These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs

By Attila Nagy on at

Abandoned subway stations are equal parts fascinating and creepy. Due to its role in World War II, the Down Street tube station in Westminster is historically fascinating and creepy. And soon, it will be open to the public.

The lifespan of Down Street as a tube station actually lasted less than three decades. The station opened in 1907, when the underground lines were electrified, and closed in 1932 after London Underground authorities decided that it wasn’t used enough. Seven years later, on the eve of the war, Down Street was transformed into a bomb shelter for the Railway Executive Committee and, later, Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself. He called it “The Barn.”

Beginning May 7th the London Transport Museum will be giving guided tours deep down into the disused Down Street Tube station as part of their new ‘Hidden London’ season. The Museum will also run tours into the abandoned labyrinth of tunnels under Euston station, Clapham South’s deep-level Second World War bunker, as well as the London Underground’s former headquarters at 55 Broadway near St James’ Park.

If you happen to be in London this year, you should not miss the chance to explore these spaces. (You can buy tickets online starting April 20.) If not, the photos below may give you a chilly glimpse at what was it like to spend days or weeks in 1940, during the Blitz, listening to the murmur of the Nazi bombs.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
A poorly lit tunnel. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
The spiral staircase down into the underground bunker. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
What decades of decay do to the tiles. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
Inside an old elevator shaft. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
Another look at spiral stairway that connects the surface and the underground shelter. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
A view of walkway into the station. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
A sign pointing to the Railway Executive Committee meeting room. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
A map on a wall showing the location of the bunker. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
Beware of trains! Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
A door between the tunnel and tracks. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

These Creepy Tunnels Are Where Churchill Hid From Nazi Bombs
This way up. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Featured image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.