Hidden London - The Lost Tunnels of Euston Underground Station
24th January 2018
It was a very rainy January afternoon when I arrived at Euston so having about 45 minutes to spare before meeting the Hidden London guides in Melton Street I hid for a while in Costa and then in the waiting room in the mainline station which is near the Melton St. exit.
After introductions and a safety briefing inside the old Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway Melton St. station building we were issued with Hi-Vis jerkins (which as usual fitted like a rubber band on an egg) and shown some of the still extant interior features of the station building which opened in 1907. The interior is now dominated by a large ventilation system for the tunnels below but there are bits of original decorative tiling and moulding visible amongst the pipes, cables , and equipment. Outside in Drummond St. we were given a quick history lesson and look at the outside of the building (fortunately the rain had eased off).
It's a classic Leslie Green station with big arched windows and ox-blood red tiling. Alas it will be demolished as part of the HS2 project but it is planned to save the tiles for maintaining the other Leslie Green stations in London.
From there it was off across the road to the main line station and down.
The tour takes in tunnels which were previously foot passageways for passengers between different parts of the station but as the station has developed and been rearranged are no longer used and are now locked off. They are still used by engineering staff however for storage and form part of the ventilation system of the station.
|Tunnel between City & South London Rlwy. |
platforms and lifts to London & North Western Rlwy
One of the most interesting things about these tunnels is the old posters which have been left on the walls since the tunnels ceased to be used by passengers. Here's a selection of the better preserved ones:
|More miles for your money.|
|A kind of loving|
Crystal Palace, Easter Monday Motor Cycle Racing
PSYCHO Cert X 1960.
Your Accomodation Service has been replaced by a Londis convenience shop.
Passengers changing between the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead, and City & South London railways would have to purchase a new ticket at this underground Ticket Office in a tunnel between the two company's stations:
Not from this fellow though, he's one of the LTM guides!
Not all the tunnels visited were originally for passengers. This tunnel was purposely dug as a ventilation shaft for the Victoria Line although in terms of construction it's a standard tube tunnel.
From the top you can look down through the grilles onto the platforms below. Hang on to your possessions - you drop it, you've lost it.
Looking up one of the two disused lift shafts between the Underground and L&NWR Euston mainline stations.
The lift bottom lobby showing where the entrances to the lift cars were.
After about an hour and a quarter which gave enough time to take pictures on the way back out (they also do a special photography version of the tour with more time and tripods etc. permitted) it was back up into the sunlight - OK, pouring rain again - via the mainline station concourse and we were done.
If you're at all interested in the history of the London Underground and fancy seeing bits of it that most people never get to see then I recommend this tour. You'll have to be quick though as the redevelopment works for HS2 start this year so the tour, in its current form certainly, will no longer be possible.
Hidden London tours are run by the London Transport Museum and you have to book in advance. They sell out fairly quickly but LT Museum Friends members get an advance heads-up before the books open to Joe Public.