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A historical look at Stoke Newington Station as ‘ginger’ line turns maroon

Stoke Newington Station in the 1800s. Picture courtesy of Stoke Newington History

In the late 1800s steam trains used to run through Stoke Newington and the station had a bookshop, waiting rooms and even a milk-churn lift.


Last week TFL announced the line Stokey sits on is undergoing a rebrand – it’s no-longer the ‘Ginger-line’ it’s now marked with parallel maroon lines and is called the ‘Weaver Line’, to honour the area’s significance in the textile industry.


The £6.3 million rebrand aims to give the lines more identity and make it easier to navigate. Each segment of the previously orange line has been renamed; as well as Weaver, there’s the Lioness Line, The Mildmay Line, The Windrush Line, the Suffragette Line and the Liberty Line.


Stoke Newington’s station was first opened in 1872 by the Great Eastern Railway, which offered cheap fares for workmen.


Speaking at an event for Stoke Newington History, freight manager and historian Simon Kendler said: “The Great Eastern were trying to cater for the upmarket gentlemen with their top hats going into the city.”


Commuters would travel to the station by horse and carriage.

Taxis waiting outside Stoke Newington Station

 Simon added: “The opening of these stations stimulated a massive amount of housing development, partly because of the fact they were attracting workman type fares. The railways effectively enabled all this extra urban development and then they kind of caused a problem – they induced competition from things like tramways and buses which can undercut the railways on cost and therefore the railway in Stoke Newington struggled for passenger revenue.”

Photo courtesy of Stoke Newington History

Once a picturesque station with beautiful canopies and steam trains chugging through, much of the charm of Stoke Newington Station survived the electrification of the lines in the 1960s but, in a bid to reduce the station’s Rateable Value costs in the 1970s, its beauty quickly waned. The distinctive wooden canopies over the platform and a roof over the staircase were removed and the distinctive brick station entrance building was demolished and replaced with a glass box. There used to be a steps leading from the station to Cazenove Road.

Photo courtesy of Stoke Newington History


Simon added: “It felt like there was a lack of caring for what we'd now consider valuable heritage.”


Despite plenty of competition, proposals to build underground railways, which would have run right through Stoke Newington, didn’t materialize due to a lack of funding.


Stoke Newington Station joined the London Overground in 2015 and was added to the Tube map.

Image courtesy of TFL

Heidi Early, Chair of Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “I hope this latest rebrand and the media coverage that goes with it, will help people discover Stoke Newington.  Just two minutes after hopping off the train at Stokey, you can be in the stunning Abney Park Cemetery (one of London’s Magnificent Seven) and that offers a beautiful walk through to one of the area’s two main shopping streets.


“I use the overground a lot – I can see how confusing it can be to people who don’t know the area.  Giving each strand a clear colour identity and name should make it easier to navigate.  It would be great if they could throw in a lift too, to ensure easy access for everyone!”


The re-branding got a mixed response on social media. Writing on the Facebook group Stokey Folks, Tim Cooper said: “If it makes the rail network more navigable for visitors (and Londoners) then it's an improvement.” Janet Cooke Thompson said: “More public money wasted.” Guy Isherwood said: “What I don’t get is how it costs 6.4 million of taxpayers money to change the signage.”


The History of Stokey page advised its Twitter followers: “Start getting used to saying: “Meet you outside Stoke Newington Station. It’s on the Weaver Line!”


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