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Status: Buildings destroyed, architecture lost forever

2021: Crossrail is the east-west rail link that winds its way under London, meaning that buildings have to be obliterated to make way for its air shafts, and some new stations have to be built or others enlarged to be able to cater for the assumed increase in passengers, meaning even more buildings have to be wasted. It's the same old story, they conjure up some extravagant scheme, spend unlimited £billions to create it, and then decide to demolish whatever they like so they can build wherever they like.

It's bad enough that London now has a huge new tunnel snaking its way around the underworld and tickling the foundations of all the latest skyscrapers, but to support all of this tomfoolery they have to create extra air shafts and enlarge or modernise stations and have a simultaneous selection of ground works and road closures needed to create extra stations and lines and support areas. It really is a mammoth construction task. But what a mess! Because for nearly every element of their progress it demands that some building has to be flattened or wrecked. And with all these various mini projects we have of course the construction sites and endless noise dirt dust and lorries.

Horrendous building works - top of Dean Street, Soho
Crossrail works, Oxford Street at Dean Street, London. August 2013

As sweet as the Elizabeth Line sounds, and as exciting as all this construction may be, it's the endless hell of devastation that makes this project more than unnecessary. If just one beautiful building loses its life over this, then I deem this project worse than unjustified. And several buildings have indeed bit the dust. It makes you wonder what is the real reason for churning up London completely for many years, killing off some fine buildings, and causing mayhem and misery? Is prestige and profit involved here? Do I hear the cash tills ringing? London's passengers have survived well for over a century by changing trains and services to get from one side of London to the other. And our cute little underground stations have plenty of capacity to deal with the population. Do we really have to bust everything apart just to cater for endless increases in population? After all, most crowds for buildings and services are self-regulating, and humans usually avoid crowds whenever they can. Does one really have to modify everything to take on an infinite increase in humans? Does London have to become one giant station with nowhere to actually go to when you've got there?

Optimistic billboard
Crossrail's brutalist monolith: 65 Davies Street, London. May 2021

I'm quite sickened by the destruction so far. There are building sites for this project all across London, and possibly the worst section is the area of the West End, where whole blocks have been smashed up in the name of Crossrail. I think the greatest loss is the one at Tottenham Court Road tube station, where a whole chunk of beautiful London has been torn to the ground, with absolutely no effort expended to preserve what was a glorious part of our heritage. How absolutely criminal. They didnt have to do that at all. The great and gorgeous Astoria Theatre was turned to dust, as well as the corner block between Oxford Street and Charing X road. Sadly, the old row of buildings just north of Denmark Street also took a hit and are now history. My word, I used those cafes for decades! All gone now, with some monsterous new build taking its place. This is not fair! This area used to be accessible and useful. It was happy and down to earth, with an old world feel that felt like home.

London Destruction's Crossrail Movie

Moving further west, I have been stunned for some years now at the wanton wrecking delivered upon the whole block at the top of Dean Street. My word it was completely trashed in favour of the TCR extension. And before long its sacred turf was unblessed by a shocking eyesore that remained there for many eons in order for the malicious construction to take place. There's a new build there now, and the new TCR entrance. But was it all necessary? One wonders what they will do in 50 years time when we need another even bigger station! Moving on down to the Bond Street area, we have, behind the scenes, the demise of the old London Institute HQ at 65 Davies Street that used to take up the whole block. Now, on the same space, these ongoing works have forged this massive carbuncle that I've been told will ultimately transform itself into the Bond Street arm of Crossrail. Personally I preferred the old building that existed there looking rather refined and suited to the peaceful neighbourhood. Once they have disguised the Crossrail carbuncle and opened it as a station, I'm sure the area will attract more than the sober and dignified residents that now live there.

Maybe coming soon: Crossrail #2. Oh no. Thankfully, another scheme to carve up the London scenery was put on hold in 2020, thanks to the covid crisis clogging up the coffers. So once again it is our leaders intention to carve yet another destructive set of rail paths through poor olde London, this time from north to south, to satisfy the whimsical notions of some speculative directors. How much more of this nonsense can London take? How many more areas to be burrowed through? Are we not unlike crazed moles eager to create endless tunnel systems so we can suddenly pop up out of the ground at any point on the map? Yes, we are. Especially if the financial rewards are at the right price.

The London Destruction Website.