Post Date: 1st December 2013
Author: Matt Gedge
On 30th November 1907 the Strand Underground station opened. 87 years later it closed. Today we know it as Aldwych, and last week our London Tour Guide Matt was fortunate enough to join a few keen explorers of London’s past to descend the now disused stairs to the deserted tunnels and passages of a remarkable station.
From the sight of antique lift shafts to unfinished platforms, peeling posters from movies and original tiles displaying the name ‘Strand’, it was an exhilarating journey into this unique station’s ever evolving history.
The Strand was rather an anomaly from its inception. It was intended to be the southern terminus of one of the tube lines, but with the creation of the Piccadilly line from two separate projects, it was left looking like an extra leg tagged onto Holborn.
It then suffered an identity crisis when it was renamed Aldwych in 1915, with the station we now know as Charing Cross taking the name Strand (only to revert to ‘Charing Cross’ in 1979).
Sadly, the number of passengers dwindled to around 450 a day, making its continued existence a constant drain on London Underground resources, costing £150,000 a year. So when the 87 year old lifts finally needed replacing in 1994, the cost of doing so couldn’t be justified, and so it closed.
And so today it stands as one of London’s disused underground stations, opening its doors every now and again for us to delve into a rather enigmatic piece of London’s underground history.
Movies featuring Aldwych include: Superman 4 (1986), V for Vendetta (2005), Atonement (2007), 28 Weeks Later (2007). And of course the music video Firestarter by the Prodigy!
With thanks to London Transport Museum.
Please note Fun London Tours does not organise tours of Aldwych station.