General LU photos

This page was last modified on 28 September 2013

This page is a home for pictures that I’ve taken on London Underground which aren’t specifically illustrating a train (those can all be found in the Underground Trains pages), and which aren’t part of a more specific article.

London Bridge station alterations

low-level concourse at London Bridge station: 79kB]

In 1996 the southbound Northern Line, City Branch, was closed for a period to allow various works to be carried out; when it re-opened, the track-bed of the southbound platform at London Bridge had been filled in, and a new southbound platform tunnel dug, allowing the old southbound platform to become a central concourse. The above picture was taken during August 1998 in the new central concourse, looking north towards Bank; all the works have now been completed and the new station complex at London Bridge for the Jubilee Line Extension (now officially called the Extended Jubilee Line (EJL)) is fully operational. The above is not exactly a ‘before’ picture, rather a ‘during’; I still intend to provide an ‘after’ shot in due course.

Unusually, trains run on the right over this section of line, and so it is the platform through cross-passages to our right which is the northbound line, the new southbound tube being on the left. I am standing exactly where the centre doors of countless thousands of Northern Line trains passed over a period of nearly 96 years; the old platform edge was approximately where the reflection is seen on the floor tiles. The original entrance to the platforms was via the tunnel headwall behind the camera, and the bridges by which passengers crossed the northbound line can still be seen in that newly-lengthened platform. New bridges across the northbound platform now serve as an exit, the travellers leaving the concourse by way of the unusually-positioned staircase seen leading up and to the right in the picture. The reason for this re-arrangement is to allow for a very wide staircase, providing interchange with the Jubilee Line and a Way Out to Borough High Street, to be created. This ascends just behind the photographer.

Directly above this tunnel and the existing northbound station tunnel, are the 10ft 2in diameter twin running tunnels of the 1890 line to King William Street see here for historical background. These are a particular fascination of mine and, in time, will have a web resource dedicated to them.

Following the Jubilee Line works, the former southbound 1890s tunnel has been completely wiped away by the interchange arrangements with the EJL south of the Northern Line concourse, and partially removed over a short length near this point; these were viewed and photographed during a special visit courtesy of LUL management-grade staff at London Bridge station during 2000. In spite of its partial removal, however, the old southbound 1890 tunnel can still be glimpsed, near the north (far) end of this concourse: the new lighting fixtures shine some light upwards, illuminating the 1890s tunnel above where a ventilation hole connects old with new. If you share my fascination with the 1890s tunnels or want to know more, please email me using the link at the foot of this page.

Bank-Monument station complex

The Bank-Monument Complex is a conglomeration of five different below-ground stations, and boasts two 300-ft trav-o-lators, three ticket-halls, six lifts, ten platforms, and fifteen escalators in seven shafts, making it one of the largest and most complex subterranean railway stations anywhere in the world. John Rowland has cutaway maps of Bank-Monument and other complicated Underground stations, available on the London Underground Tube Station Maps section of his website.

Bank started out as three separate stations 100 yards apart: the Northern, the Central and the Waterloo & City. The Northern Line entrance is at Lombard Street, and its lift-shafts were constructed beneath St. Mary Woolnoth Church after underpinning it, removing its crypt and compensating it to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million pounds (1900 prices!). The stations of Bank and Monument were linked by escalator between the wars, with Monument station signs carrying the suffix for Bank; the escalator link was also shown on the Underground map. When the Docklands Light Railway’s new station was built beneath the Northern Line platforms in 1991, the whole became known unofficially as the Bank-Monument complex (but the two ends retain their separate identities in the signage).

All public parts of the station complex underwent total refurbishment during the 1990s, with a pleasing style of tiling being much in evidence; the Central and Northern Line platforms’ tiling also incorporates the City of London Corporation motif, as the latter helped pay for the refurbishment in order to speed up the work, and reduce the delay to its commuters.

