Abandoned for decades, a central London tunnel was a dumping ground for corpses once

Ghost tunnel or a time capsule
  • 29 Sep - 05 Oct, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

There’s something exceptionally eerie about an abandoned location. Especially slap bang in the middle of bustling central London. And although Aldwych tube station (formally known as The Strand station) has been disused for almost 40 years, there are thought to be a few guests lurking in the shadows.

The station itself is smaller than most. It only had two platforms and two tracks, and was opened in 1907 purely to take passengers to and from an increasingly popular theatre, The Royal Strand that was situated nearby.

During the Second World War it was used as an air-raid shelter and held 2,500 people. Notably, it also held treasures from Buckingham Palace, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Elgin Marbles.

One of the tube tunnels runs directly under a site where something rather gruesome was uncovered.

In the 1830s a man was charging people money to bury their loved ones at a local church but what he was actually doing was dumping the corpses in a 6ft-deep, 60ft-wide pit.

Twenty years later, 12,000 bodies were found after the congregation complained of a foul smell and strange insects flying around.

As well as ghosts from the graveyard being reported by ex workers and security, people have also said they’ve seen a woman dressed in theatrical costumes thought to be the ghost of Francis Maria Kelly. She was the star of a one-woman show at the Royal Strand Theatre in the late 1800s and is said to haunt the station in sorrow, devastated because they closed the theatre and put an end to her career.

As one platform was closed off shortly after the war, the posters that line the walls are all promoting the war effort, calling women to recycle their dresses and asking commuters to save their kitchen waste for the farm animals.

When the tunnel was used as an air-raid shelter, the ceilings were painted in a lead-based paint to help protect the rare artefacts that were stored there from being damaged by damp. Because of this, and the way in which it was abandoned, the platform is perfectly preserved and is now a listed area. Although some of the posters are peeling at the corners, it’s like stepping into a time capsule.