As mentioned previously the station’s extensions were designed by Charles Holden in a manner somewhat similar to those others on the Northern Line down to Morden. Below is a sketch of Holden’s showing the new station entrance on Charing Cross Road. Clearly the slimline tube roundel (which I discussed in the first post on this series) is already in vogue here. In a way it makes sense because one with a larger girth would have at that time been seen as somewhat unappealing (compared to what we find nowadays) not only that, the more minimalist designs were the better and a slim tube roundel definitely fell into that category.
Holden’s drawing for Leicester Square tube November 1923. Source: Twitter.
The present ticket hall was largely designed by Holden and the centre kiosk remains as detailed previously.
The centre kiosk area was originally empty and used for a floral display when the station first opened. The circular central glass area was built later and used as a display unit before becoming a control room. This picture shows it in use as a display unit during 1948. The centre kiosk area is a control room these days with a useful train departure indicator:
BALLASTED TRACK SECTIONS
Tube stations are noted for having the drop-pit between the tracks. The only tube stations (those underground) that dont have a drop-pit are those on the Waterloo & City Line and at the former Aldwych, however there are reasons for this, e.g. the Waterloo & City is not a traditional tube line.
Normally the entire length of track within a tube station has the traditional pit whilst in some cases a concrete base extends slightly out of the tunnel sections. A couple of stations on the Piccadilly and Central Lines have short sections of ballasted track within the station environs.
Additionally Piccadilly Circus on the Bakerloo has a substantial section of concrete track base within the station tunnels although it is not ballasted like Leicester Square’s
Leicester Square’s eastbound Piccadilly platform has a substantial section of ballasted track followed by a lengthy concreted section and so tops the list of the few rare stations with this combined feature.
View of the eastbound at Leicester Square.
Not quite the same platform but its the western end of the Piccadilly Line’s platforms still! This is the westbound platform in the 1930s, and shows just how much these tunnel portals have changed! One other interesting aspect of this picture is the coffee pot signal on the wall, these particular signals I have discussed elsewhere – and there’s still one example of these at work on the tube system. Source: Twitter.
THE HIPPODROME ENTRANCE
The entrance canopy on the Hippodrome side has changed radically. This was it before it recieved fancy glass lettering. The framework remains basically unaltered but the sides are hidden by new hording bearing the Hippodrome name. The fancy glass ‘Underground’ bit can still be seen by looking up from the inside of the canopy, this picture shows it before it was covered over.
Bowroaduk on Flickr has this image with a different view of the ‘UndergrounD’ bit.
LEICESTER SQUARE CONTROL ROOMS
Leicester Square station was once the heart of the Northern Line. In the 1950’s provision was made for a major control centre which had originally been at Kennington. It was sited within one of the former lift shafts at Leicester Square and known as the Regulating Room (Lower level). This began operations in January 1958.
The lower regulating room controlled all of the Northern Line except the section from Tooting to Morden which was controlled by a newer upper regulating room sited above the station. Apparently the regulating rooms were the first on the underground to use Dell programming machines rather than the old method of using sheets of punched card or paper roll. The Dells used plastic rolls, eight feet long and punched with holes.
The role of the regulating rooms was to ensure the tube trains ran on time. Regulation was automatic however signalmen took over if problems arose. Leicester Square’s role in controlling trains did not last very long. Its operations were transferred to Coburg Street and the regulating rooms closed for good on 13 December 1969.
Coburg Street was last used for Northern Line control in 2014 and this has now transferred to Highgate Control Centre.