[PHOTO: lower landing of Northern Line lifts at the Bank: 48kB]

This view was taken at the top of the steps up from the north end of the Northern Line platforms. Travellers there can turn left for the Waterloo & City and Docklands, right for the lifts up to the Lombard Street ticket-hall and way out, or continue straight on past that busker along the low-level interchange tunnel to the Central Line. The latter link involves negotiating spiral steps built into the bases of two of the five disused Central-Line lift-shafts. As stated on the blue-on-white notice (since disappeared!) at the extreme right, the Lombard Street lifts and ticket-hall are only in operation Monday to Friday, 0600–1030 and 1630–2100.

The Central Line from the driver’s cab

During 1998 I was granted a cab ride through the deep-level tubes of the Central Line, and attempted to take some photographs during this. I could choose between blurring the picture, taking it when the train was stationary, or under-exposing it: one of each is shown here.

[PHOTO: (blurred) tube station as seen from the cab: 28kB]

Above: This is Bethnal Green westbound platform, and the blur accentuates the overhead strip lighting, the white platform-edge line and the colour-scheme in the station tube. Note: since this picture was taken, a red-painted cover has been fixed over the green/black area on the left in both tunnels, reason unknown. Above the blurred passengers can be seen the (then unhelpful!) dot-matrix indicator. Encroaching onto the left-hand side of the shot is the windscreen-wiper for the right-hand window.

driver's view of tube tunnel ahead (whilst stopped): 54kB]

When we were stopped at the far end of Bethnal Green station, just after the previous view, I steadied the camera against the glass of the central ‘M’ door and held the shutter open for as long as I had — about six seconds, by which time the driver was just starting to move the train. Visible is the extra-high positive conductor-rail on the left, and also the cable for the platform-to-train CCTV, laid between the central negative rail and the left-hand running rail; a triple-aspect signal showing green can be seen. Around the upper edges of the picture, larger tunnel segments have been used, as that part of the tube is almost within the station platform; the twin headlights of the 1992 stock train really provide far less view of the way forward than is suggested here by the station lights and long exposure. Note the miles of cable and cable-trunking crammed into the tube everywhere that the loading-gauge permits it. Just beyond the range of available light is a tunnel coming in from the right, which carries the trailing crossover track.

[PHOTO: tube station as seen from the cab: 39kB]

Liverpool Street westbound platform appears a bit dark and green in this picture, because of under-exposure as I tried to freeze the movement of the station past the train. The Public Address loudspeakers and pelmet board are painted in Central Line red.

Mind The Gap at Waterloo

[PHOTO: sharply-curved tube station platform: 53kB]

Above: The northbound Bakerloo platform at Waterloo. Note the lamps placed beneath the platform-edge coping-stones to draw attention to the gap between train and platform, and the decorative patterns in the platform floor tiling. (18:02hrs on 22 November 1998)

Waterloo on the Bakerloo Line, and Bank on the Central Line, are classic examples of the awkward rules which governed the early tube-line building: the companies were more or less obliged to build their railways solely beneath public roads, so sharp curves were required in some places.

Whilst taking this picture I also made some sound-recordings. Why? Because an automatic warning-announcement boomed out Mind The Gap! when each Bakerloo Line train called at the station, thanks to the sharply-curved platform creating an unavoidable gap between train and platform-edge.

About the announcement

The announcement dates from the late 1960s and, according to this 2003 article by Andrew Martin (or see the full text available locally) it featured the old-fashioned voice of one Peter Lodge, who was a sound-recordist in Bayswater. However, Andrew Martin has since written a 2013 article about ‘mind the gap’ in which he says he had always mistakenly believed that the recording in question was voiced by Peter Lodge, whereas in fact it is said to feature Oswald Laurence. More on that later.

The voice barked the command quite fiercely so that there was no possibility of misunderstanding it. The digital recording begins with a bong at middle C, followed by three renditions of Mind The Gap!; after a pause is one more repetition followed by the stern warning Stand Clear Of The Doors, Please. The manner in which he said it seemed to hint at just what might happen to you if you ignored his request: at the time (1998) I coined a nickname for him, The Shouty Man.

