There’s plenty of disused and abandoned spaces on the London Underground to fire the imagination.
Sometimes you can glimpse them as blurry images from the windows of passing trains, sometimes they’ve been used for bizarre things like storing frozen meat or heating people’s homes.
In other cases though, old stations and tunnels have been buried or completely lost so that they’ve all but been forgotten about.
Such is the case with the original, long forgotten Hillingdon London Underground station.
Of course today we know the Hillingdon station as the busy hub located between Uxbridge and Ickenham. It is the penultimate station on the Uxbridge branch of both the Metropolitan and the Piccadilly lines.
But this wasn’t always the case.
In fact the original station was much, much older.
You have to go back to 1923 to a time when Metroland was first expanding to trace its routes.
At that point, Halden Estates – which was building homes in the area – approached the Metropolitan Railway to ask for a station to be built to serve its new housing estates.
A station was duly planned and built at Long Lane in Ickenham as the suburbs in the area began to grow.
It was put up by the Rust and Ratcliffe firm from Chesham who estimated they could build it for just £996.
It was really just a tiny half-timbered ticket hall at first and an iron footbridge over the platforms was provided for an extra £200.
Wooden buildings on the platforms provided simple shelter.
The station’s first use was in December 1923.
But passenger numbers grew as the area began to develop and an impressive 58,711 people used the station in its first year.
Clearly this small station was not going to be big enough to cope with demand.
Residents began to complain about the lack of facilities including toilets.
People also complained about the name of the station as they felt it was too far away from Hillingdon to be called…well…Hillingdon.
They wanted it to be called ‘Hillingdon North’, ‘Hillingdon Mount’ or ‘Swakeleys’
Here at MyLondon, we’re doing our very best to make sure you get the latest news, reviews and features from your area.
Now there’s a way you can keep up to date with the areas that matter to you with our free email newsletters.
We have seven newsletters you can currently sign up for – including a different one for each area of London and one dedicated totally to EastEnders.
The local newsletters go out twice a day and send the latest stories straight to your inbox.
From community stories and news covering every borough of London to celebrity and lifestyle stories, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.
To sign up to any of our newsletters, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.
And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.
But no-one official appeared to listen or care.
Major renovations soon followed though with bigger enclosed waiting rooms being added and canopies over the platforms.
Finally it was also agreed it could be called Hillingdon (Swakeleys) in 1931.
There were plans for a more extensive rebuild but that never happened and the drab and eventually dilapidated station remained much the same until the 1990s.
It wasn’t until 1992 that things really changed.
Due to the building of the A40 – the new road which was carved right across West London, the station had to be shut and moved to a new location at the site of the former goods yard.
So the station we know and love today with its glazed roof came into use in 1992.
But not everything from the past has been forgotten. Some of the nameboards rwith the ‘Swakeleys’ suffix have in fact been kept and reused in the current station so a ghost of the oldstation has been preserved.
The full story of the station can be read in JE Connor’s book ‘London’s Disused Underground Stations’.
London Transport Museum runs tours and virtual tours to some of London’s disused stations. Details can be found here.