Site Records

Site Name: Aldwych - Holborn branch (Piccadilly Line)

WC 2
OS Grid Ref: TQ308809

Sub Brit site visits October 1992, September 1994, August 1995 & 2008 (Holborn only)

[Source: Nick Catford]

Station frontage in December 2009 - Photo by
Nick Catford. Click here to enlarge.
On the surface, Leslie Green's original; frontage has been restored and removing the canopy overhanging the pavement has revealed the original 'Strand' name. Leslie Green's ticket office has also been fully restored to its original condition partly as a museum exhibit and partly for use as a film set. Platform 2 at Aldwych still retains evidence of the experimental tiling and paintwork. There have however been recent changes to Platform 5 at Holborn. This is accessed through an inconspicuous grey door at the end of Platform 4 from where a short corridor leads to the old bay platform

Photo:Station entrance in October 199
Photo by Nick Catford

The stub end of the bay has recently been repainted and one section has been taken over by the National Grid as a sub station. Moving down the platform the war time offices and dormitories with the narrow corridor along the platform edge have now gone. Until recently it was still possible to see many of the original features, the curved passage was still clearly visible in the ceiling on
the upper level and in the small rooms on the lower level the green and cream tiles were still in place including the tiled name Holborn on one wall, the 'n' being lost behind a partition wall. One door had a sign on it indicating the Central Line Model Railway Club once used it.

Photo:Looking south along Platform 2 at Aldwych in August 1995. This platform was used for testing new features while the station was still open.
Photo by Nick Catford

There are occasionally proposals to reopen Aldwych station. One of the more prominent suggestions is its potential use as part of an extension to the underground section of the Docklands Light Railway from Bank to Charing Cross; this would include a station on the site of Ludgate Circus station/City Thameslink station. The extension would be entirely underground, and would
run along the route of the abandoned Fleet Line. It may re-use some of the disused tunnels constructed during the project. What is certain is that London Underground has earned more revenue from the line in the years since closure than at any time before it and this unlikely anachronism is likely to survive as a monument to folly if not as a working tube station.

Photo:Buffer stop at the end of the line in August 2005
Photo by Nick Catford

For many years after closure the cross passage from Platform 4 was blocked by a metal grille, so Piccadilly passengers could see through onto the derelict platform but this has now been replaced by a door.

Although the track is still occasionally used by film crews the platform is used for the storage of permanent way materials and scaffolding with a portacabin at the northern end. Like Aldwych the station is used to try out new signs etc and at the time of our visit a number of station signs and maps indicated that the

Holborn is now used for testing new station signs as lifts at Aldwych no longer work. Photo by Nick Catford

station was now on the Central Line, at track level it was still Holborn Station but at higher level it had been transformed into St. Paul’s! A small signalbox is still in place at the southern end of the platform.

Photo:Platform 6 now used for storage
Photo by Nick Catford

Most of the tiling has been painted over but it can be seen in one room. Photo Nick Catford

Stairs lead down to a subway to Platform 3 but this is also blocked at the platform by a new door.  Returning to Platform 4 we made our way to the south end of the platform where another door opened onto a narrow corridor with locked rooms either side and at the end of the corridor another door opened onto the long abandoned Platform 5.

When Holborn was last visited by Sub Brit in August 1995 this area was unused and consisted of a narrow walkway with offices on the right hand side and two levels of rooms on the left hand side.  This area is now in the process of being refurbished, the rooms on the left have now been dismantled and those on the right have been painted including the brown and white tiled

walls. New lighting has recently been installed and it would appear that the platform area is being made ready for some new use.

Photo:Platform 5 - this was the site of the dormitory. The rooms of the left side of the platform are still there but the two level rooms on the right have all been removed. The platform edge can still be made out on the floor.
Photo by Nick Catford

Beyond the platform, there is a heavy gas-proof door and beyond that the former workshop before the tunnel opens out onto the crossover where trains passed over from the east side of the. On this occasion we did not have permission to go beyond this point.

Other web sites: For further photographs and information on Down Street see Hywel Williams Underground History web site and Pendar Silwood's Abandoned Tube Stations web site.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

Click here for the 'Blitz Experience' at Aldwych station in September 2010


Click here for further pictures of the Aldwych branch

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated: Tuesday, 04-Jan-2011 14:55:14 GMT
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