Recordings

My recording of Peter Lodge’s Mind The Gap announcement at Waterloo came out reasonably well (see also a longer recording in the older collection via my Audio page); his barked orders to cowering passengers continue to ring out in a recording which is already an historical document.

Subsequently, having been contacted by his son, I made a CD-R containing some of my recordings for Peter Lodge to amuse his visitors; and in June 2011 I provided one track of just the announcement (see link above) which was played at Mr. Lodge’s funeral.

Removal

In the late 1990s, and sadly for the Great British travelling public, London Underground must have decided that such simple down-to-earth announcements no longer fitted in with their corporate image, and The Shouty Man began to be phased out. I was just in time to catch the full announcement (at Waterloo) before it got replaced by a quieter one in which the voice sounds spineless and apologetic, having no authority at all; that at Bank on the Central Line platforms was removed in late 2003. Part of his message (the second phrase being omitted entirely) could still be heard until November 2012, but only on the Northern Line at Embankment northbound.

March 2013: Who’s this Oswald Laurence, then?

Something funny is going on. Mark Mason’s The Importance of Being Trivial ran an article about how the Peter Lodge announcement, which had been removed from Embankment platform, was now being revived at the request of his widow; a day or two later, the BBC ran a news article which clarified that the widow in question was that of one Oswald Laurence, but apparently containing the same recording that we know as the Peter Lodge recording.

There are further factors lending confusion to the mix. Mark Mason’s article indicates that the Oswald Laurence recording incorporates the word please (after Mind The Gap, one would presume), yet that is not the recording his widow plays on the CD in the news-video. An article in the Daily Mail also notes that the Laurence recording said please, and the writers also contacted Graham Lodge; however the article disagrees with the BBC in suggesting that Mr Laurence died 12 years ago, as opposed to in 2007. Their exquisite editorial standards ensured that another article, very substantially different, appeared the following day and with some of the facts corrected.

I don’t believe Peter Lodge and his son would have played someone else’s recording all this time; equally, I wouldn’t think the widowed Mrs McCollum would appear before the cameras and play someone else’s husband’s voice on a CD. But they can’t both be right…whose voice is actually on this famous recording?

September 2013: The conundrum remains… but here is a plausible explanation

I have been in touch with a Communications Manager at LU who was responsible for the re-instatement of the recording at Embankment. The simple fact of the matter is that nobody really knows whose stentorian voice is on this wonderful old recording.

One very plausible hypothesis (in spite of a parenthetical denial in Andrew Martin’s 2013 article, linked above) runs like this:

Oswald Laurence may indeed have been the actor, hired by the Scotsman from Telefunken, whose agent had sought in vain for repeat fees. As Laurence had done his work as agreed, one assumes he would still have been paid his £50 fee. But the agent, upon failing to secure repeat fees, might very understandably have chosen not to tell Oswald of this—leaving the actor none the wiser that the recording for which he was paid was never actually used.

In the subsequent re-recording which we know happened, Peter Lodge may well have intentionally mimicked the actor’s voice: it was the intended result, after all.

A futher 23 years would elapse before Oswald Laurence met Margaret McCollum, by which time his unwitting misconception as to the identity of the voice on the public recording would be deeply seated.

In this way, two separate parties would each have known that it was their voice on the recording.

Ultimately, of course, we may never know.

Angel station

[PHOTO: extra-large tube station platform: 50kB]

Angel station was originally laid out with an island platform serving two tracks, fitted into one 30-ft station tube (in the same way as Clapham North, Clapham Common and Euston (City Branch)). Euston was rebuilt in the 1960s to acommodate the then new Victoria Line; Angel was not rebuilt until the early 1990s, when the growth of local commuter-traffic from new offices in the area caused the narrow island platform to become dangerously crowded during the rush-hour. The other two have not been rebuilt. This view shows the southbound platform following rebuilding, with an obvious blank; on the far headwall where the northbound tube used to be. As at Euston, the northbound line was diverted into a new tube which runs further to the west (naÔvely taking the direction of travel as actually being northwards!); at Angel the new tube is reached via the cross-passages on the left. The 70-million pound rebuilding also included construction of the longest escalators in western Europe, and a completely new surface entrance to the station.

