<tr><th colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color: #efefef">Location</th></tr><tr><th style="">Place</th><td class="locality adr" style="">Aldwych</td></tr><tr><th style="">Local authority</th><td class="note" style="">City of Westminster</td></tr><tr><th colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color: #efefef">History</th></tr><tr><th style="">Opened by</th><td class="note" style="">Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway</td></tr><tr><th style="">Platforms</th><td class="" style="">2 (1907–1917) 1 (1917–1994)</td></tr><tr><th style="">Key dates</th><td class="note" style="">Opened 1907 Closed 1940 Reopened 1946 Closed 1994</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; ">Template:Portal frameless</td></tr>
Aldwych is a closed London Underground station in the City of Westminster, originally opened as Strand in 1907. The station was the terminus of a short Piccadilly line branch from Holborn. The disused station building is situated close to the junction of Strand and Surrey Street. During its life time, the branch was the subject of a number of unrealised extension proposals that would have seen the tunnels through the station extended southwards, usually to Waterloo.
Suffering from low passenger numbers, the station and branch were considered for closure several times, but survived as a weekday peak hours only service until closed in 1994, when the cost of replacing the lifts at Aldwych was considered too high compared to the income generated. The station has long been popular as a filming location and has appeared as itself and as other London Underground stations in a variety of films.
The Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR) first proposed a station in the Strand area in 1898, as the southern terminus of an underground railway line planned to run from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) via Finsbury Park and King's Cross. The terminus was originally to be located at the corner of Stanhope Street and Holles Street, north of the Strand, but when the two streets were scheduled for demolition as part of the London County Council's plans for the construction of Kingsway and Aldwych, the GN&SR moved the location to the junction of the two new roads.includeonly>Royal assent to the private bill was given and the Great Northern and Strand Railway Act, 1899 was enacted on 1 August.
In 1903, the GNP&BR sought permission for a branch from Piccadilly Circus which was to run under Leicester Square, Strand and Fleet Street and into the City of London. The branch would have passed and interchanged with the already approved Strand station,includeonly> allowing travel on the GNP&BR from Strand in three directions. The deliberations of a Royal Commission on traffic in London prevented parliamentary consideration of the proposal, which was withdrawn.includeonly>
In 1905, with the Royal Commission's report about to be published, the GNP&BR returned to parliament with two bills for consideration. The first bill revived the 1903 proposal for a branch from Piccadilly Circus to the City of London, again, passing and interchanging with Strand station. The second proposed an extension and relocation of Strand station to the junction of Strand and Surrey Street. From there the line was to continue as a single tunnel under the River Thames to Waterloo. The first bill was again delayed and withdrawn. Of the second, only the relocation of Strand station was permitted.includeonly>
The linking of the GN&SR and B&PCR routes meant that the section of the GN&SR south of Holborn became a branch from the main route, which the UERL began construction of in July 1902. Progress was rapid, so that it was largely complete by the Autumn of 1906.includeonly> Construction of the Holborn to Strand section was delayed while the London County Council constructed Kingsway and the tramway subway running beneath it and while the UERL decided how the junction between the main route and the branch would be arranged at Holborn.includeonly>
Strand station was built on the site of the Royal Strand Theatre, which closed on 13 May 1905 and was then demolished. Construction of the station building began on 21 October 1905,includeonly> to a design by the UERL's architect Leslie Green in the UERL house-style of a two-storey steel-framed building faced with red glazed terracotta blocks, with wide semi-circular windows on the upper floor.includeonly> The station building is L-shaped, with two façades separated by the building on the corner of Strand and Surrey Street. The Strand façade is narrow with a single semi-circular window above the entrance. The façade in Surrey Street is wider with a separate entrance and exit and a shop unit. In expectation of a revival of the extension to Waterloo and the City route, the station was built with three circular lift shafts able to accommodate six lifts. Only one of the shafts was fitted-out with two trapezium-shaped lifts.includeonly> The other two shafts rose from the lower concourse to the basement of the station, but could have been extended upwards into the space of the shop unit when required. A fourth, smaller diameter shaft, accommodated an emergency spiral stair.
