There are many London Underground stations that have been left abandoned or that underground trains no longer call at.
Some of these had an incredibly short lifespan indeed. But some – only a few it has to be said – have been rejuvenated and have found a new lease of life in modern times.
In the case of City Road, the authorities were talking about shutting it down after just seven years of it being open.
READ MORE: The ‘lost’ London Underground station that was built so people could have a game of golf
According to the brilliant book London’s Disused Underground Stations by Jim Connor, the station opened in 1901 but by 1908 the rail authorities were already considering closing it.
Mr Connor says the station opened when the City & South London Railway extended their service from Moorgate Street to Angel.
The entrance to the station was on City Road at its junction with Moorland Street – hence the station name.
The Tube station has an entirely different purpose now
(Image: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
To get to the platforms, passengers had to travel down some 65 feet in the lifts.
Mr Connor writes that the station was designed by T Phillips Figgis who also designed Angel.
But because the station was so close to Old Street and Angel, it couldn’t attract a lot of passengers.
By 1913, powers had been granted to C&SLR to widen the tunnels in the area to the larger diameter that more recently opened tunnels were being built to.
When the lines reopened after the work was done though, City Road was not on the list of stops.
Trains would simply now pass it by.
The platforms were soon removed and the lift shaft converted into a ventilation shaft for the line.
Yet the old station building was to have a very interesting afterlife.
In World War Two, a brick wall was constructed to shield the platforms from the trains and it was converted into an air raid shelter complete with toilets and a canteen.
By 1970 most of the street building above had been demolished apart from a small part of the ventilation tower.
You used to be able to occasionally get a tour of the station organised by London Transport Museum which involved going down a 155-step spiral staircase to the two lost platforms below.
But most excitingly, the station has in recent years found new life as part of a heating system for a housing estate
It’s part of an incredible scheme allowing waste heat from the Tube to heat homes and several other buildings.
It’s an initiative that’s been rolled out to over 1,000 buildings across Islington already, with plenty of potential to expand much further and it’s the first of its kind in the world.
The project first came to light back in 2012, with a communal heat system being set up for the purpose known as the Bunhill Heat and Power scheme.
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From the ventilation shaft in the disused Tube station off City Road, it’s then added to Islington Council’s existing heat and energy system.
The original network, known as Bunhill phase 1, was powered by a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine at an energy centre in Central Street. T
This CHP engine is powered by gas and uses heat created from producing electricity to heat buildings and provide hot water. Unlike normal electricity production that wastes up to two thirds of the fuel used to make it, the waste heat the CHP generates is captured for the heat network.
The success of Bunhill phase 1 encouraged the council to extend the network to supply heat and hot water to 550 more properties, as well as creating capacity to add further private connections in the future.
To achieve this, a new Energy Centre was constructed with a pipe distribution network. Islington partnered with Transport for London (TfL) to provide the additional heat from the Tube via City Road.
You’ll probably have seen the red building that houses the ventilation system if you’ve walked down City Road – it’s not difficult too spot.
Hat’s off to Islington Council – it’s certainly an ingenious way of reusing energy and reusing a long-lost Tube station!