Site Name: King William Street Station
King William Street
[Source: Andy Emmerson]
THE STATION IN USE
This is the original layout of the station, with one track and two platforms (for departing passengers on the left and arrivals on the right). This was altered to two tracks and a single island platform on 22nd December 1895.
THE CITY AND SOUTH LONDON RAILWAY
Today the City & South London forms part of the Northern Line of the Underground, with the exception of the bypassed King William Street station and the empty tunnels leading to the abandoned station.
The present means of access is through what was formerly the emergency staircase, and this is reached from a cellar under 46, King William Street, the premises which constituted the booking office of the original terminal station. Descending this gloomy circular stairway by the light of two acetylene flares, our party reached the old platform level with the feeling of having turned back a page of history and recalled those sensations, forgotten by the present generation, which were experienced by the inaugural party through this, the world's first electric tube railway, some forty years ago. As now existing, the old station still retains sufficient traces of its former equipment to enable a fair idea to be gained of its working condition, although the tracks have been entirely, and the platform partially, removed.
At the platform level the station consists of a circular brick tunnel, with a centre platform and the sites of the lines on either side. Openings give access to the old lift shaft, which formerly contained two hydraulic lifts. The shaft has been covered over and the top portion now is utilised for shop premises. Remains of gas fixtures are a. reminder that the stations were lighted by gas during the first ten years of the railway's existence, electricity being introduced gradually thereafter. at first only on the newer stations. The 'King William Street' station names are still in position in two or three places. At the end of the platform is the remains of the signal box. still containing its 22 hand-operated levers. Three of the two-position semaphores are in position. one, at least. of which it may be hoped will be preserved in the company's museum. Beyond the station, the brick tunnel ceases and the line enters the two iron tubes. Our party proceeded along the left-hand tube. The point where the other tube crosses over is easily noticed. and the two tracks are connected by an iron ladder.
Further on we joined the other tube through a narrow connecting passage on the left and returned to the station. At the mouth of the tubes a much faded board can still be deciphered, notifying "Speed not to exceed 5 miles per hour." Although all traces of the surface station equipment have long since disappeared, this glimpse into the past may be completed by adding that the original charge of 2d. ordinary fare for any distance was collected by means of turnstiles; and that this system was maintained until the extension to Moorgate Street made it necessary to introduce fares graduated according to distance.
For further information and pictures of King William Street click here
[Source: Andy Emmerson]