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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 3 December 2012

Aldwych - the secret station


I have walked along the Strand on many occasions but have never noticed this station before, possibly because I don't look up often enough!

Around the corner is the other entrance for the station.

What is so unusual about these entrances is that the station was called the Aldwych not the Strand and has been closed for over 20 years . It started life as The Strand tube station in 1907 but was renamed The Aldwych in 1915 when another station was called the Strand.

 Although not open to the public I  noticed a queue of people nearby (which being English I obviously wanted to join ). I asked if there was a tour of the station and was told you needed to prebook and all the tickets had been sold. The tours are apparently  quite rare events. Not wanting to miss out I asked if I could wait and see if someone didn't turn up and then have their place. After a couple of phone calls this was agreed as long as I paid cash! Luckily for me one person didn't show and so I was in.

You could still see the old name of the station on the old tiles.

It was quite a way down to the platforms. I think they said 160 steps which isn't that bad but it easy to lose your footing when going down a spiral staircase.

 When it was in operation there were 2 lifts for the passengers which had these beautiful grills above them.

During the 2WW this tube station was used as a bomb shelter. During 1940 when London was being bombed every night there were 100,000 people taking refuge in the deep tube stations. This station has 2 platforms. One of them was allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum for storing artefacts and valuable artworks, which included the Elgin Marbles. The second rail was used as a public shelter. In the beginning there were no toilet facilities, drainage or water supply and people just bedded down on the platform or between the rails. Conditions must have been horrendous. But gradually conditions improved with the installation of chemical toilets and bunk beds. By 1941 the Aldwych could accommodate 1500 people nightly saving many lives.

The station is now used by film makers or for the emergency services to practice for possible tube disasters. On the walls there are still some old posters

Linking with Our World Tuesday
 

29 comments:

  1. OH how interesting. So glad you got in for the tour... Bet that place was busy saving lives during the war... How neat!!!!!

    You take us to so many interesting places. Thanks so much... Love the old staircase...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  2. Wow, lucky you! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Sounds very interesting.

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  3. Wonderful shots and information on such a old station. You are real lucky to get a entry.

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  4. Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  5. This is terrific and lucky you indeed!! Definitely the right place at the right time! And what a history it has! Great shots! Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Lucky you to see all that history...very interesting historical place and beautiful, lovely shots. cheers

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  7. History! You were lucky to get in on the tour. I'm sure glad you did ... I enjoyed it!

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  8. Neat tour of the train station. Thanks for sharing the photos and the tour. Have a great day!

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  9. Your post is a great reminder that Patience, Persistence and Perseverance DO pay dividends! Thanks for sharing this journey back through history.

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  10. What adventure. Thank you for this interesting walk. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens photo

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  11. Great tour and you remind me of my mother. She always said, "it never hurts to ask" and very often she got to do things I never would because I don't usually ask. That's a great quality she had and that you have.

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  12. well, you never know what´s there. You found something quite interesting. :)

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  13. Your part of the world is literally seeped in history. I enjoyed this tour of what was once the Strand. Glad you stuck it out so I could see it with you. :)

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  14. What a great find! I enjoy seeing the way things were, like stepping back in time. You were fortunate to be able to join the tour.

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  15. I love the red door and the stairwell. Now that is a tube in the 2nd to last shot, like the London one, or maybe a bank tube.

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  16. I love your adventuresome spirit talking your way into the tour. What a throwback to an earlier era.

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  17. Very interesting history!Great Pics! You are an adventurer!

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  18. Thank you for this interesting piece of history. So the station is now a kind of museum? During WW II my father was often in London and saw it being bombed. It was horrendous like you said.

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  19. Some interesting you found here! Great post!

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  20. What a splendid thing to be able to do - I cant remember where I read it, but I can recall something about "Ghost Stations" on a number of the underground lines - makes me wonder why they were closed.

    Much as I feel mean in saying so, but I do think watching cod (or maybe haddock!) swimming in the fryer is real fish watching!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  21. What a great find and on a day when you got to go inside too. Well done you bagging your place on the tour.

    Mollyxxx

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  22. A very interesting post, I had just read an aricle in our newspaper about the staion. Lucky you could get inside just in time. It is like Alice in Wonderland, stepping through the glass and coming in a secret world.

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  23. Wow! You waited and got to go on the tour! That spiral staircase looks a bit scary to me. I would have gone down quite slowly, I'm afraid, to not become dizzy. ;))

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  24. What an amazing place! Thank you for taking me down there with you. It was a fascinating tour.

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  25. looks like a great place to explore. thanks for the virtual tour.

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  26. wow! What a wonderful historical post and fantastic photography ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

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  27. I am sure I climbed up and down these stairs. Old London stations are wonderful, such grace and elegance, not the soullessly efficient monsters there are today.

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  28. How lucky for you to just happen to be there and for someone to have cancelled! :o)

    Fascinating story, I'd love to explore those old stations some day! :o)

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  29. One of quite a number of closed Tube Stations. You did well to get in and have a look.

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