Five London Escalators That Will Fill You With Joy

M@
By M@
Five London Escalators That Will Fill You With Joy

The hobby of escalator spotting. It has its ups and downs. But London is surely the best place to go hunting for unusual stairways. Please hold tight as we unveil the escalators that won't stop you in your tracks.

1. Ride an escalator through an entire planet

We're all standing on the right, but some of us are looking at the stars.

If an asteroid were to wipe out the dinosaur gallery at the Natural History Museum (without damaging the rest of the museum), then the venue would not have lost its most impressive attraction. Behold the intra-terrestrial escalator. Many of London's escalators tickle the Earth's crust, but no other punches clean through into the mantle and the core before emerging out the other side. Find it in the Earth Galleries at the Exhibition Road entrance. Not suitable for claustrophobes or Flat Earthers.

2. Dodge the giant gingerbread man of Leicester Square

Giant head
"I shall devour your soul."

New York has the Marshmallow Man; London has a giant Gingerbread Man. The menacing confection looms large over the escalators at Leicester Square. We hope you've never noticed him. Once you do, he will lodge himself in your psyche, and give you the night terrors. Blame the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane, one stop away.

3. Peer over London's shortest escalators

Scared of escalators? This is a good place to confront those fears.

We're guessing you expected to find Angel tube on this list? Too easy. Everyone knows that it harbours London's longest escalators. Less familiar is this pint-sized pair at Victoria Station. The dizzying stairway will convey you about 1.5 metres above street level (unless you have a pushchair, wheelchair or luggage, in which case you're asked to take the stairs or find another entrance).

4. Obey the rules at Kentish Town

Tube managers promise to take steps

Kentish Town boasts London's only stunt escalator. Customers are requested to shrug off their better judgment and surf down the handrail. Or so we choose to believe. More likely, an engineer made a boo-boo when reinstalling the steps. 'Hold the handrail' and 'Stand on the right' got mixed together. Or perhaps its was a deliberate prank. Either way, the error was corrected faster than you could say 'class action lawsuit', after we tweeted this picture.

5. An Ancient Egyptian escalator

Go down, Moses

Harrods, that world-famous bastion of class and sophistication, also houses this anachronism. The busts, columns and reliefs are pastiche, but the escalator machinery, steps and trunking are genuine 18th Dynasty originals. Or so the shop attendant told us.

We'd say that 'tacky' is the word you're searching for, had you not already found it.

And a bonus...

What goes around comes around.

'Why has nobody ever invented a spiral escalator,' you've surely never wondered. In fact, they have. Holloway Road tube station briefly boasted a helical moving stairway. The novelty was installed in 1906, but never opened to the public. Its remains can still be seen at London Transport Museum's Acton Depot, which hosts occasional open days.

Last Updated 19 June 2019

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