Vintage Ventures – Part One of North London’s Abandoned Stations

The latest round of tube visits and ventures are taken from the absolute bible for tube worshippers, Ben Pedroche’s ‘Do Not Alight Here’ and will include a history of and photos of the abandoned stations from his Camden Borough Part 1 walk. What won’t be included are any directions or guidance to get to the places mentioned, as if you’d like to do the walk, I’d highly recommend buying his book here for £6.95. It’s small enough to tuck into a purse or pocket and an incredible guide to the abandoned chunks of London.

The first stop on the tour of Camden Borough is the Goodge Street deep level shelter building. These were built for extra shelter during World War II (between the years of 1940-42); but this one in particular was actually used as the headquarters of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force which meant that it was also used by former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower. There is also a school of thought that the ones built along the Northern Line (including this one) were envisioned as being part of an express route for Northern line trains, but that plan was never realized. The buildings remained in military use until damaged by fire in 1956, and today are used as data storage facilities. You can read more about the shelters here .

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The next stop is the original tube premises for the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead railway at Euston – which today forms part of the Northern line (the Charing Cross branch, unsurprisingly.) It was opened in 1907 but it’s close proximately and easy connections to Euston mainland station and also the City & South London Railway Euston station (now the Bank branch of the Northern line) led to both the ‘tube’ station entrances being closed in 1914, with passengers using the mainline station as access point for all of their destinations. The two tube companies came under the same umbrella when the Underground group took over ownership of both of them in 1913. The building is still used today as a substation and also for ventilation.

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In the neighbourhood are also some great stone structures from the original Euston station – listing all of the destinations you could visit.

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The next exciting area to view is the King’s Cross Good’s yard. The goods yard was originally set up in the 1850s by the Great Northern Railway Company and was in use until the 1980s. It has recently undergone a huge regeneration, and will most unlikely be unrecognisable in 5 years time.

Here are some photos from the goods yard:

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The next place to see is the very well preserved York Road station, formerly on the Piccadilly line. It was originally opened in 1906 but always suffered from being located too close to King’s Cross (although today it is hard to ignore the long gap in station stops between King’s Cross and Caledonian Road) and there was never significant interest in using the station. Sunday services were withdrawn from the station in 1918, and the station was closed in 1932.

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Further up the road are the locations of two abandoned train stations, both of whom share the name ‘Maiden Lane.’ The first Maiden Lane station was a Great Northern Railway station originally opened in 1850 as the line terminus. Once King’s Cross was opened, in 1852, the station was obsolete. The second Maiden Lane station, also opened in 1850 was part of the North London Railway and ran from Highbury & Islington to Camden Town. It closed in 1916 and 1917, and all that remains of its existence is a small bricked up door which served as platform access.

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The next location is the site of Kings Cross York Road station, which was originally devised as an ‘auxiliary station’ to the main Kings Cross one, and was built in either 1868 or 1879. The platforms from the current Kings Cross station actually now stretch out to where this second station would have been, making it an incredibly close location. The ramp shown below is the original access ramp to the platform.

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The original station would have had only one platform (which I believe would have been situated wheere the above platform is today) and was for ‘up’ trains serving the branch to Moorgate. The station stayed in existence until 1976, and enjoyed a brief resurgence of use in 1977. All that remains of the station’s existence today is the ramped access to the station through a gap in the brick wall. There are some great historical pictures of the site on here.

There are many stations linked to King’s Cross that have gone in and out of use throughout the ages.

The journey now comes to the original entrance to the Metropolitan line for King’s Cross station. This entrance was originally opened in 1863, and the station was originally called ‘King’s Cross Metropolitan’ to distinguish it from the larger King’s Cross mainline rail station.

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The old platforms for this station still exist to the other side of a wall, and are clearly visible when traveling past on the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. These platforms were closed in 1940 when it was decided to move the lines closer to the interchange for the Piccadilly and Northern lines. Look for the red platform edge in the below photos.

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The main line station did remain open until 1979, and was then reopened in 1983 as King’s Cross Midland City. This was then in use from 1983 (although renamed King’s Cross Thameslink in 1988) until 2007. If you clamber up the wall you can still see the old platforms and awnings.

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You can find out a lot more about the abandoned stations mentioned on the walk at these wonderful websites:

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/

http://www.abandonedstations.org.uk/

Here’s some books consulted:

Do Not Alight Here, by Ben Pedroche

Abandoned Stations on London’s Underground by J.E. Conner

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