As a young child in the early 1940s, I was quite used to the London Underground
because my mother took me to visit her family in
Edmonton, north London. We called it 'the tube'.
We took it from Edgware to Golders Green where we changed to a
bus. Between Edgware and Golders Green,
the journey was above ground. It was after Golders Green that the train went
into a tunnel.
The tube trains
London Underground (tube) train, Northern Line.
Photographed in the London Transport Museum.
The London Underground trains on our line were, and still are, a
distinctive bright red.
Where I lived in Edgware at the end of the Northern
Line, I had a good look at the then every day as I passed the terminus.
The trains were kept outside because the terminus itself had lost its roof
as a result of bomb damage in the war.
The fence was a transparent wire netting one.
The windows of the tube in wartime
I don't remember what I did on the journeys above ground, but it certainly
wasn't looking out of the windows. Because it was wartime and London was in
fear of German bombing, all the windows had mesh stuck over them to stop glass
splinters flying from a bomb blast. This mesh must have been fairly easy to
get hold of, unlike non-essential items, as we had it up loosely at the windows
at home in place of net curtains. New net curtains, being non-essential items,
were no-where to be bought - and my parents had started to set up home only
in the year before the beginning of the war.
Screen shot from an old film showing the wooden treads
of the old escalators.
What I particularly remember about the escalators was that the treads were
made of wood. In fact this continued in some stations for decades, gradually
being replaced by stainless steel.
Screen shot from an old film showing the London Underground
During World War Two platforms seemed packed with men in army, navy or
air force uniform.
Army personnel on London Underground platforms.
Screen shot from an old film.
At night civilians used the
platforms as underground bomb shelters.
I used to see them settling down for the night when my parents took me to