The mural at Brixton (Hans Unger) is yet another pun: a ton of bricks – “Brixton”.
The line was extended from Victoria to Brixton in 1971 and it still terminates there today. The original plan had the line running down through Streatham and on to Croydon, but with the central part of the line now at capacity, such an extension would now overload the system too much. A more modest plan to extend one station to Herne Hill may come to fruition one day.
There is theoretically a connection with the National Rail lines on the surface but in reality the connection involves exiting the tube station and walking around the corner to climb up to the elevated platforms.
A Victorian Department Store
Ironically, one of Brixton’s most historic Victorian buildings is significant for its move away from the use of bricks in construction. Across the road and a very short walk from Brixton tube station, Bon Marché (1877) was the first department store in the UK to be housed in a purpose built building and it was also the country’s first steel frame building.
Started by a local man, James Smith, and named after the famous Paris store, the shop eventually passed into the ownership of first Selfridges and then John Lewis, but traded under the name of Bon Marché until 1975.
Today the building, which survives largely intact and still bears the old firm’s name, has been developed into a number of self contained shops including the popular clothing chain TK MAX.
More about Brixton
Brixton offers multiple shopping and eating opportunities in its wonderful market. The area’s Afro-Caribbean connection is commemorated in Windrush Square as well as by statues on the main line station’s platforms.
There are also some beautiful old preserved buildings in the vicinity including an old Victorian post office and Brixton Windmill.
Crown and Anchor (Brixton Road)
The Crown and Anchor pub is actually a fair walk from Brixton itself but the journey is worth it. The pub has a nice friendly atmosphere and features an interesting selection of more than 20 beers on tap, including products from the Brixton Brewery (see below).
The excellent Brixton Brewery is located underneath a railway arch and is just a short walk from Brixton Station. On Saturdays they have a little tap room open at the front and you can sit on the simple wooden benches inside and sample their whole range of craft beers. My personal favourite is the Electric IPA, named for Brixton’s famous Electric Avenue.