Highgate tube station
|Local authority||London Borough of Haringey|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||2|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|22 August 1867||Opened (surface platforms)|
|19 January 1941||Opened (Northern line platforms)|
|3 July 1954||Closed (surface platforms)|
|1970||Closed (surface tracks to all traffic)|
|London transport portal|
Highgate is a London Underground station and former railway station in Archway Road, in the London Borough of Haringey in north London. The station takes its name from 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.
The station was originally opened in 1867, on the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. As part of their only partially completed Northern Heights plan, the London Underground started serving the station in 1941, using new platforms in tunnels beneath the surface station. The platforms of the surface station remain, but were last used in 1954; the section of the line through them to Finsbury Park was closed in 1970 and 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 station opened along with the railway to Edgware on 22 August 1867.[n 1]
Due to 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 towards East Finchley to the north and Crouch End to the south. When 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 was opened on 24 May 1873. 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 an intermediate station was built later at Cranley Gardens in 1902.
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. In 1911, the MHR branch was taken over by the GNR. After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies, the GNR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923.
At the start of the 1930s, the station had around 54 trains daily from High Barnet, 43 from Alexandra Palace and a few through trains from Edgware. Services ran to Finsbury Park and then either King's Cross, Moorgate or Broad Street.[n 2]
Northern Heights project
In 1935, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) announced a proposal, which became known as the Northern Heights project. This was to take over the LNER lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace, then link them to both the Northern line at East Finchley and the Northern City line at Finsbury Park.[n 3] The construction of the first phase of this project involved extending tube train services from the Northern line's existing terminus at Archway station (then also called Highgate), through a new section of paired tunnels under Highgate station to emerge south of East Finchley station, where track connections to the LNER line were made.
To provide an interchange between the new deep-level platforms and the existing surface platforms, a subterranean concourse was constructed immediately beneath the existing station. The concourse was connected to the deep-level platforms with escalators and to the existing platforms by stairs. Street entrances to the concourse were provided from the south (Archway Road) and the north (Priory Gardens). At the same time, the buildings on the surface platforms were partly reconstructed and the footbridge was removed. Northern line services through the new tunnels to East Finchley started operating on 3 July 1939, although they did not stop at Highgate until later.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, works to complete the electrification of the LNER lines were slowed or halted. The line from Finchley Central to Edgware closed for reconstruction on 11 September 1939.[n 4] Northern line services were extended from East Finchley to High Barnet on 14 April 1940  and started serving the deep level platforms at Highgate on 19 January 1941, though not all of the new station buildings had been completed. The surface platforms at Highgate continued to be served by LNER steam trains.
The deep-level platforms were constructed 490 feet (150 m) long to accommodate extra-long nine-car trains, which were planned for services on the Northern line but never served Highgate, having been withdrawn at the start of the war.[n 5] With the interchange between LNER and Northern line services available at Highgate from January 1941, LNER trains to East Finchley ended on 2 March 1941, after which they operated between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace only.[n 6] In 1942, LNER services through Highgate were reduced to rush hour only operations. During the war, the deep-level platforms at Highgate were used, as many were, as a shelter from the bombing of London by the Luftwaffe and, later, V-1 and V-2 missiles.[n 7]
After the war, plans to complete the Northern Heights project were reviewed. In early 1946, the conversion of the LNER line from Mill Hill East to Edgware was scheduled by the LPTB for completion between January 1947 and June 1948. No work was carried out as 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 priority was given to the completion of the western and eastern extensions of the Central line to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault. Despite being shown as under construction on Underground maps as late as 1950,[n 8] work never restarted on the unimplemented parts of the Northern Heights project.[n 9]
After a temporary closure between October 1951 and January 1952, British Railways (the successor to the LNER) ran the last passenger services between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace on 3 July 1954. British Railways freight traffic continued to pass through the station until 1964.[n 10] After freight traffic ceased, the line continued to be used for occasional London Underground rolling stock transfers between Highgate depot and the Northern City line, with the stock being pulled over the unelectrified lines by battery locomotives. This ceased in 1970, due to the poor condition of some of the intermediate bridges, and the track was lifted through the surface platforms in 1972.
Completion of the station buildings was delayed for many years. Designed by the architect Charles Holden, the pre-war plans included a large entrance building at the top of the hill next to The Woodman public house with a pair of escalators between the entrance and the sub-surface concourse. These were to be enclosed in an inclined structure down the side of the cutting parallel with the surface tracks. Taking inspiration from the local legend, the building would have been topped by a statue of Dick Whittington and his cat.[n 11] When works were finished in 1957, a single and upwards only escalator was provided to take passengers from the sub-surface ticket hall up to a simple exit at the top of the cutting.
One of the GNR's station buildings remains on the north side of the surface platforms: it is used as a private residence. 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.
Services and connections
The station is in Travelcard Zone 3, between Archway and East Finchley stations. Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally operate every 3–7 minutes between 06:01 and 01:01 northbound and 05:37 and 00:18 southbound (as of 2015).
Use in media
The disused platforms and tunnels have sometimes been used for filming and have appeared in several productions including the feature film Paperhouse, and the television series EastEnders and Waking the Dead.
Notes and references
- A branch from Finchley Central to High Barnet opened on 1 April 1872.
