With Tube 150 over, I figured interest in the London Underground would die down a little this year. I appear to be wrong. This is a result of the first episode of Sherlock series 3 heavily featuring the network as a central part of its plot.
Without spoiling it for the 7 people who haven’t seen it yet, one of locations featured is a fictional ghost station. While the station mentioned in the episode never actually existed, there are dozens of real ghost stations, some of which you can visit to this day.
However, if you’d like to learn a little more about these stations, including their individual histories and why they became abandoned or disused in the first place I highly recommend the following books:
1. Do Not Alight Here: Walking London’s Lost Underground and Railway Stations
Ben Pedroche’s book is my favourite on the subject of ghost stations. Not only because he talks about the stations themselves, but because he provides walking routes for where to find them. Something I have some experience with.
Not convinced? I think this Amazon review sums it up nicely: “Got this book as a present for someone else but ended up keeping it for myself! Has lots of stuff about London I never knew, including places I’ve walked by every day for years and not noticed. I’ve done two of the walks and they were well informed with good directions. The best bit for me is the tube journeys section.”
2. London’s Disused Underground Stations
Looking for something a bit more factual? Well then London’s Disused Underground Stations is the book for you. It has tons of great photos of many of the most best known ghost stations. In my opinion it’s the most comprehensive book on the subject.
Sample review: “This book is an excellent source of information about the 40 or so disused stations on London’s Underground, including both a wealth of facts and also pictures of the stations both past and present. Thoroughly researched, this book provides a window into parts of the London Underground that have long since been forgotten.”
3. Underground: How the Tube Shaped London
Underground: How the Tube Shaped London is not just about ghost stations but about the whole tube system from its earliest days until the present. I’ve included it here as it is in my opinion the best book summarizing the entire history of London Underground.
However be warned: “The book was excellent about the history of the Underground time-wise, politically, architecturally, and community-wise but was very poor on the mechanical side of the rolling stock, its developmental details etc. Difficult to understand how someone could write so much about a rail way and be so skimpy about what rolls on the rails!!”
4. Haunted London Underground
Now this is the first of the books on the list I haven’t personally read. However, if you’re after the spookier side of the tube this is probably the book for you.
Sample review: “I have to admit I purchased this book not expecting much as I have been a bit disappointed with previous books on hauntings that I have picked up. I found this book to be exactly what I was after; A solid coverage of hauntings on the London Underground without going overboard with unnecessary details.”
5. Secret Underground London
Another one I haven’t personally read but given that it gets 4.5 out of 5 stars it might be worth a look if you’ve read the other books above.
Review: “Excellent book with some excellent pictures and as a Londoner and a transport and London enthusiast it was great to find out some little details about which I’ve never been able to find out elsewhere. The only (slight!) drawback is the size and weight of the book!”
6. Amazing and Extraordinary London Underground Facts
Finally if you just want some quick facts about the tube this may be the book for you. Again I have not personally read this one (even I have my limit) but the reviews look good.
Sample Review: “It works as a basic facts book for people wanting to get a sense of the history of the system, but no more than that. Its small size makes it handy for reading on trains, even those underground trains that were the book’s inspiration, though of course you would have difficulty reading it during the rush hour with everybody fighting for space.”
Now I’m sure I’ve left off many wonderful books dealing with the lost, missing and abandoned side of the Tube. So let me know what I’ve missed in the comment section below: