Down Street Ghost Station Could Open To Public

M@
By M@ Last edited 31 months ago
Down Street Ghost Station Could Open To Public
Rat's-eye view of the mid-level tunnel.
Rat's-eye view of the mid-level tunnel.
A sign at Green Park warning drivers that we're down there.
A sign at Green Park warning drivers that we're down there.
The lift in the centre was installed at the start of the Second World War, and was not present during passenger service.
The lift in the centre was installed at the start of the Second World War, and was not present during passenger service.
Old wartime signage.
Old wartime signage.
The main lift shaft. This is the largest space within the complex, and might be turned into a dining room or display area.
The main lift shaft. This is the largest space within the complex, and might be turned into a dining room or display area.
Pipes leading into a pump room.
Pipes leading into a pump room.
Piping. Obviously.
Piping. Obviously.
TO THE TRA...MPOLINE?
TO THE TRA...MPOLINE?
This way...
This way...
At the mid-level, just above the platforms.
At the mid-level, just above the platforms.
Dusty stairs down to the westbound platform.
Dusty stairs down to the westbound platform.
Steps up from the platform level.
Steps up from the platform level.
These signs are clearly installed in recent years. They were never intended for passenger use, but help contractors find their way.
These signs are clearly installed in recent years. They were never intended for passenger use, but help contractors find their way.
At platform level. Partitioned office space from the war extends along the platform as far as that distant light.
At platform level. Partitioned office space from the war extends along the platform as far as that distant light.
Did Churchill crap on one of these?
Did Churchill crap on one of these?
Map of the station.
Map of the station.
A very wordy way of saying 'please turn off the lights'. (The discussion continues below this shot, veering off into rants about capitalism and big electricity companies.)
A very wordy way of saying 'please turn off the lights'. (The discussion continues below this shot, veering off into rants about capitalism and big electricity companies.)
The distinctive Leslie Green tiling on the outside of the station.
The distinctive Leslie Green tiling on the outside of the station.

"Looking forward to your day at work?"
"Yeah, actually, I'm going down a ghost station."
"Huh?"
"You know, one of those abandoned tube stations. It's Down Street."
"Downing Street?"
"No, Down Street. On the Piccadilly Line between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner."

If this n=1 sample of Holborn coffee baristas is anything to go by, the general public haven't really heard of Down Street station. They soon will, if Transport for London's plans to reuse the disused station achieve fruition.

TfL has got itself some architects in, sizing up the building for possible reuse. Quirky restaurant? Historical attraction? Art gallery? Subterranean climbing wall? Nobody is sure just yet, but the intention is serious. If the crowds who flock to the occasional openings of Aldwych ghost station are anything to go by, any form of access should prove popular with the public.

The Leslie Green-designed station was decidedly unpopular first-time round. It opened in 1907, but lack of footfall prompted its closure just 25 years later. With the Second World War looming, Down Street was converted into a subterranean command base, used on occasion by Winston Churchill, who dubbed it 'The Barn'.

Tokens of its wartime use are still present. Wall signs point to the Committee Room. A 1930s lift rises through the main staircase. Most tellingly of all, the platform level contains partitioned office space for the administration staff, while the mid-level still harbours bunk rooms and toilet facilities.

It'd take a lot of work, but there is considerable potential to convert the space for public use. The idea is to trial things with Down Street then use the experience to expand access to the dozens of other properties in TfL's portfolio. Indeed, a tender process has just been launched, inviting companies to submit innovative ideas to transform the station into a commercially viable business.

Graeme Craig, TfL’s Director of Commercial Development, said: “The combination of space, history, and location, makes this a unique opportunity. We are looking for a partner with the imagination to see the potential here and the capability to deliver it.”

For now, the station remains under lock-and-key, its grimy corridors seen only by the occasional contractor and lucky journalist.

Click through our gallery above for a photographic tour of the subterranean levels. We'll have a video ready in the next few days.

See also: A tour of Brompton Road ghost station (2011)

Last Updated 28 April 2015

Dave K

I might just explode!

HHGeek

Given how many people leave lights on unnecessarily, it's actually rather wonderful to see a rant about it for once. I was stunned earlier on this week to hear that somewhere in the States is going to start turning off "unneeded" lights overnight so as to stop birds splatting into windows - as if the energy saving wasn't validity enough in itself.

Was this the tube station used in the abysmal 'Dorian Gray', do you know? I made the mistake of sitting through it again the other day to check if I was wrong about how awful it was ... unfortunately, I wasn't ...