Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the walls of the London Underground?

If you’re like me the answer is probably yes, every time I’ve walked past one of the many ‘staff only’ doors, I question what lies behind them.

Well, I finally got the chance to see for myself.

I was able to get tickets for the London Transports Museum Hidden London Tours that explore the disused areas of the London Underground.

Opting to choose the Bakerloo Lines, Baker Street, I was ready to finally see what lies beyond the doors and what secrets are kept in the London Underground and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ilford Recorder: Information on Baker Street station. Information on Baker Street station. (Image: Newsquest)

What’s behind the doors of the London Underground? I found out

Meeting at the Sherlock Holmes statue outside Baker Street Station, the helpful guides explained that I should expect dark and dirty conditions, only making my excitement grow.

Stepping through the ‘staff only’ door, I walked down a low ceiling (good thing I’m short) dark and dusty tunnel which I later found out was once the ‘good’s bridge’.

Listening to the knowledgeable guide, they explained how Baker Street Station was made as a part of the original Metropolitan Line to help move the growing population of London.

As the solicitor for the City of London, Charles Pearson proposed building an underground railway in the streets of London, seeing the creation of Baker Street Station.

Ilford Recorder: Original tiles for the toilets.Original tiles for the toilets. (Image: Newsquest)

With design at the forefront, Baker Street was made by cutting beneath the road using gas lamps on the side of tracks to lit platforms and glass windows in the roof for more light.

Moving into another disused area off Baker Street Station, a long corridor with arched ways led the tour to what seemed like a set of a horror movie with hanging cobwebs and an ominous ladder waiting at the end of the path.

But the disused room was far from a horror movie and as it turns out I was standing in what was believed to be a waiting room for first-class passengers with remains of a fireplace and original tiles for the toilets still in place.

Ilford Recorder: The horse shoe tunnel.The horse shoe tunnel. (Image: Newsquest)

Looking around the space, the London Transport Museum guides explained that the class system of Victorian London meant that journeys on the Tube were very different for passengers.

As first-class passengers sat in luxury, the working class were forced to intake the toxic steam of the trains with no ventilation for fresh air.

The tour guides later led the group through the corridors of Baker Street station and through another ‘staff only’ door, and once more down a dark tunnel with remains of blue and white tiles, telling passengers what line they were on.

At the end of the tunnel stood another unassuming wooden door that led to a ‘horseshoe’ tunnel which despite being dusty was practically in perfect condition with all tiles still shining.

The horseshoe tunnel once led passengers into the station with the choice of stairs or an elevator, the first of its kind.

Ilford Recorder: The elevator shaft. The elevator shaft. (Image: Newsquest)

Heading down the last of the dark tunnels, looking up, the whole tour group was in awe as above us were the remains of an elevator leading to the street level.

The drop from the street level is a terrifying thought and whilst the Victorian elevators are no longer in use, the drop still comes in handy.

As the smart people behind the London Underground repurposed the tunnel for vents, the tour guide opened a huge metal door to reveal that below us was part of the Jubilee line and that the vents helped keep the space cool during summer months.

Although I knew that the London Underground held a lot of secrets, the vent tunnel was the most surprising, holding remains of 1940s posters, and decadent architecture it made me realise just how much hides in the walls of the Tube network.

Ilford Recorder: Tracks of the Tube below.Tracks of the Tube below. (Image: Newsquest)

Walking through Tube stations, I’ve always imagined that behind doors lay a world like Harry Potter, but J.K Rowling lied, it’s much more fascinating than wizards and elves.

The tour made me understand just how historic the London Underground is and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to help the millions that use the transport system get around.

Without the Tube, London would be impossible to get around and the roads would be filled with endless traffic, can you imagine anything worse?

The London Underground is the beating heart of the capital and the Hidden London tour made it clear that there’s so much more to London than anyone knows.


How to get tickets to the Hidden London Tours by London’s Transport Museum

You can find more information on the tours, including getting tickets via the website here.

There are several tours as part of Hidden London, including Aldwych, Baker Street, Clapham South, Charing Cross, Euston, Piccadilly Circus, Shepherd’s Bush and more.

Adult tickets start at £39 and rise to £44 with money raised helping fund education and training for people in the transport field.

Not all tours run at the same time and the Museum only announces between three and four tours at a time.