London Underground: Pictures of its Past

History

The London Underground, Britain’s most famous rapid transit system (affectionately known as “The Tube”), is home to the world’s oldest underground railway, first opened in 1863. The Underground services 270 stations and features over 250 miles of track, 45 percent of which is below ground level. Over the decades, the tube has changed significantly as technology advanced, with London Transport abandoned routes and stations which proved to be an economic loss, updating trains, and changing their maps, amongst other things. Here are some glimpses at some of the London Underground’s old and hidden treasures.

Abandoned Shoreditch Tube Station

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Formerly a terminus of the London Underground’s East London line, and in its history also a station on the Metropolitan line, the Shoreditch Station is now abandoned and decaying, having never really been widely used in its entire 137 year history.

Abandoned Brompton Road Tube Station

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Brompton Road tube station was opened on the original incarnation of the Piccadilly Line (Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway) in 1906. Passenger numbers were always low, however, being very close to other stations in a relatively wealthy area, which meant that (at the time) it was rarely used. It was closed in 1934.

Inside An Old Tube Train

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This is the view from inside an old 1938 Norther Line tube train preserved at the London Transport Museum.

War Time Use

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This is a fascinating picture of a map of London from the Second World War buried deep within Brompton Road station from when it was used as the Royal Artillery’s Anti-Aircraft Operations Room for Central London.

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This is one of the entrances to the Stockwell deep level wartime shelter, one of the many deep level shelters built under tube stations during the Second World War. It now stands as a memorial, decorated by children at local schools.

The Thames Tunnel

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Originally opened in 1843, and designed by Marc Isambard Brunel, the Thames Tunnel was the first ever underground tunnel built with tunnel shield technology, a technology that would be used for the building of the deep level London Underground lines in the near future. The tunnel was initially built as a pedestrian tunnel under the Thames connecting Rotherhithe and Wapping, but was purchased in 1865 by the East London Railway Company in order to use it as a rail tunnel. It would later be used as part of the East London Line. To this day, it is still used by London Overground trains passing between Rotherhithe and Wapping stations.

Old Tube Maps

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The famous Tube Map has had many different incarnations over the years. This is a picture of a 1920’s map of the tube, where the lines were still drawn geographically. Notice how the colours of the lines have mostly remained the same, apart from the Piccadilly, Central, and Metropolitan Lines. It wasn’t until Harry Beck produced his famous circuit diagram inspired map in 1931 (pictured below) that the tube map began to take its modern shape.

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Author: This article was put together by the team at British Antique Replicas.

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