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Waterloo’s Dark Side (Waterloo Station Part 9)

(Please note, the following article contains details which some readers may find disturbing)

Over the years, Waterloo station and its cluster of surrounding streets have seen more than their fair share of life’s darker side…

Waterloo Sign
The Lambeth Poisoner

In the autumn of 1891, the area around Waterloo was stalked by Dr Thomas Neill Cream, a Glaswegian born physician and surgeon who’d spent much time in Canada and Chicago running decidedly dubious clinics.

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream

Following the mysterious deaths of several of his patients and a 10 year stint in Chicago’s Joliet prison, Dr Cream headed for London where he secured lodgings at 103 Lambeth Palace Road.

Approximate location of Dr Cream's lodgings and Lambeth Palace Road today.

Approximate location of Dr Cream’s lodgings and Lambeth Palace Road today (please click to enlarge map)

Shortly after his arrival, the Doctor popped into the Wellington pub on Waterloo Road and got chatting to a 19 year old prostitute named Ellen Donworth.

Location of the Wellington pub

Location of the Wellington pub

Ellen accepted a drink from Dr Cream… and later that night, she collapsed outside the pub.

Trembling and in great pain, she claimed she’d been poisoned.

The Wellington pub today

The Wellington pub today

Dr Cream’s next targets were Alice Marsh and Emma Shrivell, two young women who lived together on Stamford Street, just north of Waterloo station.

After plying the pair with bottles of Guinness, the doctor handed the women some globule like tablets which, when swallowed, led the victims to suffer painful, fatal convulsions.

Map of Stamford Street and Victorian magazine sketch depicting Dr Cream stalking Alice and Emma

Map of Stamford Street and Victorian magazine sketch depicting Dr Cream stalking Alice and Emma

Creams’ final victim was Matilda Clover, a young mother who lived on Lambeth Road.

As she lay screaming and dying on her bed, Matilda managed to tell her landlady, “that wretch has given me some pills and they have made me ill…”

Sketch of Matilda Clover on her death bed

Sketch of Matilda Clover on her death bed

In each case, the killer never hung around to witness the terrible results of his gruesome handiwork.

Dr Cream was captured after befriending an American tourist…who happened to be a New York cop.

After listening to Cream speak in revealing detail about the crimes, the American voiced his concerns to Scotland Yard. Following the tip off, Dr Cream was put under surveillance… and his behaviour soon confirmed the New Yorker’s hunch, leading to the suspect’s arrest.

Tried at the Old Bailey, Dr Cream was found guilty and executed at Newgate in November 1892.

Curiously, it is said that his final words, uttered as the trap door sprang, were, “I’m Jack the…”

Magazine detailing the execution of Dr Thomas Neill Cream...

Magazine detailing the execution of Dr Thomas Neill Cream…

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Killed in a carriage

On the evening of 11th February 1897, Elizabeth Camp– 33 year old manageress of the ‘Good Intent’ pub, on East Street, Walworth– was found battered to death in a carriage shortly after it pulled into Waterloo station.

East Street's 'Good Intent' pub today (image: Google)

East Street’s ‘Good Intent’ pub today (image: Google)

Tragically, Elizabeth’s fiancé, Edward Berry was waiting on the platform to meet his lover and witnessed the ghastly commotion as the body was discovered.

It was believed that the main motive had been robbery and Elizabeth, who was described as a large, “formidable” woman, had put up a tough fight.

The apparent murder weapon- a chemist’s pestle caked in blood and hair– was soon discovered on a nearby railway embankment, leading investigators to suspect that the killer had boarded the train at either Putney or Clapham Junction.

Images depicting Elizabeth's murder (from the Victorian 'Penny Illustrated' magazine)

Images depicting Elizabeth’s murder (from the Victorian ‘Penny Illustrated’ magazine)

Despite this, along with reports of a mysterious, flustered man nervously ordering a drink at a tavern in Vauxhall, the killer was never caught…

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A disturbing discovery

In February 1935 a large, brown parcel was found stuffed beneath a seat in a carriage at Waterloo station which, when opened, gave railway staff a terrifying shock… for the package contained a pair of human legs, neatly severed from the knee down.

Paper parcel

The following month, three young boys playing beside the Grand Union Canal in Brentford towards the west of London, spotted a sack floating in the water. Their curiosity got the better of them and they dragged the object towards them for a nosy peek…only to find that it contained a headless, legless torso

The parts were examined by pathologist, Sir Bernard Spilsbury who declared that they were part of the same body.

