Photos Of The London Tube In The 1940s And Ukraine's Metros In The 2020s

Photos Of The London Tube In The 1940s And Ukraine's Metros In The 2020s

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Shots of people sheltering in tube stations in London and Ukraine
Subterranean transport has a long history of sheltering city dwellers. Image: TfL/Serhii Korovayny, n-ost

As Russia attacked Ukraine in January 2022, and residents took to Metro networks to shelter, it was eerily reminiscent of London during the second world war.

One of the ironies of the underground stations in cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv is that they were dug extra deep during Soviet times, in order to shelter citizens from would-be western bombs; now they're protecting them from Russian assaults.

Kyiv people sitting on escalators at Teatralna station by Viacheslav Ratynskyi, 26 January 2023
People sitting on escalators at Teatralna station, Kyiv, 26 January 2023. Image: Viacheslav Ratynskyi, n-ost
Second World War air raid shelterers near the escalators at Piccadilly Circus Underground station.
Second world war air raid shelterers near the escalators at Piccadilly Circus Underground station, 1940. Image: TfL

Echoes of the Blitz: Underground shelters in Ukraine and London — on at London Transport Museum from 1 March 2024-spring 2025 — is an exhibition of 70 historical images, plus 38 contemporary photographs, exploring how denizens of cities have utilised subterranean transport networks as a form a protection.

More than that, these underground shelters have swiftly grown into makeshift homes, where residents do their sleeping, cooking, washing — even caring for pets.

Woman in tent at Dorohozhychi station by Maxim Dondyuk, 2 March 2022
Woman in tent at Dorohozhychi station, 2 March 2022. Image: Maxim Dondyuk, n-ost
People sheltering from an air raid on a platform at Wood Green Underground station.
People sheltering from an air raid at Wood Green Underground station, 1940. Image: TfL

Though sheltering in the Kyiv Metro peaked during the initial Russian invasion in February 2022, stations are still being used as bomb shelters now — as is the case with the Kharkiv Metro, situated closer to the Russian border.

Echoes of the Blitz has been created in partnership with n-ost, a Berlin-based journalistic network, which has previously displayed images of Ukrainian Metro stations, in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Echoes of the Blitz: Underground shelters in Ukraine and London, London Transport Museum, 1 March 2023-spring 2025. The exhibition is included with paid entry to London Transport Museum.

Last Updated 04 March 2024

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