Here at VALKYRIE (GB) LIMITED, we regularly use the London Underground network for surveillance taskings and training. We also often post about safety and security on the network. This week I was out conducting a client tasking around the Aldwych area, and it triggered me to write a Friday post on ‘abandoned tube stations’ of which Aldwych station is one of.
There are 272 functioning stations across the TFL network, but at least 40 Overground and Underground stations still in existence are no longer used for travel. Here are some interesting facts on six of my ‘favourite’ abandoned stations:
Down Street: Once part of the Great Northern Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – which gave rise to the modern Piccadilly line – Down Street station was closed in 1932, a mere twenty-five years after opening. Situated between Hyde Park Corner and Dover Street (now known as Green Park), it suffered from low passenger numbers due to both the proximity of its neighbours, and the wealth of its local residents, who could afford more comfortable means of transport.
City Road: Another station that was marked for closure early on, City Road opened in 1901, low passenger numbers were its downfall. Its closure in 1922 explains why there’s such a long gap between Angel and Old Street.
York Road: Closed in 1932. It was an end to a typically gorgeous Leslie Green-designed station, which had opened in 1906. With Kings Cross being so close, passenger numbers plummeted. It remains one of London’s most complete abandoned Tube stations, with the oxblood tiling remarkably well preserved.
Brompton Road: Once nestled between Knightsbridge and South Kensington, it suffered a similar fate to Down Street, in that it was too close to its neighbours to ever be truly successful. By the time of the Second World War, Brompton Road had been pressed into service as a Ministry of Defence site, with the upper levels serving as the command centre of the 26th London Anti-Aircraft Brigade.
British Museum: As it’s close to Halloween, I thought I’d mention that this is London’s most haunted Tube station. The Egyptian god Amun-ra is said to haunt British Museum, with a rumoured tunnel giving him access from the museum to the trains – one which he supposedly used in 1935 to kidnap two women!
Aldwych: Aldwych station was used to house the National Gallery’s collection during WWI and British Museum artefacts (including the Elgin Marbles), during WWII. In recent years, Aldwych has doubled up as a filming location for productions as diverse as The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ music video, and ’28 Weeks Later.’ Dave Webb has fond memories of this station as he took part in various military and police exercises hosted at the station, it’s still regularly used today for emergency training.