Mystery Ukrainian billionaire plans to turn 'ghost' tube station that was used by Winston Churchill into flats after buying it for £50million
- Brompton Road station closed in 1934 due to lack of passengers
- During WW2 the tube station housed Churchill's anti-aircraft operations
- Hitler's right-hand man Rudolf Hess was reportedly interrogated there
- The new owner outbid members of the Qatari Royal Family
By Leon Watson
A mystery investor has bought a disused London Underground tube station from the Ministry of Defence for £50million.
Brompton Road station, on the old Piccadilly line near Harrods, opened in 1906 but closed in 1934 due to lack of passengers.
During the Second World War the tube station housed Winston Churchill's anti-aircraft operations HQ and Hitler's right-hand man Rudolf Hess was reportedly interrogated there.
The disused London Underground Brompton Road Station contains a drill hall, garages, offices and mess as well as underground rooms, staircases and tunnels
Landmark: The building features the oxblood-red tiled facade and semi-circular windows typical of architect Leslie Green's style
The MoD bought the station in 1938 for £22,000 to use as a training facility but have now sold it as part of cost-cutting measures.
It was snapped up by a mystery Ukrainian billionaire for the eye-watering sum of £50million after a fierce bidding war.
The new owner outbid members of the Qatari Royal Family to snap up the 28,000sq ft real estate - and announced plans to turn the building into a series of luxury apartments.
But not everybody is happy that the old station is to be turned into new flats.
Ghost station: The historic 28,000 sq ft building was sold off by the MoD as part of a cost cutting exercise
Spooky: The passages where commuters would have made their way to platforms in the early 20th century remain today
Leslie Green: Brompton Road was one of a number of Tube stations designed by the English architect, who favoured the Arts and Crafts style
Remains: Switch gear used during the building's days as an Underground station still remain today
Ajit Chambers, of the Old London Underground Company, said: 'We have lost a big piece of our heritage to foreign investors.'
Brompton Road Tube opened in 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR) on the Piccadilly Line, positioned between Knightsbridge and South Kensington.
The building was designed by English architect Leslie Green and features his distinctive oxblood-red tiled facade and semi-circular first floor windows.
New life: 'Boris bikes' are seen lined up outside the Leslie Green-designed station in Knightsbridge as it looks today
Historic links: The former Underground station and WWII command centre could be transformed into flats
Distinctive: The green interior tiles remain inside the Leslie Green-designed station today
Eerie: A bricked off tunnel deep beneath the ground at the old Brompton Road Tube station
Varied past: The building is currently occupied by the London University Air Squadron, the London University Royal Naval Unit, and 46F Squadron Air Training Corps
Danger: Brompton Road ceased to be used as a tube station in 1934
On the market: The MoD is hoping the former Tube station will fetch an eight figure sum when it is marketed by agents Jones Lang LaSalle in September
Safety measures: A metal fire escape at the old Underground station on London's Brompton Road
London's hidden network: Warning notices hang inside Brompton Road station in central London
Warnings: Everything at track and platform level at Brompton Road remains in the ownership of Transport for London, which has no involvement in the sale of the building
War years: The Royal Artillery ran its anti-aircraft operations room from Brompton Road during the Second World War
Located at the junction of Brompton Road and Cottage Place, the station was convenient for the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Brompton Oratory, but still saw little traffic.
It was permanently closed in 1934 after it was finally deemed to be too close to the neighbouring stations to be economically viable.
The station was taken over by the War Office to be used as a command centre for the defence of London.
It was from here that the gun batteries dotted around London were coordinated as they tried to shoot down enemy planes during World War Two.
HIDDEN HISTORY: LONDON'S UNDERGROUND GHOST STATIONS
There are understood to be 32 ghost
stations across London's underground network, abandoned over the years
as lines were diverted or the number of passengers passing through
Road, many of the stations have links to the Second World War. Down
Street - last used as a station in May 1932, became an air raid shelter
after the war broke out, and Aldwych was used by thousands of Londoners
during the Blitz.
empty station in Westminster has been used as a location for films
including Atonement, V for Vendetta, Superman 4 and 28 Weeks Later.
Other abandoned stations still remain at City Road, which was on the Northern Line until it closed its doors in 1922, Marlborough Road, which was on the Metropolitan Line, and South Kentish Town, which closed in 1924.
York Road closed in 1932 because it was under-used, while North End is unique in that it is a closed Tube station that never actually opened.
Intended to be the deepest station on the underground network, work on North End stopped in 1906 because it was not deemed financially viable.
Churchill is believed to have visited the command centre to watch over the command of the battle against the Luftwaffe.
It was vacated by the War Office in the 1950s but seventy years on the Ministry of Defence still owns it to a depth of about 60ft underground.
The MoD's jurisdiction ends at a locked gate and beyond this Tube trains still run on the Piccadilly Line.
But evidence of the Royal Artillery's operations centre remains in remarkable condition. Maps of London still hang from the walls of the war room.
The station retains period features including a distinctive brown and green tiling pattern and electrical switch gear.
Brompton Road isn't the only 'ghost station' in London.
Aldwych, initially called Strand, is one of the most famous. It opened in 1907 but its financial viability was perennially in doubt and, after running a peak hours service only for many years, the station closed for good in 1994.
Down Street, near Hyde Park, which closed in 1932, was used as an air raid shelter by Winston Churchill. A bath installed in 1939 has been dubbed “Churchill’s bath”.
The British Museum once had its own Tube station on the Central Line. It opened in 1900 but has not been used by the general public since 1933. Holborn station is a few hundred yards away.
Not viable: The station was conveniently located for Brompton Oratory (pictured), but did not see a lot of traffic through its doors
Attractions: Brompton Road was also close to the Victoria & Albert Museum (pictured), and Harrods, but was closed permanently as a station in 1934 because it was too close to neighbouring Tube stops
War effort: Developers keen to capitalise on the station's links to Churchill have previously expressed an interest in transforming it into a tourist attraction
Footage courtesy of The Old London Underground Company