Why pubs are on track to open in 'ghost stations'

Underground stations lost beneath London's streets could be opened up again in an initiative designed to give them fresh life as concert venues, bars and tourist attractions.

Negotiations to put together the finance needed to refurbish the first of 26 disused stations are under way and have been given the blessing of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson – with the condition that not a penny of public money is spent.

Ajit Chambers, the entrepreneur behind the scheme, believes the hidden stations and tunnel networks can be revitalised by allowing a range of businesses to move into them. Some would make use of the heritage value of such sites while others would simply make use of the unusual space.

Since the first London Underground service ran 148 years ago, a number of stations have closed. Some, such as British Museum, have been demolished, but a large number have simply been closed to the public.

Aldwych is among the best known of the disused stations. It was originally known as Strand but in 1915, less than eight years after opening, it was renamed. It closed in 1994, but is frequently used as a film set. At Euston, there are areas which have been closed to the public, such as a deep-level ticket hall, which could find new uses. Similarly, York Road, close to the King's Cross redevelopment, is in a prime location and estimates suggest a £20m investment would give it a new lease of life.

South Kentish Town, which closed in 1924, now hosts a sauna and massage parlour, while Down Street, near Hyde Park, which closed in 1932, is among those with a heritage to prize – it was used as an air raid shelter by Winston Churchill.

Brompton Road, close to Harrods, was used as an anti-aircraft operations headquarters during the Second World War.

Mr Chambers, who has set up The Old London Underground Company, is confident of raising enough money to revitalise closed stations.

However, Transport for London, offered a note of caution: "The majority of disused stations have not been used for many years and nearly all are next to the operational railway, which would present a significant safety challenge.

"We have had extensive correspondence and previous meetings with Mr Chambers and he is aware of the impracticalities of his proposals."

Going underground: Stations that may be reopened

1. Aldwych

Aldwych station was originally called Strand when it opened in 1907 and the name was still in use on the 1908 map. But it was changed to prevent confusion with another station in the same area. After years of being run as a limited service for peak hours, it was closed in 1994 when it was decided that the replacement of the lifts was essential but too costly for the number of passengers using the branch line station. It is now commonly used as a location for feature films.

2. South Kentish Town

This stop is between Kentish Town and Camden, but was too close to both to be economically successful. It closed in 1924, just 17 years after opening, during a power station strike and was never reopened to passengers. It now hosts a sauna and massage parlour.

3. Euston

Although it is still a very busy modern station, Euston has a long network of tunnels and several platforms which have been closed off to the public. Among the most striking areas now withdrawn from the public eye is a ticket hall deep underground which still boasts the original stonework around the service window.

4. York Road

York Road opened in 1906 and closed in 1932. Being sited in what was then a poor industrial area, it struggled to attract enough passengers. The Kings Cross St Pancras development prompted suggestions that it should be re-opened, but since then no firm plans have materialised.

5. Brompton Road

Brompton Road was closed after being deemed uneconomical in 1934. During the Second World War the platforms were converted into offices and the station was used as a control centre for anti-aircraft operations. At the end of one of the platforms a projection wall was built to allow staff to see information films. In some parts of the station, wartime maps are still on the walls.

6. Down Street

Down Street was close to Green Parkand Hyde Park. It was closed in 1932 but was used as a bomb shelter by Winston Churchill and his cabinet during the Second World War. A bath installed in 1939 has been dubbed "Churchill's bath". The station is now designated as an emergency exit from the Piccadilly Line.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us