“Once I built a railroad, I made it run”*

*(Wikipedia):“from “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, one of the best-known American songs of the Great Depression. Written by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” was part of the 1932 musical revue Americana; the melody is based on a Russian-Jewish lullaby.”

From Wikipedia:

“…The Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR) first proposed a station in the Strand area in a private bill presented to Parliament in November 1898. The station was to be the southern terminus of an underground railway line planned to run from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) via Finsbury Park and King’s Cross and was originally to be located at the corner of Stanhope Street and Holles Street, north of the Strand. When the two streets were scheduled for demolition as part of the London County Council’s plans for the construction of Kingsway and Aldwych, the GN&SR moved the location to the junction of the two new roads. Royal Assent to the bill was given and the Great Northern and Strand Railway Act 1899 was enacted on 1 August.

In September 1901, the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR), which planned to build an underground line from South Kensington to Piccadilly Circus via Knightsbridge. Both were under the control of Charles Yerkes through his Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company and, in June 1902, were transferred to Yerkes’ new holding company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). Neither of the railways had carried out any construction, but the UERL obtained permission for new tunnels between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn to connect the two routes. The companies were formally merged as the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR) following parliamentary approval in November 1902. Prior to confirmation of the merger, the GN&SR had sought permission to extend its line southwards from the future junction of Kingsway and Aldwych, under Norfolk Street to a new interchange under the Metropolitan District Railway’s station at Temple. The extension was rejected following objections from the Duke of Norfolk under whose land the last part of the proposed tunnels would have run…

…On 9 May 1915, three of the Underground stations in the area were renamed and Strand station became Aldwych. Sunday services ended in April 1917 and, in August of the same year, the eastern tunnel and platform at Aldwych and the bay platform at Holborn were formally closed. A German bombing campaign in September 1917 led to the disused platform being used as storage for around 300 paintings from the National Gallery from then until December 1918.

In October 1922, the ticket office was replaced by a facility in the lifts. Passenger numbers remained low: when the station was one of a number on the network considered for closure in 1929, its annual usage was 1,069,650 and takings were £4,500. The branch was again considered for closure in 1933, but remained open.

Wartime efficiency measures led to the branch being closed temporarily on 22 September 1940, shortly after the start of The Blitz, and it was partly fitted out by the City of Westminster as an air-raid shelter. The tunnels between Aldwych and Holborn were used to store items from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. The branch reopened on 1 July 1946, but patronage did not increase. In 1958, the station was one of three that London Transport announced would be closed. Again it survived, but the service was reduced in June 1958 to run during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday morning and early afternoons. The Saturday service was withdrawn in June 1962.

After operating only during peak hours for more than 30 years, the closure announcement came on 4 January 1993. The original 1907 lifts required replacement at a cost of £3 million. This was not considered justifiable in relation to the passenger numbers using the station and it was losing London Regional Transport £150,000 per year. The Secretary of State for Transport granted permission on 1 September 1994 to close the station and the branch closed on 30 September. Recognising the station’s historical significance as a mostly unaltered station from the early 20th century, the station was given Grade II listed building status in 2011. Office floors above the station are used by the Classics department of King’s College London…”

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