South Kensington Underground Station

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Main entrance to the station

South Kensington is a London Underground station in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea . It is in the Travelcard tariff zone 1, at the intersection of Old Brompton Road, Cromwell Place, Pelham Street and Harrington Street. It is served by the Circle Line , the District Line and the Piccadilly Line . In 2014, 36.46 million passengers used the station.


Second station building

The station is divided into two parts: the platforms of the Circle Line and District Line are located in an incision that is open at the top, the platforms of the Piccadilly Line in two deep-lying tunnels. The older station building, designed by John Fowler , has been a listed building ( Grade II ) since 2004 . It has shop arcades divided by Doric pilasters . A glass barrel vault spans over it. The younger station building contained the elevators to the tunnel platforms, but is no longer needed for rail operations today. It is the work of the architect Leslie Green , who used a uniform style for the entire Piccadilly Line. Typical features are the blood-red glazed terracotta bricks, large semicircular windows on the upper floor and serrated cornices . The two tunnels of the Piccadilly Line are not next to each other, but one above the other.

The Natural History Museum , Science Museum , Victoria and Albert Museum , Imperial College , Royal College of Music and the London branch of the Goethe Institute are nearby . A long pedestrian tunnel connects the station with the museum and university district further north.


Circle Line / District Line

Circle Line and District Line platforms

The station was opened on December 24, 1868 jointly by the Metropolitan Railway (MR, predecessor of the Metropolitan Line ) and the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, today's District Line). The MR had previously put the section from Paddington to Gloucester Road into operation on October 1, 1868 and connected it almost three months later with the tracks of the MDR when it opened its line to Westminster . The South Kensington station initially had two tracks; however, an expansion was planned from the start.

Original and current track plan

On August 1, 1870, the MDR opened an additional double lane between Gloucester Road and South Kensington, and on July 10, 1871, it opened its own station building here. The expanded facility now had two through platforms each for both companies as well as a head platform for MR trains turning here from the west. In addition, the connection of the tracks of the two companies was moved from the west to the east side of the station. The MDR opened a pedestrian underpass on May 4, 1885, which provided weather-protected access to the newly opened museums; it cost a penny to use . Although the underpass cost £ 42,614 to build, it was closed on November 10, 1886 and was only accessible on special occasions thereafter. In 1890 there were plans by the South Kensington and Paddington Railway (SK&PR) plans to convert the underpass into a subway tunnel. However, the intention to then dig a deep cut across Hyde Park met with great opposition and the SK&PR abandoned its project in March 1891. The underpass has been free and accessible every day since 1908.

Since 1949, the Circle Line has been considered a separate line, while the Metropolitan Line has been withdrawn. In June 1957, the head platform was closed and the track bed was filled in order to connect the two central platforms. The eastbound Metropolitan platform and the westbound District platform were shut down in January 1966 and March 1969, respectively. The tracks along these platforms were also removed and the District platform was torn down in the 1970s to make way for escalators to the Piccadilly Line. The widened central platform is now used by the District and the Circle in both directions.

Piccadilly Line

Tunnel platform leading westwards

At the turn of the century, the southern part of the ring route was congested. For this reason, the MDR planned to build a tunnel for express trains between Gloucester Road and Mansion House . They should run 18 to 21 meters below the existing tracks, with only one stop at Charing Cross . In 1897 parliament gave its approval, but construction work was not carried out. In 1898, the MDR took over the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B & PCR), which planned a subway between South Kensington and Piccadilly Circus . Furthermore, there was no construction activity.

After the takeover of MDR by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in 1902, the various tunnel projects were merged. The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (now Piccadilly Line), a subsidiary of UERL, opened the new Hammersmith - Finsbury Park line on December 15, 1906 . The completion of the construction work in South Kensington was delayed by several weeks, so that the tunnel platforms were only opened here on January 8, 1907.

Although the MDR gave up the construction of the express tunnel route east of South Kensington, before that they built a 37-meter-long section of platform parallel to the Piccadilly Line. Although this was later separated from the rest of the station, it received the usual tile decoration and access to the elevators. During the First World War, works of art from the Victoria and Albert Museum and porcelain from Buckingham Palace were stored on the unused platform . From 1927 to 1939 there was a signal box training room here. During the Second World War, devices were located here that could detect aerial bombs falling into the Thames , in order to close the flood gates of the tunnel tubes under the river in an emergency .

In the early 1970s, the elevators to the Piccadilly platforms were replaced by escalators, two of which are located between the counter hall and a new mezzanine level. This level provided further access to the platforms of the Circle and District Line. Three more escalators lead from the intermediate level to a lower level between the two tunnel tubes. From there, short stairs lead to the platforms. The stairs and the access to the westward platform use the platform section of the MDR, which was never in operation.

Web links

Commons : South Kensington (London Underground)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. COUNTS - 2014 - annual entries & exits. (PDF, 44 kB) (No longer available online.) Transport for London, 2015, archived from the original on February 21, 2016 ; accessed on December 29, 2017 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ South Kensington Underground station. In: National heritage list of England. National Heritage, accessed February 2, 2013 .
  3. ^ Christian Wolmar: The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever . Atlantic Books, London 2005, ISBN 1-84354-023-1 , pp. 175 .
  4. a b District Line. Clive's Underground Line Guides, accessed February 2, 2013 .
  5. ^ Mike Horne: The District Line . Capital Transport, London 2006, ISBN 1-85414-292-5 , pp. 9 .
  6. ^ Horne: The District Line. P. 13.
  7. ^ Anthony Badsey-Ellis: London's Lost Tube Schemes . Capital Transport, London 2005, ISBN 1-85414-293-3 , pp. 50-51 .
  8. ^ Christian Wolmar : The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever . Atlantic Books, London 2005, ISBN 1-84354-023-1 , pp. 114 .
  9. ^ Douglas Rose: The London Underground, A Diagramatic History . Capital Transport, London 1999, ISBN 1-85414-219-4 .
  10. ^ Horne: The District Line. P. 79.
  11. ^ Horne: The District Line. P. 91.
  12. ^ Anthony Badsey-Ellis: London's Lost Tube Schemes . Capital Transport, London 2005, ISBN 1-85414-293-3 , pp. 70-71 .
  13. ^ Badsey-Ellis: London's Lost Tube Schemes. P. 85.
  14. Piccadilly Line. Clive's Underground Line Guides, accessed February 2, 2013 .
  15. ^ Badsey-Ellis: London's Lost Tube Schemes. Pp. 218-219.
  16. ^ A b Badsey-Ellis: London's Lost Tube Schemes. P. 220.
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Gloucester Road Circle Line Sloane Square
Gloucester Road District line flag box.svg Sloane Square
Gloucester Road Piccadilly line flag box.svg Brompton Road

Coordinates: 51 ° 29 ′ 38.8 "  N , 0 ° 10 ′ 25.8"  W.