OUR Sunday night Twitter foray this week takes us deep under London’s streets to a maze of tunnels containing clues to the hidden history of the capital.
The @HiddenLondon account has more than 600 followers despite sending out NO tweets during the past six years.
However it does provide an introduction to tours of London’s disused stations, organised through the London Transport Museum and a Hidden London Hangouts channel on Youtube containing 75 videos exploring the city’s underground history, from Highgate to Clapham South, Wood Green to Whitechapel.
The Twitter account may not be an active one, but the Youtube channel has attracted more than 30,000 visitors since it launched in April 2020.
Real-life tours give Londoners the chance to explore some of the stations and spaces that are normally off limits to the public, uncovering the fascinating stories of London’s transport history in the company of an expert guide.
During lockdown, many of the tours have taken place on Zoom, and the Youtube podcast series features the museum’s assistant director Chris Nix teaming up with Laura Hilton Brown, Siddy Holloway and self-confessed Tube geek Alex Grundon to explore closed stations and hidden tunnels from Aldwych to Metroland.
The team use photos, videos and never-before-seen footage from the museum’s collection to explore a station or area, with tickets for guided tours going on sale at regular times through the year.
Find out more about stations that never fulfilled their intended purpose, like Highgate in North London, which was set to become a bustling interchange as part of the Northern Heights project but which now lies in a secluded vale as an urban wilderness home to protected species.
Or disappear 11 stories underground to explore Clapham South deep-level shelter, which has over a mile of subterranean passageways revealing the extraordinary stories of those who sheltered here, from Londoners seeking refuge during the Second World War, to hopeful Caribbean migrants arriving on the Empire Windrush.
Aldwych station is one of London’s secret places, holding myths and memories of times gone by. Opened to the public in 1907, it was never as heavily used as originally intended and closed nearly 100 years later in 1994.
The station has had a varied history from providing shelter to Londoners during the Blitz to being used for film and TV shoots including The ABC Murders (2018), Darkest Hour (2017), Sherlock (2014), and Atonement (2007).
Other tours explore dusty stations and deserted platforms once used by the travelling public, including at Euston station a gallery of preserved vintage advertising poster fragments that have been concealed for over 50 years.
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