The station house at Chiswick station (the actual station house which backs on to the platform, not the pub of the same name on the other side of the tracks) has come on the market, available to rent.
Currently a design studio, the yellow brick building on Burlington Lane was originally the stationmaster’s work place during the golden age of steam. The building is Grade II listed, built in 1849 to service the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway as an extension of the Richmond Railway, which was taken over by the London and South Western Railway in 1850.
The station is mentioned in Queen Victoria’s journal. She was a frequent visitor to Chiswick House and a prodigious diarist. Her earliest entries date back to before the railway was built. On 10 August 1839 she wrote:
‘Talked again of my being so bored in London; of my going to Bushey on Monday, and intending to go to Chiswick one day, which I had never seen; of my wishing to see places.’
On Saturday 19 June 1841 she got her wish:
‘We set off for Chiswick, Ly Barham, Henrietta, Ld Poltimore, Ld George Lennox & the 2 Equerries, following in other carriages… The Duke of Devonshire, & Ly Carlisle, & the Dss of Sutherland received us … The luncheon was very fine & there was some pretty music … After luncheon, we saw the Children, & the weather having cleared up, we all walked in the garden & pleasure grounds, which are very beautifully laid out. A Band was playing on the grass. The place is quite Italian living’.
She wrote of the traffic jams when fashionable London went out en masse to visit the botanical gardens at Kew:
‘Drove home by Chiswick, & got into a great crowd of carriages, returning from a Botanical Fete’
Photograph above: The Mayflower, taken in 2015 by Ian Wylie
When trains were introduced she notes the ‘amazing rapidity of going on rail-ways’, and her next visit to Chiswick House, 30 years after her first, was by train:
Friday 7 July 1871
‘We went to Chiswick, & drove from the station to the house in a few minutes’
After that she became a more frequent visitor as her eldest son the Prince of Wales rented Chiswick House in the 1860s and 1870s, so the station house would have witnessed some very grand scenes.
Tuesday 11 July 1876
‘At ¼ to 5 left for Chiswick with Beatrice, Leopold, the Dss of Atholl, Evelyn P. & the 2 Equerries, Lenchen, Christian & his sister, joining us at the South Western station, — to attend Bertie & Alix’s garden party. They met us with their children & took us into the garden party’.
Chiswick’s 21st century residents occasionally get a taste of what it must have been like to travel here under steam. The Cathedrals Express company run occasional trips from central London stations to Cathedral cities.
The station house has been stylishly converted to provide modern office space and the owner has planning consent to construct a new building adjacent, which is due to be started this summer.
The property is on the market with Whitman & Co Commercial.