I caught the train to Brighton from London the other day and was struck by the Victoriana that one sees on this journey.
Ironically, despite its name, Victoria Station is the least Victorian feeling part of the trip. Victoria is a very average station not a Victorian masterpiece like St Pancras with it’s amazing glass and metal arched roof.
The train quickly escapes London passing the amazing Battersea Power Station as it goes – no flying pigs however – and out in the suburbs. The suburbs are quickly followed by the countryside and it is this phase of the journey that feels so Victorian.
There is a viaduct that rises above a small valley that has regular castellated buttresses along its length; they serve no useful purpose that I can see they appear to be there as decoration only in that marvellous Victorian way of doing things because they could.
The viaduct is completely overshadowed by a fortress of a tunnel a short timer later.The entrance to the tunnel has a small castle or fort with windows and a castellated top built above it; rising some 40 to 50 feet above the tunnel opening. Only the Victorians would have built something so amazing and yet so folly like. A simple brick lined tunnel would have worked but the Victorians built a majestic fort protecting the route to Brighton.
It can’t be coincidence that this must have been the route the British Royal Family took to Brighton when it was in favour with them; a connection that resulted in the even more outlandish Brighton Pavilion.
Altogether a very Victorian trip to the coast.