The abandoned London tube station that has become a Chinese restaurant
Disused tube stations are scattered across London and have been used for very strange purposes over the years.
One turned into a beautiful little bookstore, another was a frozen food store, and some turned into power stations to heat people’s homes.
But a lost station is now covered in white paint!
Marlborough Road, located in St John’s Wood just around the corner from the famous Abbey Road Studios, was first opened in April 1868.
One hundred years later, iconic rock band The Beatles would record their incredible masterpiece, the White album, at Abbey Road Studios, after visiting and inspiring India.
Now covered in white paint, with no signs or identifications, it could almost be a tribute to that maid album that had a solid white cover with only the Beatles written on it in fine print.
It might just be wishful thinking of course, but maybe there is a rail planner with a sense of the imagination.
What is inside and under the building, however, is intriguing.
At the time of its construction, the small station had only one track and served as a crossing point for loop trains.
It had a curved iron and glass roof that served to house the platforms and was typical of the heyday of station design.
The brick building stood on the corner of Finchley Road and Queen’s Grove and had one of those lovely old-fashioned Spiers & Pond refreshments that were everywhere in the London Underground at the time – just like Costa Coffee and WH Smith are now.
Incredibly at this station, when the old steam trains arrived, the pilots – whose job it was to guide trains through sections of single track – would actually jump from train to train to exchange services.
Electric trains replaced the glory of steam here in 1905.
By 1914, many people were taking the bus instead of the train, and the number of passengers had dropped to around 40 per day.
Residents were outraged when the railroad decided to reduce the station’s opening hours from 9.45 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. They complained that city workers had moved to the area because the train station was so convenient and they were now being punished with cutbacks in services. A familiar story?
Under these circumstances, it is quite astonishing that the station has managed to struggle for decades.
But the writing was on the wall when the Bakerloo line was extended from Baker Street to Finchley Road and a new station was built in St John’s Wood.
The charming, street-level building at Marlborough Road has had an incredible afterlife, however.
Part of it was for a while used as a doctor’s office and later in the 1970s it became a restaurant.
It changed hands a few times, but more recently it was a Chinese establishment. Apparently, the guests’ chopsticks were shaking as the trains passed underneath.
Now, although the interior is now a powerhouse used to boost power to the metro line when stock S trains were introduced in 2007.
But you can still see vestiges of the station, including a remaining section of the platform and the imprint of the curve of the old roof at track level.
The stairs to the old platforms are still in place and you can still see the old elegant arcades and the masonry of the old station walls from the tracks as you pass.
We’ll let you decide if this is a good use of the lovely old building or if maybe covering it in white paint was just a nod to the Beatles and their amazing white album – that would be well if it was true!
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