Euston Station's Hidden Secrets
Disused Station Corner of Melton Street and Drummond Street
Of the 42 million passengers and the countless numbers of taxis using Euston Station every year most of them will never realise they pass within a few feet of not one but two disused Stations. One of these station buildings which still survives almost unnoticed standing at the corner of Melton Street and Drummond Street is where I have my next appointment with the guides of Hidden London, for my latest secret tunnels tour.
The land on which Euston station was built was mainly farmland on the edge of a growing city, owned by the FitzRoy family - The Duke of Grafton. The Grafton name is still commemorated on parts of their land with the street names like Grafton Place, Grafton Way and of course with the gentrification of the area Fitzrovia has become a place. Euston Station took its name from Euston Hall in Suffolk, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Grafton.
Robert Stevenson Statue, Euston Station
The site was chosen by George and Robert Stephenson who was engineers for the London & Birmingham Railway (L&BR) with Euston station opening on 20 July 1837, with the line completed 7 September 1838. The station stood on Drummond Street, further back from Euston Road than the front of the modern complex does. Drummond Street now terminates at the side of the station but then it ran across its front. A short road called Euston Grove ran from Euston Square towards the Doric arch sadly demolished in 1961. Two hotels, the Euston Hotel and the Victoria Hotel, flanked the northern half of this approach. Apart from the lodges on Euston Road and statues now on the forecourt, few relics of the old station survive.
In 1903 the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) and the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) were given government approval to build underground stations near Euston to service the mainline station. L&NWR owned the land and construction was granted on condition that the companies had separate stations, with an entrance to both within the main station. Both of the external station buildings were closed in 1913, after first opening in 1907, leaving only the shared entrance in Euston’s mainline station.
The disused (CCE&HR) underground station in Melton Street, which is one of Leslie Green's unmistakable buildings, which is the same design types as I already described in full detail in the Down Street and Strand Underground Stations, should have been a certainty to survive into the future as a listed building. At present, it houses the ventilation equipment for the Victoria Line. Unfortunately, it will be demolished soon to make way for the planned construction of the second national high-speed rail line (HS2).
The other station (C&SLR) now demolished stood on the corner of Seymour Street (present-day Eversholt Street) and Drummond Street (now Doric Way). It was designed by Sidney Smith and featured an ornate green and white façade of Doulton's glazed Carraraware.
For our guided tour underground we were fitted out with high visibility jackets with a “Transport Museum Hidden London Tours” logo on the back. This was because we were to pass through ticket barriers and mingle with passengers doing the daily commute. We made our way across busy platform 6, which is the southbound Bank branch of the Northern Line and we passed through a secret locked-up door into what was a time tunnel back to 1962, when these tube tunnels were closed to the public.
Ticket office, to service both the Melton Street and Eversholt Street stations
Halfway along the first tunnel we came to the ticket office, to service both the Melton Street and Eversholt Street stations which were to the Leslie Green design. The tiles used here differ from the normal Leslie Green ones, as they always have green tiles with white writing; this one for some unknown reason has white tiling with writing in black and the words ‘In and Out’ – which is another mystery.
Time Tunnel of old posters
Our dusty time tunnel took us down memory lane, with old peeling posters for “West Side Story” on from 27th February at the Astoria – “Puss in Boots”, “Coronation Street”, “Only Two Can Play”, “Psycho” plus British Rail promotion posters announcing Midland are “Trains of Today.” After passing through several other unused tunnels we arrived back in the 2016 rush hour and the Euston ticket barrier. I had just one thing to do before leaving Euston and that was to visit the remaining artefacts left from the original Station; the statue of Robert Stevenson and the two original lodges.
One of the two original lodges
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