During the work, a vertical shaft was sunk from the surface so that it came down between the tubes; it provided an access route for the workers and the spoil excavated during construction of the new northbound tube. It is now used for ventilation and emergency escape purposes: louvres can be seen high up in the left-hand wall of this tube, whilst the cross-passage has alarmed doors leading to the escape route.

Finsbury Park station’s humped platforms

[PHOTO: tube station platform on a severe hump: 49kB]

Finsbury Park station was significantly altered during the Victoria Line works; the two Great Northern & City Rly platforms were severed from their line (which terminated at Drayton Park for years thereafter), and the southbound Piccadilly Line was moved into one of the GN&CR platforms (the s/b Victoria Line took the other). This is the s/b Piccadilly platform, and its remarkable feature is the severe hump on which it is built. Other tube platforms, such as Tottenham Court Road (Eastbound) on the Central Line, have noticeable gradient-changes in them; however none is as severe as this, nor extending throughout the length of the platform.

The rolling-stock on whose door I braced the camera is an unrefurbished train of 1973 stock, and its orange door-open light (in fact called an Outside Door Indicator Light) on this car is clearly visible. The hole in the tunnel headwall looks to be much larger than the tube train beside it: the GN&CR to Moorgate was constructed with full-size tunnels throughout, and in fact now carries class 313 main-line trains operated by West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN).

Aldwych disused station

[PHOTO: Main frontage of disused tube station: 66kB]

Aldwych station is on a short spur off the main Piccadilly Line, built because parliament refused to allow the company not to; a shuttle service worked during peak hours only to and from Holborn up until closure of Aldwych in 1994. The branch has long been used for filming, and now also provides space for storage …and apparently for the SAS to detonate bombs in trains!! At Holborn the gated-off Aldwych-bound platform (number 5) could until recently be seen through the cross-passages on the eastbound Piccadilly platform (the gates have now been replaced/covered by steel doors), while the never-used platform 6 is better hidden from public view.

Aldwych’s surface structure is of the standard Underground Group type, designed by Leslie Green and finished in glazed half-baked terracotta tiles; it has two frontages separated by a building on the street corner. This comparatively large frontage, complete with further buildings on top of it, is in Surrey Street, a side-street between the Strand and Temple Place. (Thursday 3 December 1998)

[PHOTO: `Strand' frontage of disused tube station: 55kB]

Why does the other frontage of the closed Aldwych station appear to suggest that it is called Strand? For that matter why do many older folk who, like my Dad, knew London better in the 1950s and rarely visit nowadays, keep referring to Charing Cross station as Strand? It doesn’t make sense!

Well actually, it does make sense — but only if you read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the contents of my Charing Cross/Strand/Embankment conundrum page!

That done, one can appreciate how it is that the frontage of Aldwych station on the Strand itself (illustrated above) carries the legend ‘Strand’ the reason being that some sort of awning was placed over the legend during its validity (between 1907 and 1915), and only removed since closure…

A view from The Monument

[PHOTO: aerial view onto London Bridge approach: 63kB]

What has this got to do with London Underground? Strictly speaking, nothing, but there is in fact a link… This picture shows the north end of London Bridge, and was taken from atop the Monument of the Great Fire of London (1666), early in the evening of Monday 10 June, 1996. The building-site between the bridge and the Monument is in fact the rebuilding of Regis House, unwittingly captured on film on (co-incidentally) the same day that I was ‘bitten’ by the London Underground bug. Part of the original Regis House was bought by the City & South London Railway for use as their offices, ticket-hall and passenger lifts down to their railway terminus beneath it — King William Street station. Following its short existence (1890 to 1900) the station was used as an air-raid shelter during World War II.

Had I known what might have been there for all to see at the time, I would have pointed my camera rather more that way, to show what (if anything) was visible of the old station beneath the foundations of the office-block. King William Street station survived this rebuilding of the offices above it, and access to/through it is maintained for/by LUL/TubeLines as it retains an operational purpose.