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UK Highgate Station, London - April 2016

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History

Highgate Station was constructed in 1867, by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway, in a deep cutting that was excavated from Highgate Hill. The two tunnels penetrating the hillside from either side of the station were built some years before the station itself. Highgate Station was designed so that it had two side platforms and three tracks between them. A station building was constructed to the south end of the platform, along with a covered footbridge which connected the two platforms. The entire station was rebuilt in the 1880s, and a new central platform with two tracks flanking either side was constructed. The island could be accessed via a ticket office located in the middle of the footbridge.

The station was altered again in 1935, as part of the ‘Northern Heights’ project that sought to incorporate the Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace lines into the London Transport Network. The first stage of the project involved the construction of tube tunnels underneath Highgate Station. To provide an interchange between the new deep-level platforms and the existing surface platforms, a subterranean pedestrian network was built immediately beneath Highgate Station. Stairs and escalators were installed to connect the existing platforms with the new underground ones, and street entrances to the concourse were built on Archway Road and Priory Gardens. As the pedestrian footbridge was no longer required, it was demolished along with some parts of the original buildings. The remaining sections of the older buildings were redeveloped, together with the surface platforms themselves which received some minor alterations. 

Following World War Two, plans to improve Highgate Station were never fully completed. As other sections of London’s Railways required urgent maintenance, and were deemed more important as they were more central to the heart of the city, Highgate became less of a priority. Despite being labelled as ‘under construction’ for years on various maps, by the early 1950s passenger services at Highgate’s surface Station ceased, but freight traffic continued to pass through the station until 1964. After freight traffic ceased to operate on this section of the line, it was used only for occasional London Underground rolling stock transfers between Highgate Depot and the Northern City line; however, since it was never electrified the stock had to be pulled over the lines using battery-powered locomotives. All activity ceased on Highgate’s surface lines by 1970, due to the poor structural integrity of some of the nearby bridges. 

Presently, one of the original 1867 buildings still stands; this is rumoured to be used as a residential building. As for the station itself, a number of the older buildings were demolished, leaving only the 1940s structures standing. Plastic sheeting was used to cover the old track bed after the rails were removed, to prevent water from seeping into the northern lines concourse which lies below. Much of the old route between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is now part of the Parkland Walk; however, this bypasses the station for health and safety reasons. 

Our Version of Events

Getting into London by car wasn’t quite as bad as we’d imagined, but finding a spot to park was an absolute nightmare. As we toured the city for a bit, looking for somewhere to stop the car, we noticed that people seem to squeeze into any spot available; there were mere centimetres between some of them! Finally, after much searching, we found a space (thankfully) that wasn’t too far from Highgate Station. Judging by some of the cars that were parked near us, and the moss growing on their rooves, a few of them seem to have been there for a long time. Having witnessed this, we think we now understand, a bit more clearly, why there’s such a parking problem in London. 

Since we’d heard the station was situated in a hillside and surrounded by trees, we imagined finding it would be a bit of a challenge. As it turned out, however, we were wrong – it’s very visible. Gaining access wasn’t difficult either, which we were also surprised about given that there’s a busy station next door; we had gauged that it might be difficult to slip onto the old premises without being seen with such a high volume of people around. Once again we were mistaken in our assumption, as no one seemed to give a shit that we looked slightly suspicious milling around an abandoned site with tripods and cameras, meaning we were able to wander into the station very easily. Once onsite, even though people could probably see us quite clearly from the live station and a public footpath which runs alongside the platform, no one glanced our way; instead, everyone seemed more intent on rushing to wherever it was they were going. 

After a quick wander around the site it was obvious that there isn’t much there, and all of the tunnel portals are sealed, together with the additional doorway we found down the staircase on the main platform. The station itself was less impressive than it looked from old pictures we’d found of it, but it felt very odd, in a good way, being in part of the City of London that certainly didn’t feel like a city at all. Inside the small gully it was peaceful and we encountered trees and foxes – three things we never thought we’d find in the capital. The next fifteen minutes were spent taking in the quiet atmosphere and a few photographs, before we decided to head off to the next explore we had lined up. Overall, then, the site is perfect is you’re passing through the area, especially if you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle, but it’s probably not worth travelling from further afield to visit it. 

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and Husky. 
 

Looking west at Highgate Station in 1868, when it first opened. 

 

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Highgate Station in the 1880s, looking west, when the two side platforms were replaced. 

 

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The station in the early 1940s. The old 1800s toilet block was retained and incorporated into the overall design at this point.

