London Tube stations get protected status
Sixteen London Underground stations were given protected status Tuesday in recognition of their historic and cultural value to Britain.
Oxford Circus and Covent Garden, two of the capital's busiest Tube stations, which date back more than 100 years, were among those to receive the Grade II listing.
The certificate is given to buildings of exceptional architectural or historical interest and means no changes can be made to them without special permission.
"Tube stations are great examples of the capitals hidden heritage," said Britain's Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose.
"Although listing does not mean these stations will remain unchanged for all time, it does mean that any redevelopment plans will have to take the sites heritage value into account, which will ensure the best of design is preserved for the future."
The listed stations include several of those designed by English architect Leslie Green, renowned for their iconic "ox-blood" red tile facades.
Three suburban stations -- Arnos Grove, Oakwood, and Sudbury Town -- were upgraded to a higher protective status, reserved for buildings deemed of particular importance. They were designed by modernist British architect Charles Holden in the 1930s.
Simon Thurley, chief executive of the English Heritage conservation body, said: "The London Underground not only set the standard for progressive transport systems, but has displayed a remarkable commitment to quality and consistency of design.
"The stations awarded listed status today are as valuable to London's architectural story as many more-famous buildings like the Houses of Parliament."
© 2011 AFP