Pathologist, Sir Bernard Spilsbiry

Pathologist, Sir Bernard Spilsbiry

Sir Spilsbury believed that the victim had been a healthy young man, aged between 20-30. He also noted that the victim may have been a dancer as the toes on the chopped off legs appeared to have been slightly contracted by tight-fitting shoes.

However, like the murder of Elizabeth Camp years before, the case remains unsolved

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Modern fears
Waterloo station in 1979 (image: Age of Uncertainty website)

Waterloo station concourse, 1979 (image: Age of Uncertainty website)

By the 1970s the streets and walkways surrounding Waterloo station had gained a reputation as a grimy and increasingly crime ridden area.

One evening in August 1973, 68 year old widower and retired railway worker, Graham Arthur Hills was returning home after an evening at the theatre. On a raised walkway linking the Shell Centre to Waterloo station, he was confronted by three youths aged 15, 16 and 17 who mugged the elderly gentleman.

Entrance to Waterloo walkway

Entrance to Waterloo walkway

After a struggle, Mr Arthur Hills was stabbed in the heart and killed… his briefcase, which contained no more than a single prayer book, was found discarded close by.

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The murder of PC Frank O’Neill

On the 10th October 1980 two police officers- PC Frank O’Neill and WPC Angela Seeds– were called to a disturbance at a Boots chemist shop on Waterloo’s Lower Marsh where Josun Soan, a drug addict from Wembley, was attempting to acquire drugs with a forged prescription.

Boots on Lower Marsh today (image: Google)

Boots on Lower Marsh today (image: Google, please click to enlarge map)

Suspicions had initially been raised when the chemist queried the note’s handwriting… saying it was far “too neat for a doctor.”

As PC Frank O’Neill approached, Soan lashed out and stabbed the officer in the stomach- he would later claim in court that he’d been hallucinating and mistook the policeman for a “big brown bear… I saw it out of the corner of my eye, which scared the living daylights out of me…I got a knife out and slashed in that direction and then ran out of the shop.”

PC O’Neill gave chase but collapsed to the pavement and later died. He was 32 and father to four children.

PC Frank O'Neill

PC Frank O’Neill (image: The Guardian)

His colleague, 25 year old WPC Seeds bravely continued the pursuit, finally cornering the killer on a platform at Lambeth North tube station.

WPC Angela Seeds with a colleague at Frank O'Neill's funeral, November 1980 (image: The Guardian)

WPC Angela Seeds and a colleague at Frank O’Neill’s funeral, November 1980 (image: The Guardian)

Josun Soan was tried at the Old Bailey in May 1981. At the time he was 23 and had been a drug addict since the age of 14. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Following the crime, donations for Frank’s widow and children poured into police stations across London.

Frank O’Neill House’ on Clapham Road, is named after the fallen officer.

Frank O'Neill House (image: Geograph, copyright Mike Faherty)

Frank O’Neill House (image: Geograph, copyright Mike Faherty)

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Ward 5’s Medical Horror

Just across the road from Waterloo station stands the former ‘Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women’ which was founded in 1816 (the current building was constructed between 1903-1905).

Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women (image: Wikipedia)

Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women (image: Wikipedia)

Between the 1960s and 70s the hospital was home to the notorious ‘Ward 5’; a unit where some 500 women suffering from depression and anorexia were subjected to horrendous experiments, completely disproportionate to their condition.

Location of the former Royal Waterloo hospital

Location of the former Royal Waterloo hospital

Ward 5 was under the charge of William Sargant, a cold, imposing man who described himself as a “physician in psychological medicine.”

William Sargant (image: The Wellcome Collection)

William Sargant (image: The Wellcome Collection)

Rejecting psychotherapy, Sargant approached the treatment of mental illness as if he were dealing with a physical ailment, believing it was possible to rewire the brain.

In his quest to achieve this, Sargant treated the unfortunate women who passed through Ward 5 as guinea pigs, subjecting them to high drug doses, frequent sessions of electroshock therapy and, in some cases, lobotomies.

Shock Therapy

Electroshock Therapy (image from a BBC documentary)

A windowless chamber on the top floor of the hospital was set aside as a ‘Narcosis Room’ where many female patients were drugged into deep sleeps for weeks on end.

