Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Surrey Quays could go back to being Surrey Docks

TfL are considering demands to rename Surrey Quays station on the East London Line back to Surrey Docks:

A TfL spokesman said: "TfL London Rail has been asked by local residents to consider reverting the name of Surrey Quays station to the original name of Surrey Docks while the East London Line is being extended for conversion to London Overground.

"In response to this request, we will consult with the local community this summer to get a wider range of opinions and views on the name of the station," he added.
It's hard to tell if this is just empty placating, but the combination of it being a reversion to an old name, the extended closure and the offer of a consultation gives it more chance than the average renaming campaign.

Sent in by diamondgeezer

6 comments:

Mike said...

If they're going to change Surrey Quays back to its original name, that would be Deptford Road, not Surrey Docks. It was called Deptford Road until 1911.

Peter said...

The name Surrey Quays was coined by civil servants as a way of embarrassing the then Minister of Transport, Cecil Parkinson. The name alludes to his deserted mistress, Sarah Keys. It would be a pity to lose this snippet of history.

Abigail said...

peter - what is your source for that? The first use of "Surrey Quays" I am able to find is in the right timeframe for Parky being Transport Secretary, but that doesn't fit well with that first use apparently being Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. I suppose it's possible the term first appeared in LDDC material, but it sounds a bit urban legendy to me.

James D said...

One problem, Mike: there isn't a road there called Deptford Road. IINM, there never was (it was a railwayism), but Lower Road was once called Deptford Lower Road.

But on a less tedious historical level, I don't think creating stations named after longish roads is a good idea. Finchley Road is probably the most meaningless station-name on the tube map.

Anonymous said...

I was born the year the Docks closed and brought up in the area.
As I remember in my teens, it was renamed Surrey Quays because they had just built the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and were promoting its image as a central development to the area. As I recall from then, it has nothing to do with Cecil Parkinson. Either the supermarket or the Shopping Centre management (not sure which now) actually paid LT to change the name to match the shopping centre, so the station as Surrey Quays, is actually named after nothing more than a shopping centre. That's pretty appalling. That's why people got upset. I thought it was appalling then as a 15 year old and still think the same now. Everybody had known it as Surrey Docks without a problem prior to then. Redevelopers obviously wanted a name that sounded more upmarket so they could sell the area. Local residents (including me) felt like this was trying to erase the history of the place, trying to hide its industrial working class roots. Surrey Docks wasn't posh enough for the high-flyers of the 80s. Local people didn't want the name changed.

Given that was back in the mid-80s and people STILL want the name changed back to the original Surrey Docks gives a strong indication of how deeply locals feel about it. People don't understand that the Docks fostered a whole community which actually still exists albeit in smaller groups. My mother is still friends with people she was raised with.
As for me, I was raised in Surrey Docks and essentially, currently, that place just does not exist. When I tell people I was raised in Surrey Docks I get met with blank faces. Place names used by locals, turns of phrase and so on, used for years and years are not understood.
The "Quays" name has penetrated the whole area, which is horrible as it is only a commercial name adopted to sell the area to outsiders.

This isn't an old fogey issue of vigilant historians. I would really dearly love to see the station name changed back to what it was to genuinely reflect the area and I'm only in my 30s. The place has been docklands for a very long time, since the 1600s. I don't want to use the name "Surrey Quays" and never did. I wasn't raised in a shopping centre.

Why named Surrey Docks?
The station was given the name Surrey Docks because the docks area is literally just across the road! The call-on shelter was almost directly opposite the station. The swing bridge next to Greenland Dock can be easily seen from the station.
Surrey Docks is so appropriate a name given that it couldn't be any closer to the docklands area of it tried.

For locals, Surrey Quays is and always has been just the shopping centre. Surrey Docks is the area itself. Renaming it was a mistake. Locals are proud of their heritage, indeed for many it is the history of themselves, their parents and grandparents and it makes me angry that it is people from outside the area that have done this and using money to change things just so they can make money for themselves.
Change the name back!

Thanks for reading. I hope that brings a little more light in on the subject.

Sophie said...

Thanks Anonymous, I have recently become very interested in the history of the GSC and reading the history, it is very clear that the area was renamed to appeal to a broader, "better" class of people. I also wish the area would be renamed Surrey Docks but as time goes on, the people that it truly matters to will be no more and there will be no-one left to fight it. It's a shame, but this is the general way of the government. How very sad for the area to lose such an incredible part of it's history in this way.