Hidden Underground
December 9, 2002 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Disused Stations on the London Underground - they're there, but we don't see them. This site gives a list of places to spot glimpses of these mysterious stations, as well as details of stations that were almost built. Fascinating for a Londoner, and perhaps something to look out for if you plan on visiting the city.
posted by Orange Goblin (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Goblin, are you familiar with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere? The London Underground serves as the backdrop for that book. It's a strangely compelling story, and might be a nice narrative intersection with the list you've provided. Just a thought.
posted by hank_14 at 9:31 AM on December 9, 2002

That's very cool. Thanks for the post. For those who dig this, check out the Masstransiscope site. It was installed in the abandoned Myrtle Ave. Station in NYC, and functions as a reverse zoetrope.
posted by risenc at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2002

And wasn't an abandoned Underground station used as a meeting place in "Die Another Day," the most recent James Bond movie?
posted by GaelFC at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2002

Yep, the site has info on that as well.
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:43 AM on December 9, 2002

hank_14 - Yes! Neverwhere. I loved that aspect of the book....
posted by taz at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2002

hank_14 - you beat me to it! Agree w/taz - that was my favorite part of Neverwhere. A friend of mine was working at the beeb at the time they were making the TV series so she gave me copies of the script plus all the raw footage. Didn't think they did a great job - the story deserved much more. And certainly sparked my interest in disused tube stations. Thx, Orange Goblin - next time I'm in London I'll definitely bring this info & do a tour.
posted by widdershins at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2002

Excellent link....thanks OG.

I always used to look out for the hidden stations when I lived in London.
posted by i_cola at 10:06 AM on December 9, 2002

If we're talking Underground Lit here, be sure to check out Geoff Ryman's 253, or Tube Theatre, an interactive novel available on the web.
posted by JollyWanker at 10:06 AM on December 9, 2002

Superb - I always wondered what that Eisenhower Centre was. Apparently the building opposite that is a real location...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:37 AM on December 9, 2002

"real MI6 location"
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:38 AM on December 9, 2002

Another site here and , of course, Subterranea Britannica
posted by Grangousier at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2002

very interesting much obliged for the link.
posted by johnnyboy at 11:16 AM on December 9, 2002

I had the shivers the entire time I read the descriptions and looked at the pictures. Things like that give me a VERY severe case of the heebie-jeebies.

And, I really have no idea why. I find 1000 year old ruins to be fascinating, but 100 year old ruins creepy.

Maybe the 100 year old ruins are too "new" and give a glimpse at what likely will occur, in a short time, to many of the places I frequent?

Good link.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:38 AM on December 9, 2002

there's also a site on disused NY subway stations which is faintly disturbing.
posted by anyanka at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2002

I walked past Aldwych nearly every day for four years and always wondered what was going on. It would have been handy if it was still open, I wouldn't have had to run uphill for lectures every morning from Temple.
posted by Saima at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2002

I've been fascinated with abandoned underground stations for a while now, and have found two great books on the subject: Abandoned Stations On London's Underground and London's Disused Underground Stations.

For great information on the Underground's history at a glance, you can't do much better than London Underground Diagrammatic History, a fold-out map (diagram, really) showing the history of each station in a compact form.

I suppose if I actually lived in london, I'd be in danger of taking up trainspotting. Oh, the shame.
posted by hades at 9:05 PM on December 9, 2002

Very nearly completely OT, but perusing the London Underground site, I noticed the *font* that, more than anything else, identified the pictures that displayed it as having positively been taken in in the london subway system. What is it about that font? (I vaguely recall having seen something about the font and the typefaces it borrowed from and spawned, but I'm lazy)
posted by notsnot at 11:05 PM on December 9, 2002

The font was designed in 1916 by Edward Johnston specifically for the Underground system, and is one of the most successful branding efforts I've ever seen. P22 sells a version of the font (there are links to more information there, too).
posted by hades at 11:46 PM on December 9, 2002

Dafont has a free version of the Tube font for PC.

Interesting link too. Thanks.
posted by jontyjago at 1:33 AM on December 10, 2002

Regarding descendants of Johnston's Underground font:

Johnston's protege, Eric Gill, based his Gill Sans on Underground. Gills Sans is a great typeface and it's seen everywhere-- especially in London.

Metafilter's default font Verdana is a simplified version of Gill Sans, so it's a grandchild of the Underground typeface. Use it in a printed document and the similarity is obvious.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:43 AM on December 10, 2002

Hades: Agree that the Tube font is a fantastic piece of branding (along with the 'spaceship' graphic device) but I've always thought this was in part due to it's exclusivity. Now it's available for commercial use it will still be instantly recognisable as the Tube font but every other use will dilute it's strength as a brand.

The diamonds on the i's and j's belong underground!
posted by niceness at 4:33 AM on December 10, 2002

Aaaaagggghhhh. It's Charing Cross, not Charring Cross. Unless the author's actually burnt a cross.
posted by Summer at 5:52 AM on December 10, 2002

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