Highgate tube station
Entrance facing east on Priory Gardens
Location of Highgate in Greater London
|Local authority||London Borough of Haringey|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||2|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|1867||Opened as GNR station]])|
|1941||Opened Northern line platforms)|
|1954||Closed ex-GNR platforms|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portalCoordinates:|
Highgate station is a current London Underground tube station, and former railway station, on Archway Road, in the London Borough of Haringey in north London. The station takes its name from the nearby Highgate Village. It is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, between Archway and East Finchley stations and is in Travelcard Zone 3.
Highgate station was originally opened in 1867 as part of the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. The London Underground started serving the station in 1941, using new low level platforms, as part of their only partially completed Northern Heights plan. The platforms on the original railway line still exist, but were last used in 1954, and the section of the line through them to Finsbury Park was lifted by 1972. One of the original 1867 station buildings still exists, and is in use as a private house.
Highgate station was originally constructed by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway in the 1860s on its line from Finsbury Park station to Edgware station. Before the line was opened it was purchased in July 1867 by the larger Great Northern Railway (GNR), whose main line from King's Cross ran through Finsbury Park on its way to Potters Bar and the north. The railway to Edgware opened on 22 August 1867, and a branch to High Barnet station opened on 1 April 1872.
Because of the hilly terrain, the station was built in a deep cutting excavated from Highgate Hill adjacent to Archway Road. Tunnels penetrated the hillside at each end of the station, leading to East Finchley to the north and Crouch End to the south. As built the station had two side platforms, with three tracks between them and a station building on the south side. A footbridge linked the two platforms.
A branch line was constructed from Highgate to Alexandra Palace by the Muswell Hill Railway (MHR) and opened on 22 May 1872. The new branch split from the original route north of the station in a wide arc around Highgate Wood. The next station on the branch line when it opened was Muswell Hill, and in 1902 an intermediate station opened at Cranley Gardens.
In the 1880s, the station was rebuilt, with two tracks flanking a central island platform instead of the two side platforms. The island platform was accessed from a ticket office in the middle of the footbridge.
Northern Heights project
In 1935, the London Passenger Transport Board announced a proposal, which became known as the Northern Heights project, to take over the ex-GNR lines to Edgware, Barnet and Alexandra Palace, and link them to both the Northern line at Highgate and to the Northern City line at Finsbury Park. The construction of the first phase of this project involved extending tube train services from the Northern line's previous terminus at Archway station (then called Highgate), through a new section of paired tunnels under Highgate station to emerge just to the south of East Finchley station, where track connections to the ex-GNR line were made.
In order to provide interchange between the Northern line services and services on the existing line from Finsbury Park, a new concourse was constructed immediately beneath the existing station, with entrances from both the south (on Archway Road) and the north (on Priory Gardens). This concourse replaced the previous footbridge, and connected to the existing island platform by a staircase and new platform buildings. The concourse was also linked by escalators to new platforms on the Northern line extension below the station. Services through the tunnel to East Finchley started operating on 3 July 1939 although they did not stop at Highgate until 19 January 1941.
Because of the outbreak of the second world war, further works to complete the electrification of the ex-GNR lines and connect them to the Northern City line were postponed. The upper platforms at Highgate continued to be served by steam trains.
An unusual relic of the abortive plan to incorporate the upper platforms into the Underground system was the numbering of the tube level platforms as 3 and 4 until the 1990s.
Wartime and after
LNER trains continued to serve the upper platforms, with services to East Finchley continuing until 2 March 1941. After that date LNER trains operated between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace only. Because the connection between the ex-GNR lines and the new tube lines was to the north-west of the junction with the Archway branch, that branch could only be served by trains running off the line from Finsbury Park.
During World War II Highgate tube station was used, as many were, as a shelter from the bombing of London by the Luftwaffe, and latterly V-1 and V-2 bombs. The entertainer Jerry Springer was born at the tube station in 1944.
