Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published May 17th 2014
Haunts of the Underground
Covering over six hundred square miles, London is the most populous region in the United Kingdom. The capital is a home to over eight million people, providing homes, leisure, and business. Unless you have superpowers, such as super speed, or the ability to fly or teleport, then you will need a method of transport other than your own two legs. What with traffic and the congestion charge, a car is not really a practical option; the number of accidents reported lately, also makes cycling less favourable. That's where public transport comes in. Buses have been on the streets of London since 1829, the first London railway was built in 1936, and the London Underground opened 1n 1863.
Although these services are vital to getting around the capital, not all have survived. Many of London Underground's stations have become disused. Along London's two hundred and fifty-five mile network, there are about forty ghost stations that have been abandoned for one reason or another. Some are completely hidden from view, while others you can still catch a glimpse of. Here is a list of some of which I think are the most interesting ghost stations in London:
When it opened in 1907, Aldwych Station was originally called Strand, after the name of the street it was on. Part of the Piccadilly Line, the only service it provided was a shuttle journey to Holborn during peak hours. Because of low passenger numbers, it was considered for closure many times, but managed to last until 1994. At this point, the lifts needed replacing, which proved to costly for the potential gain, and so the station was shutdown. Despite this, Aldwych has not been completely abandoned. During World War One and Two, its disused sections were used to shelter artworks from public galleries and museums, to protect them from the bombings. It has also acted as a filming location for many films and television series, including The Gentle Gunman (1952), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1986), V for Vendetta (2006), and most recently, Sherlock (2014). Because of this, the building has been given Grade II status.
Down Street was also built as part of the Piccadilly line in 1907, but only lasted until 1932, and never appeared on the map. Its closure was due to lack of use, mainly because it was so close to the much larger stations of Hyde Park Corner and Dover Street (now Green Park). Although bricked up, during World War Two it doubled as both an air raid shelter and a place to hold cabinet meetings when the War Rooms in Whitehall were unavailable.
Brompton Road opened in 1906 on the Piccadilly line, but closed in 1934 for similar reasons to Down Street: it was too close to other major stations, such as Knightsbridge and South Kensington. Again, the station was utilised during World War Two, when it was converted into underground offices and an anti-aircraft control centre.
Built in 1898 after clearing the slums in Holborn, Kingsway is technically not a tube station, but rather a tramway. Connecting the north and south of the Kingsway, it was a popular service until cars began to take over. and it eventually shutdown in 1952. in the 1970s, it was converted into a road underpass for cars, and recently was used as a filming location for The Avengers in 2012.
Part of the Circle and District lines, Mark Lane was opened in 1884 to replace the Tower of London Station, which had to be closed when the Metropolitan Railway and Metropolitan District Railway were connected to form the Circle Line. In 1946, Mark Lane was renamed Tower Hill. Unlike the other stations, which were closed because they were not used enough, Tower Hill was closed because it was used too much. The station was too busy, and there was no room for expansion. It therefor closed in 1967, and Tower Hill Station was rebuilt back on its original Tower of London site.