23 Jan /15


Whether you spell it as metroland or metro-land, and regardless of how pronounce it, the term is there to describe the area surrounding a metropolis. When thinking of a metropolis nowadays – images of a modern, overcrowded central city with skyscrapers would arise, yet the word metropolis dates back to 2nd century Rome, when the term was serving the same purpose of referring to a capital city, to later name the mother city of the Byzantine Empire’s colonies and to enter the English language only in the early 16th century.

Not surprisingly the term metroland was firstly used to describe the suburbs of London and in particular the northwest part of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

And even less surprisingly, it was coined by the Metropolitan Railway Company (the Met), which was servicing the area.

The Metropolitan Railway Country Estate Limited – a housing developing branch of the Met – was on a quest to sell houses for every budget, situated in the so called rural areas, yet the advantage claimed that are well connected to London, been regularly serviced by the reliable Metropolitan Railways.

The term metroland was coined in 1915 by the marketing department of the Met when the Guide to the Extension Line became the Metro-land guide and the company advertised its dream houses, located in peaceful and charming nature, yet only a drive away from the heart of London in the Railway Magazine. A monthly magazine published in London and aimed at the railway enthusiasts, which had no commercial rival at the time and was the perfect advertising platform – a real adland for the metroland.

The Met concept of the dream and well connect to London houses seems to have not completely answered the buyers’ expectations as 11 years later, Rose Macaulay in her Crewe train, has described one of the metroland houses in Buckinghamshire as a great one, yet the owners “must have a car, though; relying entirely on the Met. is too awkward, with so many strikes and so few late trains…”

And she went a few steps further: ”After all, it’s not London; metroland can’t be London. “

But the last decades’ tendency of more and more families fleeing the big metropolises and settling down at suburbs indicates that metroland might actually be the dream land.