Kingsway tram station in Holborn to open to public for first time in almost 70 years


A ‘hidden’ tram station beneath the centre of London which was used in the 1998 film the Avengers is set to open to the public for the first time in almost 70 years.

The Kingsway station, in Holborn, has been sealed off to Londoners since it was closed in 1952, when the capital’s once-extensive tram system fell out of favour with commuters who preferred the London Underground. 

The purpose of the ramp down into the gloom – in the middle of Southampton Row where it intersects with Theobolds Road – had long puzzled commuters. 

The spooky setting was used to depict a secret base in the spy action film The Avengers, an adaption of the popular 1970s TV series. 

It starred Uma Thurman, Ralph Fiennes and James Bond legend Sean Connery but was panned by critics. 

The Kingsway subway took passengers from Holborn as far as Waterloo Bridge, linking the north and south tram networks together. 

From July 9, members of the public will be able to take a guided tour of the tunnel, at a cost of £45 per person.  

A ‘hidden’ tram station beneath the centre of London which was used in the 1998 film the Avengers is set to open to the public for the first time in almost 70 years. Above: The Kingsway Tunnel in 1929

The Kingsway station, in Holborn, has been sealed off to Londoners since it was closed in 1952, when the capital's once-extensive tram system fell out of favour with commuters who preferred the London Underground

The Kingsway station, in Holborn, has been sealed off to Londoners since it was closed in 1952, when the capital’s once-extensive tram system fell out of favour with commuters who preferred the London Underground

It was built by the now-defunct London County Council and was opened in 1906, after land became available following an operation to clear slums in Holborn. 

Speaking of how the subway looks today, Siddy Holloway, the engagement manager at the London Transport Museum, told The Guardian: ‘There are glimpses of the old glamour that still shine through.’  

The expert said that, by the 1930s, the tram network had developed a reputation for being slow and uncomfortable when compared to the Tube. 

She said that whilst transport bosses tried to make it ‘more glamorous’, the perception remained that trams were ‘not very good’.  

The tunnel and station was built by the now-defunct London County Council and was opened in 1906, after land became available following an operation to clear slums in Holborn. Above: the subway in 1932

The tunnel and station was built by the now-defunct London County Council and was opened in 1906, after land became available following an operation to clear slums in Holborn. Above: the subway in 1932

The spooky setting was used in the spy action film The Avengers, an adaption of the popular 1970s TV series. It starred Uma Thurman, Ralph Fiennes and James Bond legend Sean Connery but was panned by critics

The spooky setting was used in the spy action film The Avengers, an adaption of the popular 1970s TV series. It starred Uma Thurman, Ralph Fiennes and James Bond legend Sean Connery but was panned by critics

The Kingsway subway took passengers from Holborn as far as Waterloo Bridge, linking the north and south tram networks together. Above: An image of the interior of the former Kingsway station. Ancient adverts and a World War Two poster can be seen. The photo features in the book Abandoned London, by author Kate Wignall

 The Kingsway subway took passengers from Holborn as far as Waterloo Bridge, linking the north and south tram networks together. Above: An image of the interior of the former Kingsway station. Ancient adverts and a World War Two poster can be seen. The photo features in the book Abandoned London, by author Kate Wignall 

From July 9, members of the public will be able to take a guided tour of the tunnel, at a cost of £45 per person

From July 9, members of the public will be able to take a guided tour of the tunnel, at a cost of £45 per person

Images taken in 2009 reveal the tiled walls of part of the former Kingsway station, along with a peeling platform sign

Images taken in 2009 reveal the tiled walls of part of the former Kingsway station, along with a peeling platform sign

The station and subway has been sealed off to the general public for nearly 70 years but is now being made available for guided tours from July 9

The station and subway has been sealed off to the general public for nearly 70 years but is now being made available for guided tours from July 9 

The subway fell largely into disuse after the tram line was closed in 1952, as passengers opted to use the London Underground and bus network instead

The subway fell largely into disuse after the tram line was closed in 1952, as passengers opted to use the London Underground and bus network instead

The site has also been used as a storage facility, including 120 buses and coaches in 1953 in case they were needed for the Queen's Coronation. Above: What appear to be old street lights

The site has also been used as a storage facility, including 120 buses and coaches in 1953 in case they were needed for the Queen’s Coronation. Above: What appear to be old street lights

She said the tram network had developed a reputation by the 1920s and 30s as rickety, uncomfortable and slow in contrast to the tube.

The Grade II-listed Kingsway subway, which runs directly above part of the new Crossrail route, was expanded in 1929 to allow it to accommodate double-decker trams.

In 1953, the year after the it was closed for good, the tunnel was used by London Transport – the forerunner to Transport for London – to store 120 buses and coaches in case they were needed for the Queen’s Coronation.

Part of the southern end of the tunnel was then opened to road traffic as the Strand Underpass in 1964.    

The Grade II-listed Kingsway subway, which runs directly above part of the new Crossrail route, was expanded in 1929 to allow it to accommodate double decker trams. Above: A double decker tram exits the Kingsway tunnel in 1952, the year it was closed

The Grade II-listed Kingsway subway, which runs directly above part of the new Crossrail route, was expanded in 1929 to allow it to accommodate double decker trams. Above: A double decker tram exits the Kingsway tunnel in 1952, the year it was closed

A photo taken in 1906 shows a tram emerging from the then newly-opened Kingsway subway. In 1953, the year after the it was closed for good, the tunnel was used by London Transport - the forerunner to Transport for London - to store 120 buses and coaches in case they were needed for the Queen's Coronation

A photo taken in 1906 shows a tram emerging from the then newly-opened Kingsway subway. In 1953, the year after the it was closed for good, the tunnel was used by London Transport – the forerunner to Transport for London – to store 120 buses and coaches in case they were needed for the Queen’s Coronation

In 2018, the tunnel was used by Crossrail engineers so they could pump cement-like grout into the ground to stabilise what they called 'tiny ground movements' caused when the Crossrail tunnels were bored beneath

In 2018, the tunnel was used by Crossrail engineers so they could pump cement-like grout into the ground to stabilise what they called ‘tiny ground movements’ caused when the Crossrail tunnels were bored beneath

In 1953, London Transport used the tramway to store 120 buses and coaches in case they were needed for the Coronation. Part of the southern end of the subway opened to road traffic as the Strand Underpass in 1964.

In 2018, the tunnel was used by Crossrail engineers so they could pump cement-like grout into the ground to stabilise what they called ‘tiny ground movements’ caused when the Crossrail tunnels were bored beneath.  

London’s tram network once stretched across much of the capital, both north and south of the Thames.

However, as buses and the Tube network took over, it was decided to close the network.

In 2000, trams were re-installed in part of the capital. The present network runs from Wimbledon to Beckenham. 

Tickets for the guided tour of the Kingsway subway are available from the London Transport Museum.  



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *