London's Great Railway Stations

Ref: C3745570

This short course reviews the great London termini serving the rail network that radiates out to all parts of Britain and the Continent. These famous structures, many built in the Victorian period with all the panache and ambition of that era, still play a major role in defining the London of today. The great iron and glass train sheds of St Pancras, Paddington and King's Cross provide massive exemplars of the work of iconic engineers such as Barlow, Brunel and Cubitt. The hotels and facades fronting most of these stations were designed by the nation's leading architects including Scott, Hardwick and Blomfield. Students will review the chequered history of these stations since those heady early times. We will assess the best and the worst of the changes wrought by changing requirements, world wars, and by the incorporation of more modern architectural styles. Perhaps more intriguingly for some, we will explore the romance of the stations through their roles in literature and art.

Course aim

The course explores London's great railway stations and studies their history, design, architecture and art. These buildings have become famous and revered through their key roles in literature, films and in so many of our own personal stories.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline the planning constraint which determined the locations of the Termini around the edges of the centre of London.
  • List two of the major London Termini that are still little changed from the Victorian era.
  • Identify the great engineers and architects responsible for the design of (a) Paddington and (b) St Pancras stations.
  • Cite a 19th c. play that refers to "the Brighton side" of Victoria station, and modern day series of books about children who travel to school each term via King's Cross station.
  • Describe the two major statues at St Pancras, and the messages they are intended to convey.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • 1. Recommended - the booklet "Discovering London Railway Stations" by Oliver Green. 2. You will receive pre-course information and advice about logging on to WEA's Canvas and Zoom. It is essential that you log on, view the instructions and tutorials, and practise accessing the course resources.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • The tutor's courses on the architecture and art of the London Underground and on British Architecture are relevant follow-on courses for students on this course.

Download full course information sheet

London's Great Railway Stations

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing