Northern Line


KING WILLIAM STREET - Pt.5

(1890-1900)

King William Street was the northbound terminus of the City & South London railway -
the world's first electric underground railway. Originally designed to be cable hauled, the
line proved popular and the original terminii (Stockwell at its southern end) were too small
to cope with the resultant passenger numbers.



 

 

 

 

Staircase with tiling intact from its railway days. This led to the emergency stairs.

 

 

 

An existing staircase at Elephant & Castle station, the only remaining one on the Northern Line that still has a section of the tiling dating from the opening of the line.

(Photo: 2005)

 

 

 

World War II plans to convert the King William Street tunnels south of the river into wartime air-raid shelter use, had nine proposed entrances, although only six were subsequently built. The tunnels north of the river were converted to private air-raid shelter use by the owners of Regis House (built in 1933 on the site of the previous station building). One of the entrances was the original emergency staircase down to the station. Another was constructed on the other side of King William Street and is the one seen here.

The southern section entrances were built at or adjacent to:

  1. Marlborough Yard, behind 116 Borough High Street
  2. St Margaret's Court, 62-64 Borough High Street
  3. George House, 75-85 Borough High Street
  4. 9 London Bridge Street
  5. 143 Borough High Street
  6. St George the Martyr's Church, Borough High Street


All of these entrances were demolished in 1959/60 and the access routes filled with concrete. Only the lower level of the London Bridge Street one was kept in use to provide access to the tunnels from London Bridge station.

 

 

 

Commemorative plaque on the building where the street level entrance once stood. The current building is the second one to be built on the site since the station's closure. The lift shaft was filled with concrete during construction of Regis House in 1933.

(Photo: 2006)

 

 

 

The commemorative plaque in its relation to the Monument, another commemorative icon, the height of which is the distance away from it where the Great Fire of London started in 1666.

(Photo: 2006)

 

 

 

Getting a sense of perspective of something deep underground from a point high above the ground. This photo, taken from the top of the Monument, shows the building that replaced Regis House. Regis House itself was a replacement of the original building that housed the station ticket office and lift shafts.

The street on the bottom right of the photo is where part of the King William Street station site starts (approximately half way along the street, where the bollard is on the right hand side in the sunlight). The single tunnel of the station and its crossover continues under the road (King William Street itself) and across to Arthur Street. The curve of Arthur Street is apparent from this photo and as the tunnels follow the line of the road, they have the same sharp curve.

(photo: 2009)

 

 

 

Interior of the one of the carriages used at the time King William St was open.

This particular one was on display at London's Transport Museum in Covent Garden.

(photo: 2004)

 

 

 

Returning to the subject of London Bridge station - this is the original (deep level) station building that was opened when King William Street station was closed. It still stands, albeit not for passenger use, having survived two reconstructions of the station; one for the recent arrival of the Jubilee Line extension and an earlier one for the introduction of escalators to the station in the 1960s. The decommissioned lift shaft is used for ventilation and is actually crossed by 'bridge' by passengers between the bottom of the Northern Line escalators and the Northern Line platforms.

 

 

For Frederick Delaitre's page about the history of King William Street, click here.


 

Reference: The Railway to Kings William Street and Southwark Deep Tunnel Air-Raid Shelter by Peter Bancroft. LURS 1981.

 


 

North End / Bull & Bush (Northern Line)

 

 

Photos taken between 1977 and 1981, except where stated.