When World War II broke out, the tunnels for the eastern extension of the Central Line had been constructed but not yet fitted out. The tunnels south of Leyton Station were used by Leyton Borough Council as air-raid shelters.
Access was via Drapers Field recreation ground and the site was occupied from September 1940. The capacity was 2,800 people and as well as bunks, a canteen was provided. Ventilation used a construction shaft near Queen Street, at the junction with the adjacent Stratford shelter which occupied the southern half of the same tunnel.