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Aldwych / The Strand London Underground Station

The Strand (now referred to as Aldwych) station opened in central London in 1907.  It was the only stop on a short spur line that ran southwards from nearby Holborn. 

Before its construction greater plans for the route were considered. In 1902 the railway was sanctioned to carry on further South from its original proposed station at Stanhope Street to rejoin the Underground system at Temple. Influential landowners, however,  changed this decision in their favour and a revised and more ambitious plan to go through all the way to Waterloo was approved by Parliament in 1905. This too was subsequently dropped and only the Strand station was built. It occupies a corner plot of where The Strand and Surrey Street intersect and is on the site of the previously closed Royal Strand Theatre.

The line opened on 30th November 1907 but maybe the closing of the Theatre on which it was built was a sign of things to come. A solitary  labourer was one of the first passengers and as London's Theatre Land began to concentrate around Piccadilly even the theatre special after 11pm could not justify the long term continued existence of the line. Only two car trains stopped at the station and the expensive tiling of the platform and stair areas was never fully completed - it just wasn't worth spending the money in areas that would be so little used. 

The station was renamed from The Strand to Aldwych in 1915 and this is now its more famous name.  Since its closure in 1994, when the 5m cost of replacing its lifts far outweighed the benefit to the 600 or so passengers it attracted each day, it's become associated with the film industry appearing in films such as James Bond and maybe most notoriously the Prodigy's video for their song 'Firestarter'.     

The pictures on this page are a mixture of photos taken at surface level, at the London Transport Museum Depot and during a rare guided tour of the station.

 

All photographs copyright artofthestate 2011

The Strand / Aldwych Underground Station

The Strand (Aldwych) London Underground Station (disused)

A model of the Strand's other entrance.

An original Aldwych sign

 

As shown here Aldwych was an unusual spur whose lack of use eventually resulted in its demise.

Aldwych station - entrance

Inside the entrance to the station from The Strand

Aldwych station lift

Inside one of the original Victorian lifts - now the only ones of these type in situ on the Underground network

Aldwych station stairs shaft

The lifts are no longer working so access has to be via around 160 steps down a spiral stair case.

Aldwych station stairs tiling

The distinctive tiling of the station is well preserved in this area.

Aldwych station passenger tunnels

Part of the network of tunnels providing access to the platforms

Aldwych Station lift shafts

Inside the lift shaft areas.

Aldwych - looking in the tunnel towards Holborn

Looking towards Holborn from the most recently used of the station's two platforms.

Aldwych to Holborn tunnel

The tunnel remains lit and would potentially be used for emergency evacuation. No SLR cameras or tripods are allowed in the station so this was the best shot I could manage in the darkness.

Aldwych station platform

The station had a four car set in place to be used as part of training exercises.

Aldwych station filming

Only parts of the station were tiled and some of this tiling has been subsequently removed. The cleanly tiled walls on the right are in reality just adhesive vinyl representations stuck onto the walls to enhance the stations look for filming purposes. 

Aldwych Station

On the other side of the station is perhaps the more interesting of the two platforms. This one was shut off from the public at a far earlier date and has subsequently been used for trying new tiling styles - and for storing national art treasures during wartime.

Aldwych station - original and disused platform

During the trip it was hard to escape the fact that the number of people on the platform probably exceeded the number of people that would have been there while it was operating.

Aldwych station original platforms

This is the part of the station that seems truly locked in time with the original rails still in place.

Original London Underground Railway track

Wooden sleepers and original rail fixings are quite rare, many of the other disused stations now have modern track methods running through their spaces.

Way Out - Temple Station

Back up near to the surface and the exit sign points the way to nearby Temple station hinting at reasons behind the lines demise - it was simply too close to other stations and its short length meant that it was also not very useful in getting across London.

 

 

LONDON RAIL INDEX

London Underground 
Brompton Road (disused) 
Aldwych (disused)
Waterloo & City Line
Underground Pioneer (150 years)
Boston Manor Signal Box
Art Deco on the Underground

West London Branch lines
Staines to West Drayton 
Southall to Brentford
West Drayton to Uxbridge
West Ealing to Greenford
Uxbridge High Street to Denham 

Other Railway Relics
Slough to Windsor branch line
Maidenhead Boyne Hill station
Feltham Mashalling Yards
Feltham Station
Feltham Cavalry Tunnel 
Richmond - old BR posters

Other London photos