One patient, Elizabeth Reed (who was admitted to the hospital when she was just 22), recently gave a disturbing account of the room;

Women there were occasionally woken to be taken to the toilet or fed. We were like zombies… the worst times was when I started not to be asleep. I was awake but couldn’t move or speak. It was torture lying there for hours in the darkness.”

A patient being prepared for Narcosis treatment

A patient being prepared for Narcosis treatment

The Narcosis Room remained in use until 1973 (despite the death of four women whilst in their induced comas) and the hospital closed in July 1976.

Sargant continued to work at nearby St Thomas’s Hospital until his death in 1988. He personally destroyed all of his records.

The former Waterloo hospital is now a student hall of residence.

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Cardboard City

For much of the 20th century, Waterloo station and its surrounding walkways became synonymous with London’s homeless who congregated in the area to sleep rough.

Cardboard City in the 1990s (image BBC)

Cardboard City in the 1990s (image BBC)

By the early 1980s an entire community- dubbed ‘Cardboard City’- had developed beneath the ‘Bullring’; a concrete roundabout at the foot of Waterloo Bridge.

Location of the Bullring and view beneath the roundabout today

Location of the Bullring and view beneath the roundabout today (please click to enlarge map)

By the middle of the decade, up to 200 people were living in the subterranean area.

Cardboard City in the 1980s (image copyright Liz Hamlyn)

Cardboard City in the 1980s (image copyright Liz Hamlyn)

Conditions in the concrete complex were harsh to say the least. In 1988 for example a broken sewer unleashed a colony of rats which crawled over the inhabitants as they slept.

Cardboard City in the the 1990s, shortly before eviction (image: BBC)

Cardboard City in the the 1990s, shortly before eviction (image: BBC)

In 1998, the High Court granted an eviction order against the 30 destitute people who remained in the makeshift community… so that the area could be prepared for the construction of the huge IMAX cinema.

The IMAX cinema which now occupies the Bullring

The IMAX cinema which now occupies the Bullring

I wonder how many visitors to the imposing venue realise that Britain’s largest cinema screen stands on the site of what was once the nation’s largest homeless community

A slideshow of the area as it appears today can be viewed below.

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Waterloo Trivia (Waterloo Station: Part 7)

As Britain’s largest railway station it is not surprising that Waterloo has developed an interesting catalogue of trivia and curiosities over the years.

Here’s a selection…

Panorama of Waterloo station's concourse

Panorama of Waterloo station’s concourse (please click to enlarge)

Meet me under the clock…
Waterloo's main clock

Waterloo’s main clock

Manufactured by Gents of Leicester and hanging high over the main concourse, Waterloo’s huge four-sided clock has been a popular meeting point for Londoners (especially those on a romantic rendezvous) since the early 1920s.

Clock over the concourse

Hanging high… Waterloo’s main clock

Although not mentioned directly, it is perhaps safe to assume that The Kinks had the clock in mind when writing their 1967 hit, Waterloo Sunset… which includes the lyric, “Terry meets Julie, Waterloo station every Friday night.”

Please click below to listen to this quintessential London song…

Waterloo’s clock played an important part in the much loved BBC comedy, Only Fools and Horses.

'Only Fools and Horses', Christmas 1988

‘Only Fools and Horses’, Christmas 1988

In the feature length episode, Dates first broadcast on Christmas day 1988, it is beneath the Waterloo clock that esteemed Londoner, Del Boy first meets his future wife, Raquel (although Del was worried about the rendezvous point at first- “the last girl I met at Waterloo station got mugged on the escalator”!)

Please click below for the clip:

Waterloo News Cinema

For 36 years Waterloo Station boasted its very own cinema.

Waterloo News Cinema pictured in 1934 (image: Cinema Treasures)

Waterloo News Cinema pictured in 1934 (image: Cinema Treasures)

Opened in the summer of 1934, the cinema stood opposite platform 1 and was originally run by ‘Capitol and Provincial News Theatres’ who also operated a similar venue at Victoria.

As the company’s name suggests, the station based cinemas were devoted to screening news reels. Here, commuters eager to catch up on current events could pop in daily between 9am and 11pm to mull over the looped bulletins.

Waterloo Cinema auditorium, 1934 (image: Cinema Treasures)

Waterloo Cinema auditorium, 1934 (image: Cinema Treasures)

Cartoons were also included on the bill; these being the days when classic characters such as Mickey Mouse and Tom and Jerry ruled the silver screen!

