The abandoned London Underground station, which sold for £ 665,000 and became a cinema with a whirlpool

As the London Underground developed and changed, many stations were closed down and sold off or rebuilt.

Some simply fell into disrepair or had supermarkets or homes built on top of them.

Others, however, were completely transformed.

One such London Underground station it happened to be was Shoreditch.

READ MORE: It abandoned the London Underground, which meant digging up Kensington Gardens

As Ian Spragg tells us in his excellent book, ‘The Strange Tales of the London Underground’, the station was opened way back in 1869 as part of the early East London Railway.

Originally, passengers would get on and travel from Shoreditch to Liverpool Street and then to stations further south.

But that passenger service was completed in 1885.

Later in 1913, Shoreditch became part of the Metropolitan Railway.

Freight services from Liverpool Street continued to pass through Shoreditch until April 1966, but after that date the rail link was cut off to improve access to Liverpool Street for other trains.

But it continued to operate the East London Line by train to Whitechapel, Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Surrey Quays, New Cross Gate and New Cross.

In later days, it had a single platform next to a single track that ran next to the disused Bishopsgate department store.

Shoreditch tube station was sold at auction and turned into an art gallery (London Transport Museum Collections)

This made it a very rare example – one of only a handful of single platforms – single track stations on the network.

But blink until the 2000s, and only 1,130 passengers used the station every day.

In 2006, it was largely replaced when London Overground opened Shoreditch High Street station.

The station began to decay, but it was not until 2011 that TfL actually decided to put it up for sale.

An advertisement for the station, which markets it as a one-story building, read: “The property consists of a ticket office, a lobby area, storage rooms, plant rooms and a toilet.

“It is in a popular residential area with its many trendy bars and restaurants.

“Brick Lane is within easy walking distance and Old Spitalfields Market is close by.”

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The price of the building was marked at £ 180,000, but it was actually finally auctioned off for £ 665,000.

It was quickly transformed into an art gallery.

Not surprisingly, given Shoreditch’s entrepreneurial character, it has since found other uses.

In 2014, it was used as a “pop-up” cinema and was equipped with six-person hot tubs from which one could watch the movies.

Meanwhile, the concept in the winter was to “bring your own pillow” for use on bunk chair beds.

At the moment, the website of the so-called pillow cinema says that it is dormant.

You can find out much more about disused London Underground stations and take a tour of some of them with the London Transport Museum here.

Do you have a story you think we should cover? If so, please send an email martin.rivers@


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