King William Street

Type: City & South London Railway
Opened: 1890
Closed: 1900
King William Street was the original Northern terminus of the original deep-level underground railway in London from Stockwell and thus one of the original tube stations. Unfortunately it is also the first ever tube station to close after just 10 years!

The City & South London Railway opened the station (which was located very close to the modern day Monument station) in 1890 bringing passengers into the city of London from South London, this line later became part of the Northern Line City Branch [1]. The station was closed after just 10 years because the line's northern extension to Moorgate followed a different alignment from Borough via new stations at London Bridge and Bank. The surface station building was demolished in the 1930s [2] though the underground station was largely intact (and indeed some of it still is) and was used as a bomb shelter in the war. The only sign of the station on the surface now is the plaque shown below.

The station itself suffered from a number of design flaws (it was described by the railway company's chairman in 1892 as "an engineering blunder") which made operations very difficult. The approach to the station was via steep gradients and tight turns because of the need to only tunnel under roads and not buildings (other early tube lines also suffer from tight turns because of this) [3]. Sometimes the small electric locomotives which hauled the trains could not make it into the station if the train was heavily loaded and had to reverse back down the tunnel and make another attempt!

After closure there were attempts to sell the station and disused tunnels to another company and also grow mushrooms. In the event the tunnels were used to store stock until the track was lifted after a couple of years.
Plaque on Regis House
Preserved City & South London Railway locomotive at the LT Museum

[1] Paul Moss, London Underground (Haynes, 2014) p. 26
[2] Ben Pedroche, Do Not Alight Here (Capital History, 2011) p. 19
[3] JE Connor, London's Disused Underground Stations (Capital Transport, 2012) p. 9