Mickey Mouse... a regular sight at Waterloo during the 1930s and 40s

Mickey Mouse… a regular sight at Waterloo during the 1930s and 40s

By the 1960s news-reels were in demise thanks to the growth of television.

Consequently, Waterloo’s cinema was rebranded the ‘Classic Cinema Waterloo’ and switched to screening double bills of vintage Hollywood flicks.

A screenshot from cheap 1973 flick, 'Horror Hospital'- Waterloo's old cinema can be glimpsed in the background...

A screenshot from the 1973 budget movie, ‘Horror Hospital’- Waterloo’s old cinema can be seen in the background…

The cinema screened its final show (an Alfred Hitchcock double bill) on 14th March 1970 and then lay empty before being sadly demolished in 1988.

However, some of the picture house’s art-deco curves can still be spotted outside the station on the junction of Approach Road and Cab Road.

Remnants of the old cinema today (on the junction of Approach Road and Cab Road)

Remnants of the old cinema today (on the corner of Approach Road and Cab Road)

 

Footage of the cinema, as it appeared in the 1940s, can be viewed later in this post.

Waterloo Celebs

During its news reel days, Waterloo’s cinema would’ve screened plenty of topical reels that were filmed within the station itself- with stories of celebrities, newly arrived from the USA via boat-train, proving especially popular.

A good example is Charlie Chaplin’s return to London via Waterloo in 1952… please click below to view:

Plenty of other celebrities have been snapped at Waterloo too as the gallery below demonstrates…

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A robber reformed…

Between the 1970s and 1990s, Waterloo was the place to go if you wished to meet a somewhat shadier type of celeb…in this case, a chap called Ronald Christopher Edwards; aka Buster Edwards… one of the rogues involved in 1963’s infamous Great Train Robbery.

Buster Edwards (image: BBC)

Buster Edwards (image: BBC)

Born in Lambeth in 1931, Buster grew up close to Waterloo Station.

Unfortunately, he fell into a life of crime, his crooked career famously culminating in the robbery of the Glasgow to Euston Royal Mail train in August 1963.

Scene of the crime.... a Royal Mail carriage which was at the centre of the 1963 heist (image: Associated Press)

Scene of the crime….a Royal Mail carriage which was at the centre of the 1963 theft (image: Associated Press)

Following the heist, Buster fled to Mexico with his family but soon found himself homesick and strapped for cash.

He negotiated his return back to the UK but the plan didn’t work out as he’d hoped and the train robber found himself sent down for a 15 year stretch.

When Buster was granted early release in 1975 he decided to go straight- by establishing a flower stall outside Waterloo station, close to the junction of Waterloo Road and Mepham Street.

The site of Buster's former flower stall

The site of Buster’s former flower stall

In 1988 Edwards’ story was immortalised in the film, ‘Buster’ starring Phil Collins in the lead role and Julie Walters as his long suffering wife.

Buster Poster

 

The final scene of the film showing Buster as a reformed florist was shot on the Southbank, a short distance from Waterloo station (please click below to watch).

Despite the gentle nature of the film, the real life Buster Edwards was heading for tragedy as he grew older.

A severe alcoholic, he sunk into depression and, on the 28th November 1994, aged 63, Buster committed suicide by hanging himself from a  girder in a garage on Greet Street, a short distance from his Waterloo flower stall.

Buster Edwards with his Waterloo flower stall (image: ITV)

Buster Edwards with his Waterloo flower stall (image: ITV)

Waterloo on Film

Waterloo station has appeared on film many times. Here are a few examples…

London Terminus (1944)

Made towards the end of WWII, this 15 minute documentary follows a young couple as they head for Waterloo’s news cinema, where they settle down to catch a film about the workings of the station.

Rush Hour (1970)

A quirky short made by British Transport films to showcase Waterloo’s chaotic nature.

Harry’s Game (1982)

In the opening scene to this dark drama, IRA hit-man Billy Downes (played by Derek Thompson) – exits Waterloo station and heads for the tube as he embarks upon his mission to assassinate a Cabinet minister…

West End Girls (1985)

Part of the music video to the Pet Shop Boys’ classic synth hit, ‘West End Girls’ was filmed in and around Waterloo station.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

In this typical Hollywood scene action, Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon), helps whistle-blowing Guardian journalist, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) evade the CIA’s prying eyes through Waterloo’s rush hour…

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007)

In the opening sequence to romantic comedy, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, legendary Indian actor, Amitabh Bachchan (referenced to western audiences in Slumdog Millionaire) brings the dazzle of Bollywood to Waterloo’s concourse!

