GES150 - Down St Tube Station
Of all the ghost stations in London, this one is by far the best. It may not have much in the way of a surface station, basically an exit and the top of the ventilation vent area. The rest is owned by a shop and offices above. The Leslie Green building façade still exists though. Below ground it still has a lot of the original tiling, passageways and platforms. The platforms were converted along with the corridors during WWII for usage by the Railways Executive. More famously, it was used numerous times by Winston Churchill, who work, slept and according to legend, bathed here. Sadly when I visited, the bath Churchill is alleged to have used, had been removed. The station lived between 1907 - 1918, closed due to lack of use by the affluent residents of Mayfair.
The station had been accessible earlier in the year, but those who knew of it weren't keen to share with us. So later in the year, we found ourselves inside the station, and walked around with eyes open and huge smiles. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. An amazing explore.
The access from the surface is via the usual spiral stairs affair, similar to other stations. This is the bottom of the stairs in the Low Level Subway. The centre of of the spiral stairs was used as a lift during WWII. The dark red door with no unauthorized people sign on it, leads into the old passenger lift shaft. On the other side of the wall on the right. On the same wall, one can see a WWII sign for the Enquires & Committee Room, no longer present.
The following corridor was divided up into different rooms, getting to the end involved a 2ft wide passage. (image taken from SubBrit Site). The old lift shaft can be seen at the top of the photo with an oblong in it. The pic above was taken at the gas lock by the General Typists Room, just below the old vent.
Looking at the spiral stairs from further back, directly in front of the camera is a raised area, this was the General Typists Room. The barrier is where a wall would have been one presumes, and the 2ft corridor is on the other side. Behind the camera is a curve to the long straight section.
The long straight section of the Low Level Subway (LLS), behind the camera is the curve that joins the above pic. Directly infront of the camera would have been a secretary pool, and beyond that up to the no access sign on the left, would have been the main committee room, previously signposted on the wall. The no access sign on the left, marks the crossover passage (now sealed) to the other Low Level Subway (from here on referred too as the LLSP (Low Level Subway for Passengers)). There is also a set of stairs here up to the High Level Subway. The LLS narrows for the bridge over the tracks at the end.
The bridge over the tracks at the end of the LLS. This area was used as a book room and ended in a gas lock. You can just make out the uprights on either side of the passage for the gas lock after the metal bridge arch shields. The stairs to the running tunnels and platforms are on the right.
The LLS ends at the top of these stairs, as seen in the above shot. I love all the tiling here and throughout. As I was taking these shots, trains were whizzing by either side on the Piccadilly line.
A simplified shot of the station layout. Either side of this sign are emergency exit doors, where staff or passengers can be evacuated from the traffic.
The Eastern end of the platforms, gives the only glimpse of the original platform. Behind the red box on the right, is a cupboard that has the only remnant of the name of the station. See below. This is the Eastbound running tunnel, so up the tunnel on the right will eventually open again at Green Park.
This shows the same shot as above, but the reverse angle. Looking down the right hand side is the Eastbound 'platform'. You can see the raised brick detail on the tunnel ceiling. You can also see how the whole platform has been bricked up. The light green door leads to the dormitories section.
At the end of the Eastbound platform is a cupboard, with all that's left of an indicator that this was D0wn st. The tiling at the end marks the end of the platform before the tunnel.
The Eastbound Running Tunnel (ERT), leading to Green Park.
The Eastbound 'platforms' and fully bricked up sections. GE077 getting in the way! Service had ended at this point, so we were able to wander on the tracks.
The Westbound Running Tunnel (WRT), from Green Park.
The tunnel on the left that drops in height, is the WRT to Hyde Park Corner, The tunnel on the right is actually only a couple of metres long, as it opens into a larger area, where it's joined by another track to form a 'Y' shape. The lower part of the 'Y' is the Reversing Siding going down to Hyde Park Corner. There are 3 tunnels next to each other at this point. The ERT is out of shot to the right.
Looking East up the Westbound platforms. The door in the wall on the left leads to a storage area. I was rather taken by the detail above the door, as it looks rather art deco, but the station closed before the movement became popular.
The reversing siding which runs down to Hyde Park Station, note the walkway on the left. This is used to store trains, or allow them to go over to the other set of tracks during service for whatever reason.
