An underground aircraft factory on the Central line, and Churchill's secret shelter in a bomb-proof tube station are some of the secrets of the tube revealed in an upcoming exhibition.
Hidden London at the London Transport Museum delves into some of the lesser-known and forgotten parts of the tube network, and how they were used in the second world war.
Turns out the tunnels were quite useful in wartime, sheltering Londoners during air raids, and even housing the Plessey underground aircraft factory, which employed 2,000 members of staff (mostly women) in 2.5 miles of tunnels on the Central line.
Churchill himself took shelter in the Railway Executive Committee’s bomb-proof headquarters deep underground at Down Street station. His secret subterranean dining room — where he was regularly served caviar and champagne — is realistically recreated in the exhibition, as is the old Aldwych station ticket booth, offering an excellent chance to ogle some (imitation) Leslie Green tiles.
Further highlights guaranteed to make any tube fan swoon include a display of vintage tube posters, and decorative tiles taken from disused stations. Film posters from productions which were shot in abandoned stations, including Skyfall, are on show too.
As well as looking at how these quirky parts of the tube have been used, find out why they came about in the first place. Rare vintage photos, and secret diagrams are used to explain the social, economic and political factors that led to the spaces being abandoned.
The exhibition launches at a museum late, with a pop-up bar, music, a scavenger hunt, and a London-based quiz.