11 January 2021
The capital's Transport Museum is providing virtual tours of three disused underground Tube stations as its museum activities remain closed through COVID-19.
The London Transport Museum is hoping that group travel organisers, coach companies and tour operators will make use of its new virtual tours of disused Tube stations. Virtual guests can experience a subterranean world of shadowy tunnels and forgotten spaces of London Underground in groups of a minimum of 25 people and a maximum of 50 participants. A second tour can be arranged if a group is larger than 50 people.
Guests will join a virtual tour where three abandoned structures are explored; Kingsway – which includes the only underground tram tunnel in the country, Aldwych and Holborn. Participants will learn how this infrastructure opened up what we know today as the West End.
On these virtual tours, guests will be walked through a gallery of contemporary photographs, videos and never-before-seen footage as well as archival images from London Transport Museum’s collection while their expert guide reveals fascinating facts and tales about these ‘forgotten’ parts of London’s Underground network. Participants are welcome to ask the knowledgeable Hidden London guide questions during the tour.
Brompton Road station
People can Zoom into Brompton Road station and discover how during the Second World War the station was used as a top-secret control centre and bunker for Britain’s Anti-Aircraft Division.
King William Street station
Closed in 1900, King William Street was the first station to become disused on the London Underground and guests can find out about its short life before it closed. This special behind-the-scenes virtual tour lets viewers see what the disused station looks like today and how it is being used during the current Bank station extension project.
Holborn (Kingsway): three sites in one tour
In 1898 the London County Council (L.C.C) decided to redevelop the area in London we now know as Kingsway and Aldwych. The area, then known for its high crime rates, slum housing and establishments of ill repute, was to become a new business district for London with wide boulevards and grand office buildings. This required new public transport to bring people to and from work and in response the L.C.C. built a tram subway underneath Kingsway, to facilitate interchange between south and north London trams.
At the same time, the Piccadilly line was burrowing its way through London, with a station at Holborn to serve the newly constructed district, and a branch line down to Aldwych to serve the many theatres of Covent Garden.
The Kingsway trio shows how public transport unlocked parts of London previously inaccessible at the turn of the 20th century, and how these spaces adapted and changed when they were no longer required to serve their original purpose, often in very unusual ways.
Ollie Burton, Business Development Manager for Hidden London at London Transport Museum, said: “In these challenging times for the tourism industry our Hidden London virtual tours are perfect for large groups. Due to restricted access, some of these disused Underground spaces, such as Brompton Road and King William Street Tube stations will never be open for public tours, so these group virtual tours allow people to get as close as possible to the real thing.”
For more information, visit the London Transport Museum website.