Holborn tube station
Location of Holborn in Central London
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|1907||Opened (Aldwych branch)|
|1933||Opened (Central line)|
|1994||Closed (Aldwych branch)|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portalCoordinates:|
Holborn (// HOH-bə(r)n)[lower-alpha 1] is a London Underground station in Holborn, central London. It is served by the Central and Piccadilly lines. On the Central line the station is between Tottenham Court Road and Chancery Lane stations; on the Piccadilly line it is between Covent Garden and Russell Square. The station is located at the junction of High Holborn and Kingsway and is in Travelcard Zone 1. Close by are the British Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Red Lion Square, Bloomsbury Square and Sir John Soane's Museum.
Located at the junction of two earlier tube railway schemes, the station was opened in 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR). The station entrances and below ground circulation were largely reconstructed for the introduction of escalators and the opening of Central line platforms in 1933, making the station the only interchange between the lines. Before 1994, Holborn was the northern terminus of the short and little-frequented Piccadilly line branch to Aldwych and two platforms originally used for this service are disused. One of the disused platforms has been used for location filming when a London Underground station platform is needed.
The station was planned by the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR), which had received parliamentary approval for a route from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) to Strand in 1899. After the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) in September 1901, the two companies came under the control of Charles Yerkes' Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company before being transferred to his new holding company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in June 1902. To connect the two companies' planned routes, the UERL obtained permission for new tunnels between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn. The companies were formally merged as the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway following parliamentary approval in November 1902.
The linking of the GN&SR and B&PCR routes at Holborn meant that the section of the GN&SR south of Holborn became a branch from the main route. The UERL began constructing the main route in July 1902. Progress was rapid, so that it was largely complete by the Autumn of 1906. Construction of the branch was delayed while the London County Council carried out slum clearances to construct its new road Kingsway and the tramway subway running beneath it and while the UERL decided how the junction between the main route and the branch would be arranged at Holborn.
When originally planned by the GN&SR, Holborn station was to have just two platforms. The first GNP&BR plan for the station would have seen the two platforms shared by trains on the main route and by the shuttle service on the branch with the junctions between the tunnels south of the station. The interference that shuttle trains would have caused to services on the main route led to a redesign so that two northbound platforms were provided, one for the main line and one for the branch line, with a single southbound platform. The junctions between the two northbound tunnels would have been 75 metres (246 ft) north of the platforms. When powers were sought to build the junction in 1905, the layout was changed again so that four platforms were to be provided. The southbound tunnel of the main route no longer connected to the branch, which was to be provided with an additional platform in a dead-end tunnel accessed from a crossover from the northbound branch tunnel. As built, for ease of passenger access, the branch's northbound tunnel ended in a dead-end platform adjacent to the northbound main line platform with the branch's southbound tunnel connected to the northbound main line tunnel. To enable the southbound tunnel of the main route to avoid the branch tunnels, it was constructed at a lower level than the other tunnels and platforms. The tunnel towards Covent Garden (at this point heading south-west) passes under the branch tunnels.
As with most of the other GNP&BR stations, the station building was designed by Leslie Green, though at Holborn the station frontage was, uniquely, constructed in stone rather than the standard red glazed terracotta. This was due to planning regulations imposed by the London County Council which required the use of stone for façades in Kingsway. The station entrance and exit sections of the street façade were constructed in granite with the other parts of the ground and first floors in the same style, but using Portland stone. The rest of the building above first floor level was constructed contemporaneously with the station. Access to the platform levels of the station was provided by trapezium-shaped electric lifts manufactured by Otis in America. These operated in pairs in shared circular shafts,[lower-alpha 2] with an escape stair in a separate, smaller shaft.
Although the station was constructed where the GNP&BR's tunnels crossed those of the Central London Railway (CLR, now the Central line) running under High Holborn,[lower-alpha 3] no interchange between the two lines was made as the CLR's nearest station, British Museum, was 250 metres (820 ft) to the west. Passengers wishing to interchange between the two stations had to do so at street level.
The station opened on 15 December 1906, although the opening of the branch was delayed until 30 November 1907.
The street level interchange between the GNP&BR and CLR involving two sets of lifts was considered a weakness in the network. A below ground subway connection was considered in 1907. A proposal to enlarge the CLR's tunnels to create new platforms at Holborn station and to abandon British Museum station was included in a private bill submitted to parliament by the CLR in November 1913, although the First World War prevented any works taking place.
