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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, January 15, 2024

Piccadilly Circus: The Heart of London Tour @ Hidden London…

Last Friday Stuart and I took the latest of the Hidden London tours that explore disused and hidden parts of the Underground network in glitzy London Town.  
This one was Piccadilly Circus: The Heart of London and we got to hear about and see the station’s origins and the changes that have been made to it over the past century and a half. 
Most interesting perhaps was why the station is in its current location at all. In 1928 the station was moved from its original location at the side of the circus, where the Hard Rock Cafe is now, to be underneath in the centre of the circus itself below the statue of Eros. 
The main reason for this move was because of the popularity of Piccadilly Circus station itself. The original lifts couldn’t cope with all the extra traffic and so they wanted to install escalators.  But as the escalators go down to the platforms at an angle and they would’ve cut straight through the subterranean Criterion Theatre auditorium next door.  So, they had to move the station so as not to disturb Fanny Albright in row D of the orchestra stalls. 
We got to walk along disused passenger tunnels from the old lift shafts (now used as ventilation shafts) to secret staircases, that can be used to access the modern platforms. 
It was fascinating to see just how deep the station is with all its various north and southbound platforms for the Piccadilly and the Bakerloo lines.
Great fun. 

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