Last Saturday, I got an amazing opportunity to learn all about the history of London’s famous Underground, followed by an exclusive tour of a decommissioned Underground station, and it was an amazing and unforgettable experience!
We got to start our day by learning all about how the Underground system came to be, and saw its progression from its one tube line in 1863, the Metropolitan line, in central London, to the 9 zoned, 10+ lined train system it has become today.
After learning about the rich history of the Tube and the Underground system as a whole, we took advantage of a beautiful day and an even more beautiful view before heading down into dark.
After taking in this beautiful view, we trekked over to the decommissioned station that would take us back in history.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures during our tour of the station, but I can tell you that we did get to learn a lot about those who sought shelter down there during World War II. When the German bomb raids began, hundreds of thousands of people took refuge in the Tube stations. Many were reinforced with special doors as well to basically seal the station off in case a gas bomb threat was detected, although there’s no way of knowing if or how well these would have worked. All of those evacuated to the stations carried gas masks with them as well. Here, they slept, cooked, and even worked throughout the blitz happening overhead. Some trains even continued to run as well, bringing in others looking to seek shelter in these stations. They got food, beds, toilets, baths, and one station was even converted into an underground Operations Room for anti-aircraft control.
The whole day was an amazing experience that I am beyond grateful to have gotten the chance to do, and what I have learned and what I have gotten to see will always stay with me. Especially every morning when I walk by my own local tube station (which still has the same old fashioned red stone design), and every time I ride the tube.