Aldwych tube station is a closed underground station in central London. It was opened by the Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd (UERL) on November 30, 1907. Initially, it was called Strand Station because it was located at the crossroads of the Strand and Surrey Street.
Until 1831, the Royal Strand Theater had stood on the site, but it was demolished to make way for the Aldwych tube station. In 1903, the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP & BR) appointed Leslie Green as the architect for the design of the baroque station.
Unfortunately, the company’s financial condition worsened, so the Aldwych station was built with a lower budget. Preserved wooden windows are an example of where costs were cut.
The contract with Green was terminated at the end of 1907, and he died at the age of 33 in 1908.
This station is an important part of London, and during its existence it was used for numerous purposes. During World War II, the decision was made to close the station and use it as a bomb shelter. It was reopened as a tube station in 1946.
In May 1915, the name was changed from Strand Station to Aldwych. The reason for this was that a nearby line was renamed as Charing Cross (Strand).
In 1917, due to low attendance at the station, one of the two platforms and the tunnel were closed.
During World War II, the whole station was closed again. But this time, instead of keeping people safe, its purpose was to protect valuable items from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles.
After the war, Aldwych station struggled on, with an average of about 450 people passing through it every day. However, in 1994 it became necessary to upgrade the lift equipment, which was estimated at a cost of £4 million.
Due to its low passenger rate, such cost was considered uneconomical, and so the station was eventually closed in 1994.
Currently, the Aldwych station offers tours, but only in limited numbers. During the tour, there is an opportunity to see the ticket office and original elevators as well as abandoned platforms and tunnels. Tours last approximately 75 minutes.
The station is also used periodically for various events, as well as for training by various organizations, such as the fire brigade and the police.
Aldwych Station has been popular as a filming location from as early as 1952. No longer in use but still in good condition, it is the most flexible option for filmmakers as it can be used during the day when other Tube stations might be in use.
You can spot Aldwych in films such as The Darkest Hour, V for Vendetta, Atonement, and in the popular BBC series Sherlock.
In some feature films with London Underground scenes, Aldwych has appeared as itself. However, in other productions, a change of signage has the station standing in for other locations – such as the fictional stations Sumatra Road in Sherlock and Vauxhall Cross in Die Another Day.
Big thank you to Paul Dykes for providing the photographs of the disused Aldwych tube station. You should check his Flickr account and his website for more amazing photos!
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