- Trains to Moorgate ran to King's Cross York Road then used the City Widened Lines. Trains to Broad Street ran via the Canonbury curve and the North London Railway.
- At Edgware, the LNER's station was to be closed with the end of the line diverted into the Northern line's own Edgware station.
- The section from Finchley Central to Mill Hill East was completed and reopened on 18 May 1941 to serve the nearby Inglis Barracks.
- Tube trains at this time were typically six or seven cars long. A nine-car train began operating as an experiment on 8 November 1937 between Colindale and Kennington. By the end of February 1938, four nine-car trains were operating between Edgware and Kennington. Platforms at Edgware, Burnt Oak, Colindale, Hendon Central, Brent Cross and Golders Green were extended to accommodate the longer trains. At other stations on the Charing Cross branch, the last two or first two cars remained in the tunnel. The platforms at Highgate were the only deep-level platforms constructed, though longer platforms were provided on some surface stations.
- As the connection between the LNER tracks and the new Northern line tracks was to the north-west of the junction for the Alexandra Palace branch, the branch could only be served by trains running to and from Finsbury Park.
- The entertainer Jerry Springer was born whilst his mother was sheltering at the station in 1944.
- Shown as "under construction", the Northern Heights extensions appeared for the first time on Underground poster maps in 1937 and pocket maps in 1938. After the opening of the tube platforms at Highgate and the extensions to High Barnet and Mill Hill East, the uncompleted remainder of the works were removed from the map between 1943 and 1945. The Mill Hill East to Edgware and Edgware to Bushey Heath sections appeared on the map again from 1946 to 1949 and the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace section appeared from 1946 to 1950.
- The section of the extension between Brockley Hill and Bushey Heath was cancelled in October 1950, leaving the section between Edgware and Brockley Hill and the conversion of the line from Mill Hill East to Edgware to be decided. The announcement of its cancellation was finally made in February 1954.
- Freight services continued on the Alexandra Palace branch until 1957, the High Barnet branch until 1962 and the Edgware branch until 1964.
- Taking inspiration from local history, Charles Holden commissioned the sculptor Eric Aumonier to provide the Archer sculpture at East Finchley station, and planned a sculpture of a Roman centurion at the unbuilt Elstree South station.
- "London Borough of Haringey". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures (2007–2017)". London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Archived from the original (XLSX) on 31 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Station Usage Data" (CSV). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2018. Transport for London. 21 August 2019. Archived from the original on 22 May 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2019. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
- Beard 2002, p. 6.
- "Clive's Underground Line Guides – Northern Line". Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Highgate Station". Disused stations. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Wolmar 2005, p. 227.
- Horne 2009, p. 41.
- Beard 2002, p. 59.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 116.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 131.
- Rose 1999.
- Beard 2002, p. 92.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 140.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 137.
- Badsey-Ellis 2016, p. 222.
- Day & Reed 2010, pp. 126 & 137.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 123.
- Badsey-Ellis 2016, pp. 222–23.
- Wolmar 2005, p. 286.
- Nathan, John (2 July 2009). "Interview: Jerry Springer". The Jewish Chronicle Online.
- Beard 2002, p. 118.
- Bownes, Green & Mullins 2012, p. 173.
- Beard 2002, pp. 56–57.
- "London Transport Underground Maps 1938–1945". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "London Transport Underground Maps 1946–1947". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "London Transport Underground Maps 1948–1956". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- Day & Reed 2010, p. 152.
- Beard 2002, p. 126.
- Beard 2002, p. 127.
- Historic England. "Highgate High Level Station (509354)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- Contemporary artist's illustration of the proposed station buildings. Day & Reed 2010, p. 138.
- Beard 2002, p. 82.
- "Photograph details: 1998/86922". London Transport Museum. September 1957. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "Avoiding Stairs Tube Guide" (PDF). Transport for London. December 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Pedroche 2011, p. 99.
- "Parkland Walk". London Borough of Islington. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. September 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 September 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
- "Northern line timetable: From Highgate Underground Station to East Finchley Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "Northern line timetable: From Highgate Underground Station to Archway Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "Buses from Highgate Station (Highgate Wood)" (PDF). Transport for London. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "Highgate Underground Station – Bus". Transport for London. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Paperhouse". Reel Streets: World Film Locations. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "Television Shot on Location in Haringey" (PDF). London Borough of Haringey. 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- "Northern Heights: Crouch End – Highgate". Abandoned Tube Stations. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Badsey-Ellis, Antony (2016). Building London's Underground: From Cut-and Cover to Crossrail. Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-8541-4397-6.
- Beard, Tony (2002). By Tube Beyond Edgware. Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-246-7.
- Bownes, David; Green, Oliver; Mullins, Sam (2012). Underground: How the Tube Shaped London. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-1-846-14462-2.
- Day, John R; Reed, John (2010) . The Story of London's Underground (11th ed.). Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-341-9.
- Horne, Mike (2009) . The Northern Line: An Illustrated History (3rd ed.). Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-326-6.
- Pedroche, Ben (2011). Do Not Alight Here: Walking London's Lost Underground and Railway Stations. Capital History. ISBN 978-1-85414-352-5.
- Rose, Douglas (1999) . The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History (7th ed.). Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-219-1.
- Wolmar, Christian (2005) . The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-023-6.
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