Aldwych tube station

From Academic Kids

Aldwych tube station is a disused station on the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground. It was the terminus of a short branch off the line in the centre of London, but closed in 1994. Its well-preserved interior has made it a significant location for design work and filming.

Contents

History

The station was originally intended to be the southern terminus of the Great Northern and Strand Railway, running from Finsbury Park in the north, under Kings Cross station, and eventually to a point near The Strand. In the event, the GN&SR was merged with two other proposed tubes to form the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (later known as the Piccadilly Line), and the section to Strand became a mere branch. Although two tubes were constructed, they only connected to the main line of the Piccadilly in one direction.

The station was opened as Strand station on November 30, 1907, and was only ever served by a shuttle service to Holborn, except for a single late-night service which ran through to Finsbury Park for the benefit of theatre-goers. This was withdrawn in 1908, and by 1912 the original two-train shuttle had been reduced to one train. The branch officially became a single-track working in 1918.

Missing image
Aldwych_tube_station.jpg
Aldwych Tube station, former main entrance on the Strand, London

The station was renamed to "Aldwych" in 1917 so that the name Strand could be given to what is now the Northern Line part of Charing Cross tube station. The shuttle service continued to run to Aldwych until 1940, when the branch was closed and the station used as a public air-raid shelter. The branch tunnels were used to store the Elgin Marbles and other artifacts from the British Museum. Service was restored in 1946, and continued until 1994, when the cost of a lift replacement was considered uneconomic, and the branch was closed. Its last day of operation was September 30, 1994.

Over the years the station has been a popular location for film and television companies wanting to film on the underground. As the branch was entirely self-contained and closed at weekends, its facilities could be put at the disposal of film crews much more easily than those of more active parts of the underground. The station's second platform, closed since 1917, was used for many years to test mock-ups of new designs for platforms at other stations. Both these uses of the station continued after its closure.

One of the old platforms is also now in use as a rifle range for the nearby Kings College London, by its shooting club.

The closed station still has many of its original 1907 features, including tiling and signage. The surface building is now hired out for events, functions and art exhibitions. It is visible from the Strand opposite St Mary le Strand church. A restoration of the building's facade has revealed the original name of the station, long concealed by its subsequent alteration to "Aldwych".

Despite being closed since 1994 the station still appears on a number of station listings along the Piccadilly line.

Aldwych tube station should not be confused with the Aldwych tramway station which was a stop on the Kingsway tramway subway.

When the Fleet Line (later to become the Jubilee Line) was being planned in the 1970s, it was envisaged that it would run from Charing Cross through Aldwych and on to East London. This plan was scrapped, but a few hundred yards of experimental tunnel was still dug from Charing Cross to Aldwych (although it never actually connected with the latter station). The tunnel still exists but is unused.

Films made at Aldwych tube station

Aldwych tube station also features as a level in the video game Tomb Raider 3.

Recently, the BBC Three reality show "Spy"[1] (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/spy/index.shtml) used the station as a training headquarters for their trainee spies.

Reference

  • J. E. Connor, London's Disused Underground Stations (2nd edition), Capital Transport, 2001.

External links

See also

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