The Last Days of Steam

Waterloo was one of the last major terminals to operate steam-hauled services, with the powerful coal driven engines chugging in and out of the station right up until 1967.

A steam engine at Waterloo, 1967

A steam engine at Waterloo, 1967

Footage of steam trains in and around Waterloo during their very last days can be viewed below; a sight which is rather surreal when modern office blocks such as the Millbank Tower can be glimpsed in the background…

 

Waterloo Wildlife (Waterloo Station: Part 6)

Trains at Waterloo

Trains at Waterloo

Despite being a thriving commuter hub, Waterloo station harbours a surprising number of quirky links with the animal kingdom

Waterloo signal box cat, 1961.

Waterloo signal box cat, 1961

Diligent Dogs

During the first half of the 20th century Waterloo was home to a succession of ‘Railway Collection Dogs’; faithful hounds who padded around the station’s concourse with money boxes strapped to their backs, into which charitable members of the public could pop a few pennies.

'Handsome Boy Prince'; a charity dog which once worked at East Croydon station (image: Old Southeronians Association).

‘Handsome Boy Prince’; a charity dog who once collected at East Croydon station (image: Old Southeronians Association)

Waterloo’s most celebrated charity dog was ‘Laddie’, an Airedale Terrier who was introduced to Waterloo in 1949 to raise cash for a retired railway workers’ home in Woking, Surrey.

A young passenger at Waterloo popping money into Laddie' collection tin (image: Old Southeronians Association).

A young passenger at Waterloo pops money into Laddie’s collection tin (image: Old Southeronians Association)

Laddie patrolled Waterloo until his retirement in 1956, by which point he’d raised over £5,000; a very handsome sum for the time (approximate to £87,000 in today’s money).

The faithful dog spent his final years at the Woking retirement home amongst the elderly railwaymen he’d done so much for.

Woking's retirement home for former railway employees.

Woking’s retirement home for former railway employees

When Laddie passed away in 1960 he was stuffed and put on display in a glass cabinet at Wimbledon station where he remained until 1990.

Today, he is kept by the National Railway Museum in York, complete with an original collection box.

Laddie today... (image: National Railway Museum)/

Laddie today… (image: National Railway Museum)

Waterloo Buzz

As well as dogs, Waterloo was once also home to approximately 40,000 bumble bees… whose hives were located 200ft up on the station’s roof!

One of Waterloo's bee hives.

One of Waterloo’s bee hives

The bees were kept in the 1950s and 60s by Mr Wilfred Green, a railway worker who used the hives to make jars of honey for the Southern Railway’s Children’s Home in Woking (allied to the home for which Laddie the dog raised money).

Youngsters at the Southern Railway Children's Home in Woking, 1960 (image: Pathe)

Youngsters at the Southern Railway Children’s Home in Woking, 1960 (image: Pathe)

A video of the hives being tended by Wilfred in 1958 can be viewed below (note the complete lack of protective gear!)

Waterloo Pride…the Coade Stone Lion

For almost 180 years, a fearsome, stone lion has roamed the vicinity of Waterloo…

The Coade Stone Lion.

The Coade Stone Lion

Weighing 13 tonnes, the lion dates back to 1837 when it was created by Warwickshire born artist, William Frederick Woodington as a grand mascot for the ‘Lion Brewery’; a distillery which once stood on the Southbank’s Belvedere Road.

The Coade Stone Lion at its first home; the Lion Brewery in 1930 (image: British History.ac.uk)

The Coade Stone Lion at its first home; the Lion Brewery, pictured here in 1930 (image: British History.ac.uk)

The lion is forged from ‘Coade Stone’; an artificial material which was perfected by Eleanor Coade in the late 18th century.

Fired in a kiln over a period of several days, Coade stone is a very tough substance, famously immune to the onslaught of pollution… which means it always looks sparkling clean.

Coade Stone... as good as new

Coade Stone… as good as new

Like the Lion Brewery, Eleanor Coade’s factory was also located on the Southbank- the site today is now occupied by the Royal Festival Hall.

The Royal Festival Hall... where Eleanor Coade's factory once stood

The Royal Festival Hall… where Eleanor Coade’s factory once stood

Holding pride of place above the brewery’s main entrance, the mighty lion was originally painted red as the mock-up image below illustrates… 

The Coade Stone Lion, back in red...thanks to the wonders of photo manipulation!

