Whilst walking through Fenchurch Place it is difficult not to stop and admire the station building and the planting in the pedestrian area at the front. During the week, street food stalls trade here at lunchtime including a bread stall and plenty of coffee for city workers.
The station was the first in the City of London, opening in 1841, with the arrival of the London and Blackwall Railway.
Next came the London, Chatham and Dover to Blackfriars in 1864, the North London Railway to Old Broad Street 1864‐65, the South Eastern to Canon Street in 1866 and the Great Eastern Railway to Liverpool Street in 1873‐75.
The London and Blackwall Railway ran between the docks at Blackwall and the City of London at Fenchurch Street. The route was 3½ miles long with trains travelling on a brick viaduct between Minories and West India Dock.
For the first nine years it operated with a cable system with the winding houses close to the termini at each end. Earlier, a cable winding system had been in use between Euston and Chalk Farm, but the technical operation of that system was slightly different from the London and Blackwall railway.
Alongside stations you usually found goods yards and for Fenchurch Street the yard was situated between Mansell Street and the Minories.
Fenchurch Street station was designed by architect William Tite, who designed the current Royal Exchange building. It was later enlarged by Civil Engineer George Berkley but from Fenchurch Place the appearance of the station today is much the same as when originally built. However, behind the 1841 façade the station was reconstructed in the 1980s.
In 1849 the railway converted to steam and continued to carry passengers and goods. The service for passengers came to an end in the 1920s because of the competition from trams but it was another 40 years before the railway was closed down with the demise of the docks. Today, C2C operate trains to Southend and Shoeburyness.
Fenchurch Street Station takes its name from one of London’s oldest thoroughfares. The site is thought to have originally been occupied by a Roman fort to guard Londinium. The founders of the City then laid out the path that is now Fenchurch Street.
This would have linked business and commerce in the west to the exit from the City’s walls at Aldgate in the east. At this point, it would have connected with the main road to Colchester.
The name Fenchurch is thought to be derived from faenum which is the Latin word for hay since a market selling hay was originally held near what is now the junction of Fenchurch Street and Gracechurch Street.