Like many other central London Underground stations, Holborn was modernised in the early 1930s to replace the lifts with escalators. The station frontages on Kingsway and High Holborn were partially reconstructed to modernist designs by Charles Holden with the granite elements replaced with plain Portland stone façades perforated with glazed screens. The lifts were removed and a spacious new ticket hall was provided giving access to a bank of four escalators down to an intermediate concourse for the Central line platforms. A second bank of three escalators continues down to the Piccadilly line platforms.
The new Central line platforms came into use on 25 September 1933 replacing those of British Museum, which had closed the day before. As part of the modernisation the station was renamed Holborn (Kingsway) on 22 May 1933, but the suffix gradually dropped out of use and no longer appears on station signage or tube maps. The new platforms at Holborn led to the number of passengers switching between the lines increasing tenfold by 1938.
Initially, shuttle train services on the branch operated from the through platform at Holborn. At peak times, an additional train operated alternately in the branch's western tunnel from the bay platform at Holborn. During the first year of operation, a train for theatregoers operated late on Monday to Saturday evenings from Strand through Holborn and northbound to Finsbury Park; this was discontinued in October 1908.
In March 1908, the off-peak shuttle service began to use the western tunnel on the branch, crossing between the two branch tunnels south of Holborn. Low usage led to the withdrawal of the second peak-hour shuttle and the eastern tunnel was taken out of use in 1914. Sunday services ended in April 1917 and, in August of the same year, the eastern tunnel and the bay platform at Holborn were formally closed. Passenger numbers on the branch remained low: when the branch was considered for closure in 1929, its annual usage was 1,069,650 and takings were £4,500. The branch was again considered for closure in 1933, but remained open.
Wartime efficiency measures led to the branch being closed temporarily on 22 September 1940, shortly after the start of The Blitz, and it was partly fitted out by the City of Westminster as an air-raid shelter. The tunnels were used to store items from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. The branch reopened on 1 July 1946, but patronage did not increase. In 1958, London Transport announced it would be closed. Again it survived, but the service was reduced in June 1958 to run only during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday morning and early afternoons. The Saturday service was withdrawn in June 1962.
After operating only during peak hours for more than 30 years, the closure announcement came on 4 January 1993. The original 1907 lifts at Aldwych required replacement at a cost of £3 million. This was not justifiable as only 450 passengers used the station each day and it was losing London Regional Transport £150,000 per year. The Secretary of State for Transport granted permission on 1 September 1994 to close the station and the branch closed on 30 September.
After its closure in 1917, the bay platform was converted into rooms for use, at various times, as offices, air-raid shelters, store rooms, an electrical sub-station and a war-time hostel. Since 1994, the branch's remaining platform at Holborn has been used to test mock-up designs for new platform signage and advertising systems.
Incidents and accidents
|Date||9 July 1980|
|Rail line||Central line
|List of UK rail accidents by year|
The Holborn rail crash occurred on the Central line at Holborn on 9 July 1980, at about 13:28 and involved two 1962 stock trains. The 13:17 train from Liverpool Street to White City, standing at the westbound platform, was run into by the 12:49 Hainault to Ealing Broadway train. The rear train was slowing after its brakes had been applied by the emergency train stop system because it had passed two signals at danger, but it failed to stop in time to avoid collision. The driver of the rear train and 20 passengers were injured. An inquiry concluded that the accident was caused by the driver failing to control his train. Disruption of services occurred until the following morning.
On 21 October 1997, a 9-year-old boy, Ajit Singh, was dragged to his death when a toggle on his anorak was trapped in the closing doors of a Piccadilly line train.
Use in media
The disused branch line platform and other parts of the station have been used in the filming of music videos for Howard Jones' "New Song", Leftfield's "Release the Pressure", Suede's "Saturday Night" and Aqua's "Turn Back Time".
The pre-war operation of the station and the branch line features in a pivotal scene in Geoffrey Household's novel Rogue Male, when the pursuit of the protagonist by enemy agents sees them repeatedly using the station's escalators, passageways and the shuttle service.
The station is in London fare zone 1. On the Central line the station is between Tottenham Court Road and Chancery Lane, and on the Piccadilly line, it is between Covent Garden and Russell Square. Holborn is the only interchange between these lines. Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally Central line trains operate every 2–6 minutes from approximately 05:53 to 00:30 westbound and 05:51 to 00:33 eastbound. Piccadilly line trains operate every 2–6 minutes from approximately 05:42 to 00:28 westbound and 05:54 to 00:38 northbound.
