Part 2 - Highgate High Level Platforms
Situated in a cutting between two pairs of tunnels, the original Highgate High Level platforms are situated directly above today's Northern Line station. Although today they are closed to the public, they can clearly seen from varous places in the surrounding area.
In fact, the whole of the surface concourse's roof is covered by this platform, which may explain why it has hardly been touched since it closed in 1954. In the image above you can see the station's rear entrance along with the building containing the escalator leading to the main street level.
It was intended that this station be an interchange between the two lines (and indeed it did prove to be such during the days the surface line was steam operated). The connecting corridor and staircase up to the platforms (above) can still be reached today through the station's staff mess room.
These two photographs show that very little has changed of the station's architecture since the station was closed. The first photograph shows the view along the south-bound platform - note that some covering has since been added, presumably to improve the water sealing of the roof for the station below! Architect Charles Holden designed the platform structure and this is the best-preserved example of his work that has gone into disuse. (Much of his wonderful architecture can still be seen in all its grandeur on the northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line among others).
The second photograph clearly shows how close integration into the Underground network this station came - the impression left by a London Transport roundel sign can clearly be seen in the wall.
Although the architecture remains in good condition, nature has clearly taken its course over the years in other parts of the station. This photograph shows a panoramic image looking south of the station building. The first thing you notice is how overgrown the platform area is, since its hardly been touched since 1954. Not quite so obvious from this photograph is how long the platform (included the covered area) is. It was in fact originally designed with 9 car trains in mind though in reality only six car trains would probably ever have been used. When you eventually reach the end of the platform in this direction, the track way runs immediately into two tunnels (now covered with a metal grate to prevent less salubrious uses...).
The same is true of the north end of the station - as soon as the platforms end, the tracks run into a pair of tunnels.
The tracks were lifted soon after closure, but in this photograph, taken up one of the northbound tunnels, the concrete sleepers used to hold the track in place can still clearly be seen. The tunnel mouths in this direction are actually sealed by a welded steel plate but there was a hole small enough to squeeze the camera lens and flash through to take this photograph!
Around the mouths of the north tunnels, even more evidence can be seen of the extensive work that had gone into the abortive electrification of the lines - here we can see some of the cable holders that would have been used to carry communication and electric cables.
These are a few images examining the architecture of the platform building itself. The first image, looking from the northbound tunnel's mouth shows how part of the track way has been built on - air vents for the escalators I suspect. The second image, looking northwards shows the original station building to the right of Holden's platform building. The third image shows one of the building's two enclosed waiting rooms (though they were now only enclosed with wire mesh).
This final picture was taken in April 1970 and it shows that although the station's platforms were already starting to become overgrown, the rails were still in place. These in fact remained until the early 1980s, with trains being hauled using electric locomotives to the depot, just beyond the tunnels.
The picture was taken by Peter Wright who has graciously allowed it to be reproduced it here.
Although the rails have long since gone and the station is now derelict, it is said that locals still occasionally hear the ghostly rumblings of trains passing through this long forsaken station...
NOTE: Platform level pictures were not taken on the day of the described walk - these were taken at a different time with permission and supervision.
Last Modified: February 23rd 2005
Station pictures taken April 7th 2001.
Highgate 1970 platform photograph © 1970,2002 Peter Wright and is used with permission.
All material on this page is © 2001,2005 Hywel Williams unless otherwise noted.
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