Underground Discoveries

02 January 2012

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Disused Aldwych London Underground station. Copyright © Justin Lynham.Disused Aldwych London Underground station. Copyright © Justin Lynham.

As we enter 2012, the Olympic year itself, our theme for the month is subterranean – literally so as we want you to share with us your Underground Discoveries during January.  Whether these are subways, caves, tunnels, crypts or dungeons, let us know about your favourite bits of hidden heritage underground.

In London the tube network is full of interesting nooks and crannies, not least the various abandoned stations and lines which can still be seen on some journeys.  Between Golders Green and Hampstead on the Northern Line there was originally to be another station, known as North End but later nicknamed Bull & Bush after the famous pub in the area.  North End station never opened (planning issues over the station building proving insurmountable) but evidence of it is visible in the tunnel as you travel from Hampstead towards Golders Green, shortly before the train emerges into the daylight.  The excellent shop at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden stocks some fascinating books on the history of the Underground including ones about abandoned and disused stations.

Copyright © James Mitchell.

Possibly the most famous abandoned station is Aldwych, a branch off the Piccadilly Line which only closed in 1994.  Its entrance is still clearly visible  at street level (just off the Strand) and the interior has been relatively well preserved as it is frequently used as a film location – which is why some photos of it on the internet show it clad in wartime posters, despite its relatively recent closure!  Another curiosity in central London is just down the road – the Kingsway Tram Tunnel, part of which is in use as a road tunnel, but the gated northern entrance on Southampton Row still evokes the days when the trams were such a significant part of the capital’s transport system.

Kingsway Tram Tunnel. Copyright © Ben Geach.

Please let us know about your underground adventures and favourite discoveries and we look forward to reading about them throughout January.

Post by Loyd Grossman, Chairman, The Heritage Alliance.

  • January 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Bloged by Colleen Bowen

    I’ve done a couple of walks this holiday from Tom Bolton’s ” Lost Rivers of London” following the paths of the River Tyburn from Hampstead to Pimlico, and the River Walbrook from Shoreditch to the Thames. The rivers are long since hidden below ground so you need to use some imagination, but both were fascinating walks through the history of London

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