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Westbourne Park Depot

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One of the most interesting discoveries of the Crossrail project was the revealing of structures associated with the early expansion of the railways. In 1833 Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed chief engineer to the Great Western Railway (GWR), which ran from London to Bristol.

The GWR London terminus was Paddington, which opened in 1838. It was replaced in 1854 by a new, larger station designed by Brunel. The engine sheds and workshops had to move and a field in Westbourne Park was developed for this purpose.

Archaeologists uncovered the remains of workshops, turntables and a 200m-long engine shed. The latter was built for the company’s broad-gauge locomotives and later modified to take the standard gauge. Brunel and his chief engineer Daniel Gooch had decided to use a broad gauge (2,140mm) for the GWR as it was wider and could carry more freight. After Brunel’s death in 1859 the standard gauge (1,435mm) was gradually adopted. It is still used in Britain today.

Aerial view Westbourne Park looking east_44980
Brunel engine room uncovered at Westbourne Park_158266
Brunel engine room uncovered at Westbourne Park_158268
Brunel engine room uncovered at Westbourne Park_158272
Brunel rail turntable uncovered at Westbourne Park_159665
Brunel rail turntable uncovered at Westbourne Park_159666
Brunel rail turntable uncovered at Westbourne Park_159667
Brunel rail turntable uncovered at Westbourne Park_257704
Cast iron manhole cover found during excavation of Westbourne Park depot_158319

A nice cup of tea

Art Deco-style teacups and saucer fragments, dating from the 1920s to the early 1940s, with the GWR logo.

They were made for use in the Great Western Hotel at Paddington station. They are robust and were designed for frequent use. It is not known how they came to be discarded at the Old Oak Common Depot.

Art-deco style teacups and saucer fragments found at Westbourne Park_257699
Art-deco style teacups and saucer fragments found at Westbourne Park_257700
Art-deco style teacups and saucer fragments found at Westbourne Park_257701