Ghost Stations………


‘I believe in the poetry of abandoned hotels,’  J.G. Ballard

This sentiment coupled with my current interest in the Circle Line  has lead me to question whether there is any ‘poetry’ in the abandoned stations of London Underground.

Through internet research I’ve found 43 abandoned stations on the underground, or as they have been dubbed ‘ghost stations’.  One example being Holborn station where there are 4 platforms currently in use but there are also 2 platforms hidden and no longer used.  Platform 6 however is not only a platform, it also has an area that was dedicated to the station staff during the 1930’s.  The photos below are from http://underground-history.co.uk/holborn.php.






What have the ghost stations become?  They have lost the transience that once defined them, they are frozen in time, and they no longer have movement.  So what are they?  Do they now have a historical relevance?  If so does this then transform it into more of a place?  I think the answer is yes and no. 

They do take on a historical form, which is one of the elements Marc Auge suggests needs to be present in order to define a place but I feel there is more to these spaces that just a historical observation.  I think there is something quite compelling about how this space has been defined and redefined. 

The signs we once used to make sense of it do not make sense anymore.  The space that once used as a cafeteria or the sign that once defined where the cloakroom was no longer has any aesthetical relevance, it has been transformed yet again and communicates less with us on a less visual level, it transcends this and becomes something else.  

In order for this space to fulfill its (designated) purpose depends upon the movement of people through it, and their experiences with it.  Once you remove these elements, it loses all clarity.  It is a discarded space; it has been reduced back to its original form yet now it shows signs of its collision with the human race. 

For now it stands still long enough for us to reflect on it; it becomes more poetic, it reveals a narrative that speaks to us silently through the broken earth and litter that once transformed it, it stands still scarred by particular space in time. 


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