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.

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4 comments on “Disused tube station cleared ahead of construction works
  1. Andrew Gwilt says:

    I think it’s really disgraceful and to see this former station site completely covered up and to never be shown again in public with new apartments & office buildings being built in London as London’s population is still increasing every year.

    • Jeremy says:

      Why? Its not useful as a station. No train will ever call there again. This is a plot of land in one of the most built-up areas imaginable. As you correctly point out, London keeps getting busier. I’m not sure how you make the leap from there to disgrace.

  2. Mark P says:

    Thank you for showing us another bit of ‘ancient’ London, like so many other layers that have been used and then reused, exposed and then buried again.

  3. Chris H says:

    The tightness of the curve doesn’t seem to have been a problem. H Follenfant in “Reconstructing London’s Underground” goes into some detail about Aldgate East and doesn’t mention it at all. The important issue that needed addressing was that there wasn’t room on the triangular junction to stand a train – so, for example, if a train from Liverpool St came down the north curve to Aldgate East a district train from Tower Hill couldn’t enter the junction until the first had left. Than meant it could be blocking a circle line train behind it that needed to get into Aldgate. By shifting the station east and having four parallel tracks through the site of the old station there was room to wait so in the above scenario, the district train could turn towards Aldgate East and wait there allowing the circle line train behind to continue to Aldgate.
    Similarly if for example a Hammersmith train needed to leave Aldgate East towards Liverpool St but had to wait for it’s “slot” behind a circle train that had yet to leave Aldgate it could leave Aldgate East and wait on the “triangle” so as to allow a district train behind to pass though if needed.
    The curvature of the north curve from Liverpool St is unchanged as no work was done to that, that of the south curve from Tower Hill may be a little different as it was relocated a little south so as to allow a platform at Aldgate to be extended.

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