 

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Some nice photos mate. Ive been afew times and yeah, its nice to just chill there. I sat ontop of the tunnels in the sun last summer there away from the busy streets. Nice write up 

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Really enjoyed this. Really well done and nice write up.  Having lived in various parts of London and being a car owner I understand the problem you had. I think some people just refuse to move their cars when they find a spot within three streets of their home and use public transport such is the risk you return home and have to park it as close as you can which is usually then Milton Keynes.  

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19 hours ago, DirtyJigsaw said:

Some nice photos mate. Ive been afew times and yeah, its nice to just chill there. I sat ontop of the tunnels in the sun last summer there away from the busy streets. Nice write up 


Sounds pretty chilled. Was really surprised to find a fox down there too. I thought London is all buildings and cars. Shows how much I know lol, I bet there are a few nice spots like this dotted around. 

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12 hours ago, Bonesout said:

Really enjoyed this. Really well done and nice write up.  Having lived in various parts of London and being a car owner I understand the problem you had. I think some people just refuse to move their cars when they find a spot within three streets of their home and use public transport such is the risk you return home and have to park it as close as you can which is usually then Milton Keynes.  


Thanks :) It's absolutely mad, there were some really nice cars sitting there too, with moss and mould growing on them. I've never seen people try to squeeze their cars in such small gaps before either. I understand the parking problem if you live there like, it must be pretty frustrating having to spent hours finding a spot after work, especially if it ends up being miles away. 

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Parking can be a nitemare in London sometimes, however once you realise that on a SUNDAY you can park on single yellow lines in most of London without an issue, it becomes somewhat easier (check the signs however) Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances park on double yellows or it'll cost you £260 to get your car back because they will tow it.

 

Best advice, park outside the main city and get the tube in, you can use contactless cards to tap in and out with. Get city mapper for your phone, it will guide you round and tell you what trains or busses to get.

 

the reason there's a lot of cars parked like that is because a lot of people in London own a car, but barely use it as public transport is pretty good in the city, so they just sit there for weeks/months without being moved. Sometimes you'll find they only use their car once or twice a year.

 

Nice set of photos from this place, looking a lot more overgrown these days!

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5 hours ago, Maniac said:

Parking can be a nitemare in London sometimes, however once you realise that on a SUNDAY you can park on single yellow lines in most of London without an issue, it becomes somewhat easier (check the signs however) Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances park on double yellows or it'll cost you £260 to get your car back because they will tow it.

 

Best advice, park outside the main city and get the tube in, you can use contactless cards to tap in and out with. Get city mapper for your phone, it will guide you round and tell you what trains or busses to get.

 

the reason there's a lot of cars parked like that is because a lot of people in London own a car, but barely use it as public transport is pretty good in the city, so they just sit there for weeks/months without being moved. Sometimes you'll find they only use their car once or twice a year.

 

Nice set of photos from this place, looking a lot more overgrown these days!


Haha, thanks for the tips. We didn't know about the yellow line thing on Sundays, so that's good to know. In the end we just ditched the car and used the tube to get around. It got a bit pricey after a while, but certainly beat being sat in a car for hours either in traffic or looking for a space to park. 

Cheers :thumb

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12 hours ago, WildBoyz said:


Haha, thanks for the tips. We didn't know about the yellow line thing on Sundays, so that's good to know. In the end we just ditched the car and used the tube to get around. It got a bit pricey after a while, but certainly beat being sat in a car for hours either in traffic or looking for a space to park. 

Cheers :thumb

 

If you use Oyster or tap in and out with a contactless card, the total cost is capped at a set amount per day, they just bill you once for all the journeys you've done that day. Also for small journeys, the bus is cheaper than the tube, but for longer journeys it can take a lot longer. City Mapper really is your friend, it tells you everything you need to know about getting around in London on public transport. Also regarding the single yellows, do look for signage. If there is no signage indicating times, then it's usually safe to assume you can park there on a sunday. If in doubt, do as the locals do. If there's other cars parked there then it's usually OK, but do look carefully - I've had my car towed in London before and it's no fun trying to get it back.

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23 hours ago, Maniac said:

 

If you use Oyster or tap in and out with a contactless card, the total cost is capped at a set amount per day, they just bill you once for all the journeys you've done that day. Also for small journeys, the bus is cheaper than the tube, but for longer journeys it can take a lot longer. City Mapper really is your friend, it tells you everything you need to know about getting around in London on public transport. Also regarding the single yellows, do look for signage. If there is no signage indicating times, then it's usually safe to assume you can park there on a sunday. If in doubt, do as the locals do. If there's other cars parked there then it's usually OK, but do look carefully - I've had my car towed in London before and it's no fun trying to get it back.


I will save this post for future reference :P Useful stuff to know. Thanks man. 

I can imagine getting towed in London is a proper ball ache. 

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