The number of places available for tours of disused Tube stations, including Churchill’s “secret station”, has been trebled after soaring public demand.
About 17,000 tickets will go on sale next week, allowing rare public access to Down Street, the Piccadilly line station used by the Cabinet during the Second World War.
There will be new tours of 55 Broadway, the former headquarters of London Underground that was the capital’s first skyscraper, and of the “lost tunnels” under Euston station.
There will also be the opportunity to visit the mile-long subterranean shelter at Clapham South station. One of eight wartime shelters, it provided safe refuge during the Blitz and was later used to house Caribbean migrants who arrived on SS Windrush in 1948, and thrifty visitors to the Festival of Britain in 1951.
Tours of Aldwych and Charing Cross, both unavailable this year due to planned refurbishment work, have previously sold out in 48 hours. London Transport Museum, which organises the Hidden London tours, has set up an online priority booking system to speed access to tickets when they go on sale next Wednesday (April 20).
Down Street is located between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner stations and was closed in 1932 due to low passenger numbers. During the war, it was converted into the Railway Executive Committee’s bomb-proof bunker.
Churchill was provided with 1928 Perrier-Jouet champagne, brandy and Cuban cigars when he used it prior to the opening of the Cabinet War Rooms. Tours costing £75 will include tea from the nearby 5-star Athenaeum hotel.
The “labyrinth of dark and deserted passageways” under Euston includes a gallery of poster fragments concealed for more than 50 years. The tour of 55 Broadway costs £27.50 and will show the Art Deco designs of the Grade 1-listed building, which is being converted into housing and offices.
Chris Nix, assistant director of collections at London Transport Museum, said: “Our visitors will have a rare opportunity to see a secret side of London and discover the amazing stories of the people who are connected to these hidden spaces.”
David Burns, assistant commercial director at London Transport Museum, said: “They are a great example of how a charity like London Transport Museum can use an entrepreneurial approach to raise funds to safeguard its transport heritage.”
Last year Transport for London began inviting bids to bring Down Street back to life as an art gallery or restaurant. Six other “ghost” stations were also to be marketed as part TfL’s plan to raise generate £3.4 billion in revenue from its vast property portfolio.
* To register for advance booking, visit: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/enews