GES225 - Highbury & Islington GN&CR Disused Station
Originally opened in the summer of 1904, as stated on the building itself. It was opened by the Great Northern & City Railway company for it's Underground line from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. This has since been torn up, and the line used by the Victoria Line. See GE087 for more on that. The station was disused after the Victoria Line opened in the 1970s, and a new building, the current station, was built on the other side of the street.
I may have said it before, but this really is one of the easiest bits of tube I've ever done. GE077 tipped me off that it was doable, but only that there was a bit of ticket hall and some stairs. I didn't think much of it, and left it for months. I then asked GE079 along, and we rocked up. I wasn't expecting a) to get in, or b) there to be much to photograph. I even told the girlfriend I'd only be gone a couple of hours. As we got to the door, I pushed it, expecting nothing, but it opened and I could clearly see inside! We checked around, and quickly popped inside. The first thing I heard was the sound of a train going by beneath us with a gust of tube dust. Hmmm, GE077 didn't mention track access. We looked down the lift shaft and could hear passengers in a passage somewhere. As well as a train pulling away. Interesting! The picture below has the old entrance from the main street at the far end, and nearer the camera the two former lift entrances.
Reverse shot of the above, showing the shutter door. A lift shaft sits on the left. The access was on the other side of the lift shaft.
Outside the building on the main street, we could hear members of the public passing by, buses breaking and accelerating. It put ones nerves on edge. Every time a train pulled in below, the gush of air would rattle the shutters, making us jump. Stairs lead down to the basement level of the station.
High voltage stuff in the basement.
The old part of the station, this corridor lead to some toilets and stairs down to the tracks.
The toilets with some original tiling from 1904, or maybe the re-brand in 1913, when the Metropolitan railway took over. Either way, likely these are around a 100 years old. Toilet stalls on the left, possibly a shower on the far back right.
Small area between the long corridor seen above, and the 2 entrances to the toilets on the right.
180 degrees from the shot above, the steps lead down to a passage. Likely these once lead to stairs down to the platforms. Just out of shot around the corner is a new-ish looking wall with a locked modern door in it.
The stairs from the ground floor, had another section that ran parallel to the long basement corridor seen above. It's the narrow section seen in the picture below. It's mainly a corridor opening into a small room where the camera sits. A modern door sits in the right of the camera, similar to the one in the picture above. A nice old fireplace feature was the main impetus for this shot.
Having finished looking around the station building, and being happy it wasn't pir'd or had cctv. We set about descending the former lift shaft. A crane is fitted across the lift shaft, hence the steel beam poking out in the first photo. One can just make out the two lift entrances on the other side of the shaft. Just visible on the right is a ventilation pipe that goes from the track level to the roof. We descended the orange ladder...
Towards the bottom, there was a dicey moment when we had to pass grill vents with passengers walking by either side. No one appeared to take any notice of the vents. We descended two more ladders, and we were at the bottom of the shaft. A mesh door then opened onto the tracks. Looking one way we could see a train approaching around a bend. I quickly dragged the camera back, as the driver would clearly see us in the gloom when his lights hit.
We stood back as the train rolled past.
GE079 take some shots first. The trains were coming pretty thick and fast, about 2-3mins apart. When my turn, I knelt down and set up my shot, catching the light trails of the train slowing into the station.
The trains didn't stop in the station long, so putting the camera down, twisting it into position, and trying to get 15 or 20 seconds was pretty hard. Also the backdraft of air from the train coming down the tunnel meant the pictures were a bit shaken. This was the best of the batch of a Northbound Vict0ria line train sat in the platform.
And this was the best shot I could get of a train pulling away.
Job done, we climbed up the outside of the scaffolding, as it was quicker and less hassle then taking the ladders. On the way up, I stopped to grab a pic of the grills on the passenger subway down to the platforms. I then caught up with GE079 at the top of the shaft, and we checked we had everything and walked out. Sheepishly pushing the shutter closed. Lord knows why it wasn't locked.
A bit cheeky to explore a tube station, and then get the tube home from it. Inside the modern station building across the H0lloway Rd, this is the ventilation grill painted blue, that appears in the shot above. We could also see people walking up from the grill on the right next to the dome cam. Felt weird sitting there watching people go by, having no clue we were there.
And on that bombshell, it was time to catch our trains home. An evening that turned out much better than I imagined. Cheers to GE079 for providing company and laughs.
I went back a fortnight later to take some shots on 35mm film, however sadly the shutter was locked.