What an extraordinary name! What an extraordinary thing!
The London Necropolis Railway was a railway line opened in November 1854 by the London Necropolis Company (LNC), to carry corpses and mourners between London and the LNC’s newly opened Brookwood Cemetery 23 miles (37 km) southwest of London in Brookwood, Surrey. At the time the largest cemetery in the world, Brookwood Cemetery was designed to be large enough to accommodate all the deaths in London for centuries to come, and the LNC hoped to gain a monopoly on London’s burial industry. The cemetery had intentionally been built far enough from London so as never to be affected by urban growth and was dependent on the recently invented railway to connect it to the city.London Necropolis Railway on Wikipedia
The railway—which someone really ought to have called the Necropolitan Line—had this terrific seal:
Look at the components! It’s a skull and crossbones and an expired hourglass, surrounded by a snake eating its own tail. The Latin motto Mortius quiet vivid salus means something like ‘peace for the dead, and health for the living’.
While this railway line definitely did exist, there are a whole bunch of London transport schemes that didn’t come to fruition. My favourite is the monorail that could’ve graced Regent Street:
Over the years there have been a number of schemes to bring monorails to the capital. Pictured in the gallery above is one floated in 1967 by the GLC Department of Highways and Transportation, which envisioned a monorail route running down Regent Street and Piccadilly (see the Wuppertal monorail for an idea of what it might have looked like). There was also a more recent plan from 2006 that pictured a route crossing the Thames at Waterloo Bridge. Sadly there’s little chance of either being built any time soon, so we’ll just have to leave the monorail and all the joy it brings to those lucky folk in North Haverbrook.Unbuilt London: The Transport Schemes That Never Were
But that’s because I’m unreasonably obsessed with monorails. I’d love to write something one day about how the town I live in, Milton Keynes, nearly had one.
When it was planned as ‘North Bucks New City’ in the 1960s, there was a working hypothesis that a monorail built for a city of 250,000 people would give alternative options to the car as ‘a means of personal mobility’, and would help encourage ‘recreational shopping’ which was seen as a potential salve for the ‘crisis of delinquency’ that would surely arise given the increased automation and affluence in the modern world.
The idea was ditched as plans for the new town moved into sharper focus, yet it does get mentioned from time to time. It’s hugely unlikely anything like this will ever be built but I’d love to explore these overlapping ideas of modernism, town planning and alternative transport schemes. There’s lots there that I’d be interested in. Back my Kickstarter here, etc.