After the war, maintenance works and reconstruction of war damage on the existing network had the greatest call on London Underground funds. Funds for new works were severely limited and the priority was given to the completion of the Central line extensions to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault. Despite being shown as under construction on underground maps as late as 1950, work never restarted on the unimplemented parts of the Northern Heights project.
After a temporary closure between October 1951 and January 1952, British Railways (the successor to the LNER) ended passenger services between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace permanently on 3 July 1954. The Alexandra Palace branch closed completely in 1957, but the link from Finsbury Park to East Finchley remained open to freight traffic until 1964, with British Rail freight trains to High Barnet and Edgware passing through the upper platforms at Highgate. Even after freight traffic had ceased, the line continued to be used to transfer tube stock to and from the Northern City line, with the stock being pulled over the unelectrified lines by battery locomotives. This ceased in 1970 because of the poor condition of some of the intermediate bridges, and the track was lifted through the upper platforms in 1972. Much of the route between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace now forms part of the Parkland Walk, although this bypasses the station site for safety reasons.
The unfulfilled plans for the station involved a much more substantial station building than the inconsequential structures that were eventually built. A large building at the top of the hill would have been the main entrance with dual escalators in a stepped enclosure down to the level of the surface platforms where a secondary entrance would have provided access from the car park. The building would have been topped by a statue of Dick Whittington and his cat by Eric Aumonier who created the Archer statue at East Finchley. The current buildings were built on a much more modest scale and the escalator link to the high level exit was not built until 1957. This link is housed in a concrete box built up the side of the hill but was never completed as intended and no down escalator was ever installed although the foundations for it were completed.
The station contains two tube platforms, one in each direction and each in its own separate tunnel. The platforms are accessed from a concourse situated immediately below the disused surface platforms. This concourse has entrances and exits from both the south and north sides of the station. The southern entrance and exit is by stairs to/from the station car park, which in turn is linked by ramp and staircase to Archway Road. There is also an exit from the concourse directly to Archway Road by escalator by way of a single unidirectional escalator (an exit-only escalator). The northern entrance and exit is by stairs from Priory Gardens, and is also linked by a ramped path to Muswell Hill Road.
The station is unusual in having platforms long enough to accommodate nine-car trains, being built to this length in anticipation of future extensions at other stations.
Northbound trains normally operate to either High Barnet or Mill Hill East stations, although they can terminate at other intermediate points. Mill Hill East is the current terminus of the former Edgware branch of the GNR, the remainder of the line to Edgware being another victim of the abandonment of the later stages of the Northern Heights project, and the current Edgware branch of the Northern line operates via a different route and does not serve Highgate. Southbound trains may operate through central London via either the Charing Cross or Bank branches of the Northern line, to various terminal points. Common terminal points are Kennington station, where the two branches reunite after their different routes across central London, or Morden station, the furthest point reached by the Northern line in south-west London. Occasionally, trains can also terminate at Tooting Broadway.
London Bus routes 43; 134; 143; 234 and 263, school route 603 and night route N20 serve bus stops near the station. Furthermore, bus routes 43 and 134 has a 24-hour bus service.
In popular culture
The disused platforms and tunnels have sometimes been used for filming and have appeared in several productions, notably the feature film Paperhouse, the TV series Messiah and the Steven Wilson music documentary film Insurgentes.
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- Nathan, John (2 July 2009). "Interview: Jerry Springer". Jewish Chronicle Online. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
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- "Buses from Highgate Station (Highgate Wood)" (PDF). Transport for London. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Highgate tube station.|
- Highgate station in its cutting on an 1870s Ordnance Survey map
- Location of the station on Multimap
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Entrance to LNER station in 1935
- Shepherd's Hill entrance in 1955
- Priory Gardens entrance in 1955 Buildings on Archway Road are visible beyond, showing depth of cutting in which the surface station was built.
- New Archway Road exit in 1957 after escalator was installed.
- Urban75: The Northern Heights Parkland Walk
- Disused Stations - Highgate (High Level)
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
Line and station closed
|Great Northern Railway
Edgware, Highgate and London Railway
Line and station closed
Line and station open
|Abandoned Northern Heights Extension|
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Alexandra Palace