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The History (shamelessly ripped from Wiki) Holborn tramway station was a tram stop underneath Kingsway in central London, England. It was built in 1906 by the London County Council Tramways as part of the Kingsway Tramway Subway joining the separate networks of tramways in North and South London. When opened it was named Great Queen Street. Tram services commenced on 24 February 1906, running from Angel to Aldwych, the next station in the subway. Through services across London began on 10 April 1908, running from Highbury station through Holborn and then east to Tower Bridge or south to Gate. The routes that used the Kingsway Subway were numbered 31, 33, and 35. Following the decision to withdraw tram services in London and replace them with buses, the station closed just after 12.30am on 6 April 1952. Much of the station remains in the disused subway but there is no public access. Following it's closure, the station was used as a backdrop various TV shows & films. Most notably it was featured in the 2008 film The Escapist, as a fictional London Underground station called "Union Street", which was said to be on the Northern Line between Elephant & Castle and Borough. Remains of the film props, such as a fake tube map and a Union Street tube roundel, can still be seen pasted to the walls of the station. The props date from 2008, and are not part of the original station. In 2009 the subway and station was the venue for an art installation, Chord, by Conrad Shawcross. The Explore This was a short but sweet explore that we did while on the way to something else. I did this one with my missus & partner in crime Vixxie , as well as @extreme_ironing . We started off the night with a quick round in one of the local watering holes, to give us a spot of Dutch courage & to catch up with goings on & such. We then made our way over to the entry point, which was rather fun to say the least. It’s pretty pedestrian as far as this type of splore goes, but it’s still a rather bait affair. Needless to say, the Dayglo invisibility cloak was in full effect! Once we were all in, we had a scope of the area. Having heard about a lot of activity at one end of the place, we were slightly on edge. We decided to go over to the other side first, & soon we arrived at the old poster boards. They look pretty plain in themselves, just large metal panels with a surround, but together with original cream & olive green brickwork, you could easily imagine what it was like when the place was in operation. I took a couple of shots from here, which wasn’t easy. I imagine it would have been some time ago, that is until someone fucked a giant concrete wall through the middle of the platform! After this we got to a large open room with pillars running down it. Walking through got progressively difficult, with the sloping ceiling tapering to nothing at the far side. Half way down we found a little tunnel offshoot which we crawled into. The tunnel started to curve around quite sharply, we worked out that this is where Kingsway becomes the Strand. After a bit of a tight walk through, the tunnel came to an abrupt end. Rested against the wall was a workman’s ladder, which lead up to what looked like a ledge. Being rather curious I decided to go up & have a look. Up top there was a large plastic cover which capped off the space, I thought “that’s odd”, & so I pulled it up to have a look. What I didn’t realise is that it wasn’t a ledge or crawl space at all, rather the top of the wall, & over the other side was the busy road tunnel! With nothing else to see there, we headed over to the money shots, which were the fake Union Street roundels & propaganda posters. Even though they aren’t real, seeing them still gives you that sense that you’ve found something special. I especially enjoyed the poster board, which was rammed full of old wartime posters & fliers. What I didn’t know about & what was a nice find were all of the old cast iron street lights piled up along one side. It seemed a shame that they weren’t being put to use, but part of me was thinking it’s nicer to see them here than painted up all new like on the streets. We gathered a few more snaps of the place, whilst being cautious of movement further along the tunnel. Not wanting to push our luck, & needing to continue to the next location, we made our way back out. The Pics 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Thanks for looking
Thought it was about time these photos saw the light of day, it was 2 years ago now, FFS where does the time go. A Brief history of the Kingsway exchange. Kingsway started out life as the Chancery Lane deep shelter. This was constructed as part of the war effort to provide shelter to Londoners from the blitz, although it was never actually used for this purpose. After the war use passed to the public record office who used it for storing many tons of documents. After several years of use for that purpose, the decision was made to adapt the shelter to become a hardened trunk exchange for the then GPO run telephone system. In order to serve this purpose the complex was vastly extended, with 4 new large diameter tunnels built to one side of the existing parallel tubes that formed the shelter. The complex really was quite vast by the time this work was done, and in its hayday through the 50s-70's housed many tones of exchange equipment, something like 300 miles of cable, several generaters, air conditioning plant, staff facilities, kitchens etc. etc. evidence of most of this can still be seen in there to this day. By the 1980's however the importance of the facility started to decline as the telephone networks changed and evolved and by the 1990's there was very minimal equipment left in the exchange. For a while in the late 80's part of it was used as the Kingsway computer centre which provided secure backup facilities and a paging network to parts of London. Since that ceased operation, the only real use of Kingsway has been for storage. A smalll part of it was also used briefly as the headquarters of a goverment organisation, although details on this are sketchey. There is a fantastically detailed history on subbrit for anyone who cares to read it. Our Explore My memories of this evening are a little hazy, but I know it started with myself and SirJohnnyP checking out a certain well known reservoir and bumping into a few others who, as it turns out, were also heading to the same place later in the night - bonus. We actually ended up with a fairly sizeable group, think there were about 8 or 9 of us in the end, which is totally bonkers for a site like this. We spent several hours in here. This place is vast, it's one of the largest underground complexs in London and you really can feel the size of the place when you're down there. Probably one of the best places I've ever has the opportunity to explore. Explored with Sirjohnnyp, Raptor Jesus, Elliot and others who I forget now. So here's my selection of photos. Quite a lot of the complex consists of empty tunnels like these But there's still a lot of plant in place Ventilation This one was still running Generators Main power distribution The MDF (Main Distribution Frame) Air cooling and dehumidifying plant Some cool signs Other bits of equipment just dotted around the place Before the internet existed this is how businesses connected their network together. Thanks for Looking :-) Maniac.