Brompton Road Station – A Ghost in the London Underground System

The London Underground has been carefully thought out, constructed and maintained over the years that it has been a part of the city’s history. Even though most of the stations on the London underground have all been located in places of heavy traffic, there are a few that have been erected and very rarely used. One of these is the Brompton Road Station, which was opened on December 15th 1906 on the corner of Brompton Road and Cottage Place. Even though well placed to access the V&A museum, and near the popular shopping centre Harrod’s, the station was rarely used and very few trains were actually still stopping there by the time it permanently closed in December 1934.

Brompton_Road_Sept_2000
Image: Nick Cooper (2000)

The Brompton Road Station was located on the Piccadilly line between Knightsbridge and South Kensington Stations. Leslie Green was well-known for designing many of the underground stations and Brompton Road was no different. Quite a bit of the building was demolished in the 1960s but we can still see the front of it with its original oxblood red tiles and semi-circular windows. Even though the architecture and construction of the building was, like the rest of Green’s work, of top quality the only problem with it was that it had been placed where it was not necessary.

Like many other available buildings which extended below street level, the Brompton Road station became a useful commodity during the Second World War when it was sold to the war office for £22,000. It became the command centre for the 26th London Anti-Aircraft Brigade. Another really significant wartime event that occurred here was the fact that Hitler’s right hand man, Rudolf Hess, was interrogated on this site.

After the war, the Brompton Road Station was not used for much, and in 2013 the Ministry of Defence announced that it was for sale. After a long period where potential buyers were bidding, it was sold to a Ukrainian investor for £53 million, who plans to turn the site into luxury residential flats. Many Londoners feel that this sale has facilitated the loss of a part of their heritage, which is sure to escalate upon the completion of the construction.

As an abandoned building, Brompton Road Station is not without its tragedies. During the Christmas season of 1994, Sean Harper, a 20 year old student, went missing and was discovered after three Brompton_road_map_1912weeks had passed at the bottom of the stations’ lift shaft. There is no knowledge about why he was in the unused building and an open verdict was pronounced in the case.

To this day the Piccadilly Line continues to run past the station, and even though the new construction might mean that it will be hidden and maybe even forgotten, a part of Brompton Road Station will probably always live on in those tracks hidden below.

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