Bardfield, Essex.

He is one of my favourite twentieth century British artists and the span of Edward Bawden’s career is almost as wide as the Liverpool St arches. After leaving the Royal College of Art, he began designing posters for London Transport in the nineteen twenties, then became a war artist in World War II and was busy creating prints and paintings, alongside murals, wallpapers, commercial illustration and design, right up until the late eighties. I particularly admire his unique bold sense of line that gave an unmistakably appealing graphic quality to everything he touched.


9 Responses leave one →
  1. Arabella permalink
    November 20, 2023


  2. Greg T permalink
    November 20, 2023

    I trust you are aware that “Private Eye” has made the Liverpool St smash-up & destruction the main item in their “Nooks & Corners” ( Of the new barbarism ) slot, this week?

  3. Martin lightfoot permalink
    November 20, 2023

    Edward Bawdens comment on the iron work ceiling of Liverpool Street Station as “ absolutely magnificent “ is true and why every one should now write in personally and object to the current plans now submitted for the ‘improvement ‘ of this station . If these plans are approved the roof over the Concourse will be lost forever.
    And I share inspired early memories of this station , as I was a Platform Porter , Platforms 9 an 10 ,in the summer of 1956 , having completed my first year of Anatomy and Physiology at Guys Hospital. Steam , smoke and grime from the locos filled the air, but the bustle of movement , passengers and luggage , parcels and troop trains ,left an indelible and cherished print on the mind of a lucky 18 year old

  4. Bernie permalink
    November 20, 2023

    These are simply marvellous images. I would certainly purchase prints of them or a book of Bawden linocuts.

  5. November 20, 2023

    The only thing I sincerely hope for is that the plans of architects Herzog & de Meuron will be exposed as a capitalist scam and that Londoners will come to their senses and stop the whole thing. Good luck with that!

    Love & Peace

  6. November 20, 2023

    It was a happy day when I first discovered Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. (sp? – sorry!)
    I played a lot of catch-up then, ordering many books about both of their work. Bawden’s scrapbooks are especially interesting — We get to see what inspired this prolific artist. I don’t know if we (in the US) have a designation for “war artist” although I know that many artists/photographers/designers here were tapped to commemorate the sadly-various Wars and/or created posters. But I’ve always been thrilled to see the array of work done by your
    war artists, bringing their humane touch to their depictions.

    Thank you for a lovely big dollop of Bawden today! He was a gem.

  7. Margarita Schwartzel permalink
    November 21, 2023

    Thank you! These are wonderful images. Bawden’s illustrations are so lively and playful, and I think there’s something musical about them too. I’m a big fan.
    As for Liverpool Street Station – I sent in my objection letter to London’s planning department last week. I’m hoping for the best.

  8. Margarita Schwartzel permalink
    November 21, 2023

    Thank you! These are wonderful images. Bawden’s illustrations are so lively and playful, and I think there’s something musical about them too. I’m a big fan.
    As for Liverpool Street Station, I sent in my Objection letter to London’s planning department last week. I’m hoping for the best.

  9. Cherub permalink
    November 21, 2023

    I have always greatly admired Edward Bawden’s detailed linocuts, they are artworks of great beauty. He became an honorary member of what is now known as the RE, I worked at Bankside Gallery for a short time many years ago and could see his influence on some of the printmakers who exhibited there.

    When I moved to London from Scotland in the early 80s I remember Liverpool Street station as it was, before the renovation and construction of the Broadgate centre. It was quite dirty and tired, but the ironwork and glass roof were still magnificent. My sister used to travel on the line from Goodmayes every day, then beyond that by tube to Mayfair. Even in its tired state it was much nicer than other London stations like Kings Cross.

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