Historical tram connections
Before the closure of the original London tram network in 1952, Holborn provided an interchange between trams and tubes, via the underground Holborn tramway station located a little distance south of the underground railway station. This was the only part of London with an underground tram system, and Holborn tramway station (named Great Queen Street when first opened) is still extant beneath ground, though with no public access.
Current bus connections
London Buses routes 1, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 59, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188, 242, 243, 341, 521 and X68 and night routes N1, N8, N19, N35, N38, N41, N55, N68, N91, N98, N171 and N207 serve the station.
Notes and references
- Pronunciation: The authoritative BBC pronunciation unit recommends "ˈhəʊbə(r)n", but allowing "sometimes also hohl-buhrn". The organisation's less formal Pronouncing British Placenames notes that "You'll occasionally find towns where nobody can agree...Holborn in central London has for many years been pronounced 'hoe-bun', but having so few local residents to preserve this, it's rapidly changing to a more natural 'hol-burn'". However, Modern British and American English pronunciation (2008) cites "Holborn" as one of its examples of a common word where the "l" is silent. The popular tourist guide The Rough Guide to Britain sticks to the traditional form, with neither "l" nor "r": // HOH-bən.
- Photographs of the station show four lifts exiting to the street and Charles Holden's 1930s plan for rebuilding with escalators shows two lift shafts to be capped.
- The GNP&BR tunnels passed under those of the CLR.
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Olausson, Lena (2006). "Holborn". Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation, The Essential Handbook of the Spoken Word (3 ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 173. ISBN 0-19-280710-2.
- "Pronouncing British Placenames". BBC. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- Dretzke, Burkhard (2008). Modern British and American English pronunciation. Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schöningh. p. 63. ISBN 3-8252-2053-2.
- Roberts, Andrew; Matthew Teller (2004). The Rough Guide to Britain. London: Rough Guides Ltd. p. 109. ISBN 1-84353-301-4.
- The London Gazette: . 4 August 1899. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 118.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, pp. 152–53.
- The London Gazette: . 12 August 1902. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 21 November 1902. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Wolmar 2005, p. 181.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 239.
- on YouTube
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, pp. 239–41.
- London Transport Museum, caption to photograph of station. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Wolmar 2005, p. 188.
- London Transport Museum, Image of station, 1927. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- London Passenger Transport Board, Architectural Plan and Elevation, 1933. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 240.
- Bruce & Croome 2006, p. 35.
- Rose 1999.
- The London Gazette: . 25 November 1913. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Connor 2001, p. 94.
- Connor 2001, p. 95.
- Connor 2001, p. 98.
- Connor 2001, p. 31.
- Connor 2001, pp. 98–99.
- Connor 2001, p. 99.
- Connor 2001, pp. 100–101.
- King 1983, p. 5.
- King 1983, p. 1.
- Pilditch, David; Shaw, Adrian (23 October 1997). "Tube Lad Dragged to Death by Coat Jammed in Door; Probe after tragedy of foster boy Ajit, 9.". Daily Mirror. p. 17. Retrieved 20 October 2013. (registration required)
- Howard Jones (1983). New Song (Music video). from 1.11. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Leftfield (1996). Release the Pressure (Music video). from start. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Suede (1997). Saturday Night (Music video). from start. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Aqua (1998). Turn Back Time (Music video). from start. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Household 1977, pp. 58–63.
- "Standard tube map" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Timetables". Transport for London. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "First and last Tube". Transport for London. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Day buses from Holborn" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Night buses from Holborn" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Badsey-Ellis, Antony (2005). London's Lost Tube Schemes. Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-293-3.
- Bruce, J. Graeme; Croome, Desmond F. (2006) . The Central Line. Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-297-6.
- Connor, J.E. (2001) . London's Disused Underground Stations. Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-250-X.
- Household, Geoffrey (1977) . Rogue Male. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-000695-8.
- King, A.G.B. (22 October 1983). Report on the Collision that occurred on 9th July 1980 at Holborn Station: On the Central Line of London Transport Railways (PDF). Department of Transport/HMSO. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4.
- Wolmar, Christian (2005) . The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever. Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-84354-023-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Holborn tube station.|
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Holborn station, High Holborn exit, 1907
- Holborn station, Kingsway entrance, 1907
- Holborn station, 1925
- New Central line platform, 1933
- Oblique angle view of new Kingsway frontage, 1934
- New ticket hall, 1934
- Passengers using the upper bank of escalators, 1937
- Piccadilly line platform, showing original GNP&BR tiling, 1973
- Central line platform, showing vitreous enamelled metal cladding panels, 1988
- Underground History - Hidden Holborn
- More photographs of this station
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
Aldwych Branch (closed)