The derelict site of the former Aldgate East tube station, which closed in October 1938, has been cleared ahead of construction works which will see the area covered over once more.
The original Aldgate East tube station was built around 500 feet to the west of the current station, but that meant a very tight curve on the railway, which caused problems.
In the 1935-40 upgrade program, a new station was built, where Aldgate East today, the railway curve made much smoother, and on 30th October 1938 the old station closed with the replacement opening the next morning.
The construction of the new station was an impressive feat of engineering, as it’s deeper than the old railway track, so as they dug the new station, they hung the old railway on cables from the new ceiling while they dug underneath it. The hooks can still be seen in the roof above the railway.
Back to the old station. Now closed, the surface buildings were demolished, and the site has been empty for many years. Following the war, a rather unattractive office block was built behind the old tube station, but a developer now owns both sites, and wants to build on them.
Planning permission as granted a decade ago for a hotel and office block to be built on the site, with a new pedestrian route separating the two buildings, but the recession delayed things, until now.
Permission has been granted for the hotel element to be built separately from the office block, and construction of that has started, with demolition of the old 1960s office block now under way.
More recently, they’ve cleared the overgrowing vegetation which had turned the old tube station box into a sunken park, and new concrete steps have been built to get down to the platform level.
The planning permission for the office block is likely to need to be renewed, if only because the area has itself changes markedly since permission was granted, and the correspondence about the hotel with TfL only indicates that it is sufficiently far back from the remains of the old tube station to be unaffected by it.