Looking East from the end of the Reversing tunnel. The ERT is on the left up the tracks, and WRT is on the right with the lights along the far wall. The platforms start just after the short connecting tunnels on either side.I love this picture, the sense of symmetry aside, it's just the god damn sexiness of those slinky, curvy tracks. Unlike twits that don't tuck there belt's in properly and look a prat as a result.
The righthand tunnel is the ERT from Hyde Park Corner, the Reversing tunnel is on the left.
Looking up the Eastbound platforms. The emergency exit door is by the 50 sign on the wall, pretty much dead centre in this picture.
Self explanatory. This leads into the area at the bottom of the stairs with station direction boards for this line and map of the station.
The Westbound mid section of the platforms. The wall on the right is the one next to the live tracks. The tunnel curves around on the left behind the other wall to form rooms. The rooms are grey featureless rooms of varying sizes. (see Vimeo video of this station - see bottom of page).
The Westbound mid section of platforms. Note the curve of the left wall. The normal 2ft passage sits on the other side of the right wall, and the tracks the far side of that. This used to be the pantry area, and through the doorway would have been the kitchen area.
The next section sits between the main stairwell from the street, and the main corridor to the platforms.
From the LLS near where the committee room was, as mentioned above, a passage leads off into this section. The cut off doorway on the extreme right leads off to the LLSP. The passage leads off to the left at the top to various bathrooms and toilets. The doorway up the first few steps just leads into an identical area up the steps, and one exits at the top of the stairs.
The women's bath at the top of the stairs.
The staff lavatories, for the hoi palloi. p>
This is the Staff Bathroom, and said to be the one Churchill is believed to have used. However the bath that used to sit along the opposite wall to the boiler, has been removed in the last few years.
The executive bath, not for the workers. Probably had the very finest bubble bath and soothing music playing, after a hard day ordering people around.
An executive also needs somewhere to dispose of his rich food and find time for quiet contemplation, so the executive toilets here are just the job.
A shot down the High level subway, the stairs down are on the right at the end. The doorway on the left leads to the Female lavatory. Behind the camera is a door to the spiral stairway.
Half way up the spiral stairs, with the door to the high level subway behind the camera.
The stairs to the surface.
The old lift shaft, and now used as a ventilation shaft. The stair ladders on the left lead up to the next level of the vent. From there a vertical ladder goes up to the next level. The next section has no ladders, so one must climb the vent shaft wall, the same as seen below. Climbing up and holding on to the bolts. It's only a 7-8m climb, but is still a little scary. The two openings on the far side of the vent from the camera are the entrance and exit sides to the lift. They both lead down the tunnel seen on the right hand opening with a dirty lower wall. Originally a lift would have gone up and down this shaft.
The lift shaft from the other side. The exit on the left leads to a small area with a red door on the left, that comes out at the bottom of the spiral stairs. A door on the right leads into an area with a couple of bits of ventilation equipment. You can see this area with the oblong lit up opening next to the exit doorway.
At the lift entrance/exit area. The LLSP is on the left, the lift/vent shaft the right.
The LLSP, originally passengers would have walked down here to the tracks. It has been disused since the station closed, as the dust and dirt shows.Bits of original tiling can be seen on the left wall.
Further down the LLSP, a blocked off area on the right near the camera.
The end of the LLSP, the arrow on the end wall points to the stairs down to the tracks for the passengers. The blocked off passageway on the right leads into the stairs up to the high level subway, and the LLS. The arched metal plates mark the bridge over the Piccadilly line tracks below.
The LLSP stairs down to the tracks.
GE077 had already finished his exploring of the station, and was sat up in the lift vent. I said I wanted another 10mins, and would join him. As I opened the red door to the base of the spiral stairs, I saw a huge pair of track pliers like tool, sat open at the bottom of the stairs. I could also hear voices somewhere above me. Obviously track workers were about. I quickly closed the door, and shot up the shaft to join GE077, and we climbed the ladder up to the next section. There I went first to climb the vent wall, holding onto two thick pipes that ran up the wall as I went. GE077 followed, and we climbed the final ladder out of the vent, and back to the outside.
All in all, as the length and number of photos in this write-up suggest, this was a rather awesome explore, and cheers for GE077 for perseverance on this one.