Barbican tube station

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Barbican London Underground
Barbican tube station MMB 02.jpg
Looking east along the platforms at Barbican
Barbican is located in Central London
Location of Barbican in Central London
Location Barbican
Local authority City of London
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 4 (2 in use)
Fare zone 1
London Underground annual entry and exit
2010 Decrease 8.870 million[1]
2011 Increase 9.23 million[1]
2012 Increase 9.85 million[1]
2013 Increase 10.46 million[1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2006–07 0.045 million[2]
Key dates
23 December 1865 (23 December 1865) Opened as Aldersgate Street[3]
1 November 1910 Renamed as Aldersgate[3]
24 October 1924 Renamed as Aldersgate & Barbican[3]
1 December 1968 Renamed as Barbican[3][4]
1976 Services from Great Northern line via Widened Lines ceased
1982 Electrified services from Bedford commenced
2009 Thameslink services ceased
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′13″N 0°05′52″W / 51.5202°N 0.0977°W / 51.5202; -0.0977

Barbican is a London Underground station in the City of London, known by various names since it opened in 1865. It takes its current name from the nearby Barbican Estate and Barbican Centre.

The station is served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and is situated between Farringdon and Moorgate stations, in fare zone 1. Until 2009, Barbican was additionally served by Thameslink services to and from Moorgate.


Barbican station lies in an east-west-aligned trench with cut-and-cover tunnels at either end. The modern entrance gives access from Aldersgate Street, through a 1990s building, to a much older footbridge leading to the eastern end of the platforms. Aldersgate Street is where the station has always stood; the street itself took its name from Aldersgate, a gate in the old London Wall. To the north of the station are the rears of buildings that face onto Charterhouse Street, Charterhouse Square and Carthusian Street. To the south are the rears of buildings that face onto Long Lane, and to the west is Hayne Street. The station is close to the Barbican Estate, Barbican Centre, City of London School for Girls, St Bartholomew-the-Great, and Smithfield.

The cut-and-cover nature of the station can be seen by the steep walls and surrounding buildings

The station is mostly open to the elements, though there are some short canopies. The remains of the supporting structure for a glass canopy over all four platforms (removed in the 1950s) may still clearly be seen. At the west end of the central island is a disused signal box. Also from this end of the platforms may be seen the beginnings of the complex of tunnels leading under Smithfield meat market. Livestock for the market was at one time delivered by rail and there was a substantial goods yard under the site.

Platform 1 is the most northerly, serving eastbound trains. Platforms 2 and 3 form an island platform, with platform 2 serving westbound services. Platforms 3 and 4 are not used.


The station was opened on 23 December 1865 with the name Aldersgate Street. The station's name was shortened to Aldersgate on 1 November 1910 and it was renamed again on 24 October 1924 to Aldersgate & Barbican. Its present name was adopted on 1 December 1968.

The station replaced an earlier building at 134 Aldersgate Street, which for many years had a sign claiming "This was Shakespeare's House".[5] Although the building was very close to the nearby Fortune Playhouse, there is no documentary evidence that Shakespeare lived there; a subsidy roll from 1598 shows a "William Shakespeare" as the owner of the property, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the playwright.

The station exterior view in 1981

Train services were disrupted during the Second World War when the station suffered severe bomb damage in the Blitz, particularly in December 1940.[6] This led to the removal of the upper floors, and in 1955 the remainder of the street-level building was demolished.[7]

Passenger trains from the Great Northern line, via the York Road and Hotel curves at King's Cross to the Widened Lines, ran until the Great Northern electrification of 1976 when platforms 3 and 4 were closed. These platforms were reopened as part of the Midland City line in 1982 with services from Luton and Bedford.

The Thameslink lines on the south side of the station are no longer in use. The signal box seen here (R) will be demolished as part of the Crossrail redevelopment.

The Thameslink platforms at Barbican were closed in March 2009 as part of the Thameslink Programme to allow Farringdon to have its mainline platforms extended across Thameslink's Moorgate branch.[8] As a result, Barbican is no longer a multimodal station.

A display on the history of the station, including text and photographs, is just inside the barriers, on the southern side of the main entrance corridor.

Future developments[edit]

When Crossrail is completed, Farringdon's eastern ticket hall will be just to the west of Barbican station, and an interchange will be built here.[9] This will involve significant changes at the western end of the station, including the demolition of the former signal box and the provision of a new footbridge spanning the tracks.[10]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 16 December 1866, three passengers were killed, a guard was seriously injured and one other person suffered shock when a girder collapsed onto a passenger train in Aldersgate Street station.[11]


London Buses routes 4, 56, 100 and 153 serve the station.


  1. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ a b c d Butt (1995), page 14
  4. ^ Butt (1995), page 26
  5. ^ Winter, William (1910). Seeing Europe with Famous Authors: Literary Shrines of London. London: Moffat, Yard & Co. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Air raid damage on Aldersgate Street". London Transport Museum. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. 
  7. ^ "The Underground at War". Nick Cooper. 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. 
  8. ^ "Thameslink Programme - FAQ". First Capital Connect. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. 
  9. ^ "Crossrail - Farringdon (1)" (PDF). Crossrail. February 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-12-16. 
  10. ^ "Crossrail Context Report: City of London" (PDF). Crossrail. 
  11. ^
  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199. 
  • Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards Hammersmith
Circle line
towards Edgware Road (via Aldgate)
Hammersmith & City line
towards Barking
Metropolitan line
towards Aldgate
  Disused Railways  
Farringdon   First Capital Connect
Peak hours only
  Historic Railways  
Farringdon   Great Northern Railway
Widened Lines