It is unlikely that commuters travelling home through Charing Cross station this evening will notice that the walls at the southern end of the station are slightly out of line with the roof. That’s because the original roof – or at least a large part of it – collapsed at around 3.30pm on December 5th 1905, and was replaced with something rather less grand. The collapse, the result of a metal truss that broke during repair work had serious consequences. Six people died, the station was closed for three months, and the adjacent Avenue Theatre, which had just been refurbished and was due to reopen as the Playhouse had its auditorium pretty much destroyed when the roof and a large section of retaining wall fell into it (below).
The devastation was recorded in these pictures from the Architectural Review of January 1906.
A little bit of the art of activism from CRW Nevinson: The Railway Strike Meeting On Tower Hill, from 1919. A national rail strike began at midnight on 26th September in protest at planned pay cuts, fuelled by resentment that railway workers’ efforts during the First World War has received little recognition.
The strike lasted nine days and was won, as reported below with a "great labour triumph" over “the most despotic Government this country has ever seen”.