Air raids and Jerry Springer’s birth: 70 years at Highgate Station

A group of students have researched the rich history of Highgate Underground station to commemorate its 70th anniversary.

The team of six have explored the way transport developed on the site and how the deep station was used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War, for an art display later this month.

The project - named 70 Below - is a collaboration between community learning organisation Small Green Shoots, pupils aged 17-20 from DW8 Training College in Walthamstow, Transport for London and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Ruth Titmarsh, who is coordinating the project, said “History isn’t always the most entertaining subject for young people, but the more they’ve learned the more they’ve got into it and I think everyone has enjoyed it.”

To gather their material the students interviewed staff from the station and from London Transport Museum.

They also scoured the archives of Shepherd’s Hill Library in Highgate and talked to a woman who has lived on the station site for decades.

Makeda McMillan, 17, said: “When I first came here I thought it was just like any station, but now I see it differently.

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“I saw pictures of kids in bunk beds in the Tube station - that’s where they were sleeping. It’s got a lot of history.”

During the Second World War the Underground station was used as a bomb shelter because it is so deep, and in 1944 during a raid the American chat show host, Jerry Springer, was born on a platform.

Above ground, the station has a long history that spans back to the coming of the railway in 1860.

Phylis Cornell has lived in the former ticket office next to the tracks for 40 years.

She told the group how steam trains used to chug through and how after the railway was closed in 1954 the building was used as a children’s nursery before becoming her home. Abandoned platforms and disused tunnels at surface level still remain as relics of railway projects that have come and gone.

The students’ finished artwork celebrating 70 years of Highgate Underground station’s history will be on show at the station from Monday (November 28) until the end of January.