Have you ever wondered which parts of the London Underground network have been lost in the mists of time? Have you ever wanted a glimpse into the history of such a vital part of the capital’s infrastructure?
We know not everyone’s a transport geek, but we find this sort of thing pretty interesting. An old, torn poster which would have been seen by thousands of commuters on their way to work many years ago feels like stepping back in time to us. So, we were excited to join Hidden London (linked to the London Transport Museum) on one of their brilliant tours, this time around parts of Euston station no longer open to the public. This tour is of course running only until the station is transformed as part of the building of HS2, so if you’re interested do sign up as soon as you can!
You meet at the corner of Melton Street and Drummond Street, in the original Euston station which was part of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (the Hampstead Tube) and is one of Leslie Green’s distinctive station designs. This was one of two original lines running through Euston station, the second being the City and South London Railway.
The two lines, although separate as they were run by the two different railway companies, were both opened in 1907. However, they closed soon after, in 1914, and were combined to form the Northern line, under the ownership of the Underground Electric Railways of London. When Euston mainline station was rebuilt in the 1960s, the underground setup was reconsidered and passageways and ticket halls were closed. These areas form the location for the tour, so you’re entering a 1960s time capsule, including posters warning passengers that the restructuring was soon to take place.
There is a ticket office in the passageway so you could buy tickets as you transferred from one line to another.
It’s strange to think of these dirty passageways being host to so many well-dressed people going about their daily business, while now they are only used for moving and storing equipment behind the scenes.
These tunnels act as air conditioning for the new lines.
From certain parts of the tour you can look down on unwitting passengers on the present-day platforms, which is slightly surreal and definitely changes your perspective once you’re back to being a normal journey maker again.
This particular experience won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re fascinated by London’s past [and enjoy exploring the myriad of tunnels that lie hidden beneath the city], you might love it. It’s not heavily transport-focused in terms of the technical stuff but more historical in content, which appeals to us. As it’s fairly expensive, tickets to this or to any of the other Hidden London tours would make a great present or as a special date night or evening out with friends.