“Covent Garden is a London Underground station serving Covent Garden and the surrounding area in the West End of London. It is on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Holborn stations and is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station is at the corner of Long Acre and James Street and the street-level concourse is a Grade II listed building.
The station was planned by the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR), which had received parliamentary approval for a route from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) to Strand in 1899. After the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) in September 1901, the two companies came under the control of Charles Yerkes’ Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company before being transferred to his new holding company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in June 1902. To connect the two companies’ planned routes, the UERL obtained permission for new tunnels between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn. The companies were formally merged as the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway following parliamentary approval in November 1902. The station was opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906.
The platform wall was tiled with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes along with three blank spaces to incorporate the station name.
The stations along the central part of the Piccadilly line, as well as some sections of the Northern line, were financed by Charles Yerkes, and are famous for the Leslie Green designed red station buildings and distinctive platform tiling. Each station had its own unique tile pattern and colours.
Covent Garden station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or an emergency spiral staircase with 193 steps. There are four lifts that give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair-inaccessible.
The journey between Leicester Square station and Covent Garden takes only about 20 seconds, and measures only 260 metres (280 yd), the shortest distance between two adjacent stations on the Underground network. The stations are so close that a pedestrian standing halfway between them on Long Acre can see both tube stations by turning around 180°. The proximity means that London Underground’s standard £4.80 single cash fare for the journey between these two stations equates to £29.81 a mile, making the fare for this particular journey more expensive per mile than the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Posters at the station give details of the alternative methods of getting to and from Covent Garden using surrounding stations.
As a part of the Piccadilly line, the train is served by Night Tube on Friday and Saturday nights.”
“(Green) developed a standard station exterior design, featuring wide arches in the wall (again possible because of the use of a steel frame rather than masonry construction), with the exterior walls clad in ox-blood red tiles. The reason for this choice is still debated, but it’s very distinctive, which would have helped promote the new railway system to the local populace. It was also easy to keep clean, so the distinctive design would stay prominent, rather than fading into the background over time. The station name was included, moulded into the tiles themselves, and picked out in contrasting colours. If you’ve spent any time in London, you’ll recognise such stations instantly. The basic parts of the station were essentially standardised, although they could be combined in whatever arrangement was necessary to suit the particular station site, and none of his stations are exactly identical…”