Tuesday 20 November 2007

North End or Bull and Bush Tube station anyone?

It's hard to appreciate that the tube lines servicing Hampstead (pictured) and Belsize are 100 years old this year - opened in 1907 by David Lloyd George (the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway) the Northern Line was a major link between 'rural' and inner London.

Hampstead as an village started to expand following the opening of the North London Railway in the 1860s (now the North London Line previously operated by Silverlink and now Overground) and expanded further after the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway opened in 1907 (now part of the Northern Line) and provided fast travel to central London.

There are three elements that I find interesting:
  • Hampstead is supposed to be the deepest tube on the tube network - caused mainly by the tube being build deep into what is actually a very deep hill. But you can still get mobile phone signal at the bottom of the lift shaft!

  • Belsize has a second world war deep bunker which is still in part visible from the street.

  • A further tube station was started for construction at North End but never completed.

I'm fascinated by the history of the North End station. Apparently the station was designed to serve the top of the heath, up near Jack Straw's Castle. It had been planned by Yerkes but opposed both by key dignitaries in Hampstead and the local preservationists. Accordingly plans were changed so that the location was moved to a point just across the borough boundary. On this basis platforms, but not access shafts, were actually constructed for a station.

It was at this point that the intended name for the tube stop was changed from North End to Bull and Bush. The station, which never opened, was used for storage of archives in the First and Second World Wars.

Anyone out there know any more? I sense a long walk around North End to locate any vestige of this construction...

On the Belsize bunker (pictured) it goes something like this: after heavy bombing in mid-1940, it was decided to build deep shelters in October. Eight shelters were commissioned and completed in 1942 beneath existing underground stations. Of these seven were on the Northern Line. They consisted of two parallel tunnels about 1200 feet long, divided into two floors. Each 100ft underground and contained 8000 bunks, canteen and hospital facilities. Now you can still see the bunkers...

There's more on the development of Belsize, Hampstead and the local area here:


Jonathan Calder said...

There is more information here.

Anonymous said...

I will be wandering up there...