Windrush, Weaver and Mildmay: Overground lines re-branded to reflect local communities

Sadiq Khan with the re-branded Overground Network. Pic: PA Media

The London Overground rail line which runs through the Eastlondonlines boroughs is to be renamed the Windrush Line.

The new name was one of six new names and colours for the London Underground network, unveiled by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, at Highbury & Islington station.

Transport for London announced the planned update last year aiming to give the all the routes on the networks distinct branding and identities which reflect associations with the communities served by the lines. The re-branding, which involves changing signage, maps and logos is expected to cost around £6m.

Emma Strain, TfL’s customer service director, told the BBC: “This is about telling the stories of London’s diverse communities,” she said.

“These names will be in use for decades – so that is a big responsibility.”

The Windrush Line, now marked by red parallel lines, runs from Highbury & Islington through all the Eastlondonlines boroughs to West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction.

It was named to honour the generation of West Indian people who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain between 1948 and 1971, running through areas with predominant connections to Caribbean communities. Originally part of it was called the East London Line – from which this website takes its name.

The Windrush line Pic: Rebekah J. Cowan

Strain told the BBC: “When Windrush communities came to London they came to a number of locations – a number worked for TfL in buses and on London Underground,” she said.

“There are many strong ties to Caribbean communities in Dalston Junction, Peckham Rye and West Croydon, which enrich London’s community.”

Two other lines in the Eastlondonlines borough have also been renamed.

The Weaver Line, denoted by two maroon lines, runs north from Liverpool Street through Bethnal Green and Hackney, two areas tied historically to the trade of textiles, to Chingford, Enfield Town and Cheshunt.

The Mildmay Line, which runs west from Highbury & Islington to Clapham and Richmond and east through Hackney to Stratford is signified by parallel blue lines. This line has been named after the Mildmay Hospital in Shoreditch, a charity which has been acclaimed for leading the treatment and care of HIV and AIDS patients during the 1980s. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, was said to have visited the hospital 17 times to meet AIDS patients. 

The other lines are: The Lioness Line, which runs from Euston to Watford Junction, the Suffragette Line which runs from Gospel Oak to Watford Junction and the Liberty Line, which runs from Romford to Upminster.

The East London Line, built in 1869, was originally part of the London Underground and ran from Shoreditch to New Cross and New Cross Gate in Lewisham. It closed in 2007 for a planned expansion and reopened as part of the London Overground network in 2010. The branch to Clapham Junction was added later.

Sadiq Khan said naming the lines will “educate visitors about our amazing city” and the city easier to “navigate”.

Khan stated on X, “London wouldn’t be the incredible city it is today without the rich history of its diverse communities.”

TfL aims to make the changes to the lines by the end of 2024.

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