The Coade Stone Lion, back in red as it once appeared…thanks to the wonders of photo manipulation!

An early admirer of the sculpture was French writer, Emile Zola who was delighted to see the hefty statue “poised in mid-air” atop its high arch.

Emile Zola, the legendary French writer who was a great admirer of the Coade Stone Lion

Emile Zola, the legendary French writer who was a great admirer of the Coade Stone Lion

Years later, Zola made a special return visit to the site to view the statue- which he affectionately referred to as “my lion”- one last time.

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In 1949, the Lion Brewery was demolished and the land passed over to the development of the 1951 Festival of Britain.

At the request of King George VI himself the lion was saved… and adopted by Waterloo Station where, with its red coat (the colour then associated with the newly nationalised British Railways) it was able to continue as a corporate mascot.

The Coade Stone Lion being removed from the brewery in 1949 (left) and the symbol for British Railways (right)

The Coade Stone Lion being removed from the brewery in 1949 (left) and the symbol for British Railways (right)

During its time at Waterloo, the lion stood outside the York Road entrance, a short distance from the station’s Victory Arch entrance.

The Coade Stone Lion at its second home outside Waterloo station, pictured here in 1958 (image: copyright Lambeth Government)

The Coade Stone Lion at its second home- outside Waterloo station, pictured here in 1958 (image: copyright Lambeth Government)

The lion guarded the station until 1966 when it was sadly forced to make way for the ‘Tower Building’; a looming 1960s office block which squeezes right up to Waterloo’s 1920s façade in a pretty thuggish way…

The 1960s Tower Building which stands on the site of the Lion's second home

The 1960s Tower Building which stands on the site of the Lion’s second home

After being displaced by the modernist office slab, the Coade Stone Lion (also known today as the ‘Southbank Lion’) had its  red paint removed and was shifted to its current site… the north-eastern foot of Westminster Bridge, right between the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

The Coade Stone Lion being moved to Westminster Bridge in 1966 (left) and the sculpture today (right)

The Coade Stone Lion being moved to Westminster Bridge in 1966 (left) and the sculpture today (right)

The lion has a twin which once also adorned the former brewery… this partner can now be found at Twickenham rugby stadium’s west gate, standing proud in a coat of gold paint.

The Southbank Lion's twin at Twickenham Stadium (image: Geograph)

The Southbank Lion’s twin at Twickenham Stadium (image: Geograph)

Elephant in the Room

Looming above the escalators that lead down to Waterloo’s connection with the Jubilee Line stands this rather fine elephant:

Waterloo's Elephant

Waterloo’s Elephant

The piece was created in 2000 by Kendra Haste, a renowned artist who specializes in creating animal sculptures from wire.

Cheeky Mice
A cheeky wee mouse...

A cheeky wee mouse…

The little fellow pictured above can be found hiding behind a cheerful statue of the artist Terence Cuneo which stands close to Waterloo’s Victory Arch entrance.

Terence Cuneo statue

Terence Cuneo statue, Waterloo station

Born in London in 1907, Terence Cuneo studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and began his career as an illustrator for books and magazines.

In WWII, he served with the Royal Engineers and also carried out work for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee, creating a number of works depicting scenes from the conflict.

War scene by Terence Cuneo, 1944

War scene by Terence Cuneo, 1944

Cuneo was an expert at capturing fleeting moments in painstaking detail, a skill which led to him being appointed the official artist for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

Coronation Luncheon at London's Guildhall, Terence Cuneo, 1953

Coronation Luncheon at London’s Guildhall, Terence Cuneo, 1953 (image: Cuneo Estate)

As well as his wartime paintings and Royal commissions, Terence Cuneo was especially renowned for his paintings of railways… a selection of which can be viewed in the slideshow below.

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Terence had a very playful personality and crafted many fine toys for his two beloved children- including a full-size roundabout and a miniature railway which trundled around the garden.

His sense of mischief extended to his paintings, which are famous for their inclusion of a trademark little mouse, often very well hidden….rather like an early version of ‘Where’s Wally?’… hence the wee rodent included in the Waterloo statue.

Spotting the mice within his paintings can be quite a challenge!

Terence Cuneo passed away in 1996 and his statue, sculpted by Philip Jackson, was unveiled at Waterloo station in 2004.

A short film documenting Terence at work in 1960 can be viewed below:

More Waterloo trivia to follow soon….