The platforms are Category:Aldwych Branch
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The Short Streach Of Line Between Holborn And Aldwych Was Closed In 1994.The Line Was Due To be extended to Waterloo but never was.There will be a bit of Aldwych In My Website when added long;includeonly> shorter than the GN&PBR's standard length of Category:Aldwych Branch
The Short Streach Of Line Between Holborn And Aldwych Was Closed In 1994.The Line Was Due To be extended to Waterloo but never was.There will be a bit of Aldwych In My Website when added.includeonly> As with other UERL stations, the platform walls were tiled with distinctive patterns, which for this station were in cream and dark green. Only parts of the platform walls were decorated because it was planned to operate the branch with short trains.includeonly>
The GNP&BR's main route opened on 15 December 1906, but the Strand branch was not completed and opened until 30 November 1907.includeonly> Initially, shuttle trains operated to Holborn from the station's eastern platform into the through platform at Holborn. At peak times, an additional train operated alternately in the branch's western tunnel into the bay platform at Holborn. During the first year of operation, a single train for theatregoers operated late on Monday to Saturday evenings from Strand through Holborn and northbound to Finsbury Park, but this was discontinued in October 1908.includeonly>
In March 1908, the off-peak shuttle service began to use the western platform at Strand and the through platform at Holborn, crossing between the two branch tunnels south of Holborn. Low usage, led to the withdrawal of the second peak hours shuttle and the eastern tunnel was taken out of use.includeonly> On 9 May 1915, three of the Underground stations in the area were renamed and Strand station became Aldwych.includeonly>[notes 1] Sunday services ended in April 1917 and, in August of the same year, the eastern tunnel and platform at Aldwych and the bay platform at Holborn were formally closed.includeonly> A German bombing campaign in September 1917, led the disused platform to be used as storage for 300 pictures from the National Gallery until December 1918.includeonly>
In October 1922, the ticket office was replaced by a facility in the lifts.includeonly> Passenger numbers remained low and when the station was one of a number on the network considered for closure in 1929, its annual usage was 1,069,650 and takings were £4,500.includeonly>[notes 2] The branch was again considered for closure in 1933, but remained open.includeonly>
Wartime efficiency measures led to the branch being scheduled for temporary closure in 1940. It closed on 22 September 1940, shortly after the start of The Blitz, and was partly fitted-out by the City of Westminster for use as an air-raid shelter. The tunnels between Aldwych and Holborn were used to store items from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. The branch reopened on 1 July 1946, but patronage continued to be low.includeonly> In 1958, the station was one of three that London Transport announced would be closed. Again, the station survived, but the service was reduced in June 1958 to run only during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday morning and early afternoons.includeonly>[notes 3] The Saturday service was withdrawn in June 1962.includeonly>
After operating only during peak hours for more than 30 years, the final station closure announcement came on 4 January 1993. The original 1907 lifts required replacement at a cost of £3 million. This was not justifiable as only 450 passengers used the station each day and it was losing London Regional Transport £150,000 per year. Permission was granted by the Secretary of State for Transport on 1 September 1994 and the Aldwych branch closed on 30 September.includeonly>[notes 4]Template:Clearleft
Although the Piccadilly Circus to City of London branch proposal of 1905 was never revisited after its withdrawal, the early plan to extend the Aldwych branch south to Waterloo was revived a number of times during the station's life. Consideration was given to the extension in 1919 and 1948, but no progress towards constructing the link was made.includeonly>
In the years after the Second World War, a series of preliminary plans for relieving congestion on the London Underground had considered various east-west routes through the Aldwych area, although other priorities meant that these were never proceeded with. In March 1965, a British Rail and London Transport joint planning committee, published "A Railway Plan for London", which proposed a new tube railway, the Fleet line (later renamed the Jubilee line), to link to the Bakerloo line at Baker Street then run via Bond Street, Green Park, Charing Cross, Aldwych and into the City of London via Ludgate Circus, Cannon Street and Fenchurch Street before heading into south-east London. An interchange was proposed at Aldwych and a second recommendation of the report was the revival of the link from Aldwych to Waterloo.includeonly> London Transport had already sought parliamentary approval to construct tunnels from Aldwych to Waterloo in November 1964, and in August 1965, parliamentary powers were granted. Detailed planning took place, although public spending cuts led to postponement of the scheme in 1967 before tenders were invited.includeonly>
Planning of the Fleet line continued and parliamentary approval was given in July 1969 for the first stage of the line from Baker Street to Charing Cross.includeonly> The tunnels of the approved section continued east of Charing Cross under Strand almost as far as Aldwych station, but no work at Aldwych was undertaken and they were used only as sidings.includeonly> The second phase of the work was delayed and was eventually constructed in the late 1990s on a different route south of the River Thames via Westminster and Waterloo, leaving the tunnels between Green Park and Aldwych redundant.includeonly>
In July 2005, Ove Arup & Partners produced a report, DLR Horizon 2020 Study, for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) examining "pragmatic development schemes" to expand and improve the DLR network between 2012 and 2020. One of the proposals was an extension of the DLR from Bank to Charing Cross via City Thameslink station and Aldwych. The disused Jubilee line tunnels would be enlarged to accommodate the larger DLR trains and Aldwych station would form the basis for a new station on the line, although requiring considerable reconstruction to accommodate escalators. The estimated cost in 2005 was £232 million for the infrastructure works and the scheme was described as "strongly beneficial" as it was expected to attract passengers from the London Underground's existing east-west routes and from local buses and reduce overcrowding at Bank station. The business case assessment was that the proposal offered high value, although similar values were calculated for other extension proposals from Bank. Further detailed studies were proposed.
As a self-contained section of the London Underground closed at weekends and for extended periods during weekdays, Aldwych station and the disused tunnel to Holborn were popular locations for filming scenes set on the Tube before its closure. Since closure, film production usage has continued, with the station appearing as itself and, with appropriate signage, as other parts of the network.includeonly> Despite being closed since 1994 the track and infrastructure are maintained in operational condition, and a train of ex-Northern line1972 tube stock is permanently stabled on the branch. This train can be driven up and down the branch for filming. The physical connection with the Piccadilly line northbound tracks remains, but requires manual operation.
Films and television productions that have been shot at Aldwych include:
In Geoffrey Household's novel Rogue Male, Aldwych station is the scene of the death by electrocution on the track of an enemy agent following the protagonist. The pre-war operation of the station is also described.includeonly>
The music video for The Prodigy's song "Firestarter" was filmed in the disused eastern tunnel and one of the unused lift shafts.