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The Secret Star of the London Underground

  • June 25, 2024
  • 2 min read
The Secret Star of the London Underground

If you’re one of the millions navigating the manic labyrinth of the London Underground, you might not realise that beneath the city lies Aldwych station. Unlike the daily hustle of the Tube, this station is steeped in history even though it hasn’t seen a commuter since 1994.

Aldwych station, in the City of Westminster, originally opened as Strand station in 1907, serving as a terminus for the Piccadilly line from Holborn. Over the years, low passenger numbers led to its gradual decline, and by 1962, it was only open during weekday peak hours. The final nail in its coffin came in 1994 when it shut its doors for good.

However, Aldwych’s story didn’t end there. During World War II, it found a second life as a bomb shelter, providing safety in its sturdy underground tunnels. Today, it enjoys a third act, thanks to the London Transport Museum, which offers guided tours through its atmospheric, disused platforms and tunnels.

Aldwych has also become a darling of the film industry. With its preserved early 20th-century charm, it’s an ideal setting for period dramas and action-packed blockbusters alike. Remember the intense scenes in “V for Vendetta” where a Tube train loaded with explosives is driven under the Houses of Parliament? That was Aldwych. Or the gripping fight between Luther and the villain in “Luther: The Fallen Sun”? Yep, Aldwych again.

It doesn’t stop there. This station has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, providing the perfect backdrop for all sorts of stories:

“28 Weeks Later” used its tunnels for some truly eerie moments. In “Atonement”, it stood in for a wartime disaster scene, adding authenticity to the dramatic recreation.

Films like “The Gentle Gunman” (1952), “Battle of Britain” (1969), “Deep End” (1970), and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1986) all made use of its unique setting.

The list goes on with appearances in “The Krays” (1990), “Patriot Games” (1992), “Creep” (2004), “The Bank Job” (2008), “Mr Selfridge” (2013), and even “Sherlock” (2014).

So, next time you’re navigating the packed platforms of the Tube, remember that just a stone’s throw away is Aldwych station, a place where history and Hollywood collide. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a film buff, or just looking for a unique London experience, a visit to this underground treasure is a journey worth taking.

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