Surbiton Station is a fine example of how Modernism took Art Deco’s style, streamlined it and turned it into a building that follows form rather than ornamentation. It’s one of the most iconic examples in the UK and seems to have only gained appreciation over recent years (you can buy art prints of the station in local shops nearby)!
The current station was opened in 1937 by the Southern Railway but there was a predecessor with a story behind it. The London and Southampton Railway had originally wanted to run their line through nearby Kingston but this had been rejected as the town feared it would impact their coaching trade. So they opted for a new site around half a mile away far from any built up area. In this way Surbiton started to become the quintiseential suburban town borne out of having a railway first and then growing up around it.
The station design was by James Robb Scott and a connecting walkway exists over the tracks which takes you through to a smaller entrance of a similar style which is currently being worked on.
The station is Grade II Listed with the following entry:
1937, by Southern Railways Architects’ Department under J R Scott. Reinforced concrete, painted. Flat roof. 4 bay central tall single storeyed booking hall, flanked by low, narrow bays containing kiosks, curvng backwards to meet long, low wings. Continuous cantilevered canopy of concrete to centre and wings, with moulded edge. Clock tower to left with strong, but narrow cornice and horizontal strings to upper, set back part. Long square headed windows with narrow closely spaced mullions to booking hall. Original wood and bronze doors below, with triple bronze bars in front of long narrow windows. Central facia to canopy with “Surbiton” in sans serif capitals. Marble lined booking hall. Two long single storeyed buildings remain on platforms; also reinforced concrete, with rounded ends and horizontal glazing bars to windows. Built to contain offices, lavatories and waiting rooms.
Even if you’ve never been to Surbiton Station you may well have seen it. It has featured in both ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ (2007) and an episode of Poirot ‘The Adventure of the Clapham Cook’ in 1989.