21st June 2001
Waterloo Station, London SE1 8SW
Ascot Ladies Day
The concourse at Waterloo Station can be a bewilderingly chaotic place sometimes, even outside of the twice-daily madness that is The Rush Hour. Regular travellers here won’t be surprised to learn it is the country’s busiest station (which won’t get any quieter once the ex-Eurostar platforms are finally brought back into use), but must be comforted to know that there’s still plenty of room for the odd promotional event.
Adding to the general chaos for a couple of days each June is the invasion of the giant hats, beneath which are women wearing high heels for what could possibly be the first time in their lives, scrambling to get to the next train heading for Royal Ascot. Where they proceed to behave impeccably, naturally.
This tradition of looking glamorous for Ascot goes back decades, of course, but the general consensus is that we have Gertrude Shilling in her son David’s creations to thank/blame for the camera-hogging works of art prevalent these days.
Meanwhile, the chaps of course just put on their favourite morning coats & toppers and go to Ascot to watch some horse racing, which apparently has been happening here for over 300 years (in the days when horses hadn’t yet learned how to run properly). Well, some of them do, anyway.
Anyway, here’s some historical footage of how it used to be in the good old days…