Mayfair Station Down Street is for Sale

A Piccadilly Line “ghost station” in Mayfair used as a shelter from the Blitz by Sir Winston Churchill is to be brought back to life as an art gallery or restaurant more than 70 years after the last trains stopped there.

Transport for London today asked businesses for “innovative ideas” to transform the network of tunnels, offices and shafts at Down Street station as part of its ambitious plans to generate £3.4 billion in revenue from its vast property portfolio.

It is the first of an estimated seven abandoned stops on the network that are thought to have the potential to be returned to commercial use.

Graeme Craig, TfL’s director of commercial development, said it would lease out 4,300 sq ft “to businesses who have the ability to use the space to create something exceptional and establish the next chapter in the station’s history.”

The “difficult, dark, complex space” is all subterranean, ruling out apartments or offices but Mr Craig said a “low footfall, high value” use such as an art gallery, exhibition space or restaurant could be viable. It is estimated the station could generate up to £100,000 a year in rent.

He added: “The combination of space, history, and location, makes this a unique opportunity. We are looking for a partner with the imagination to see the potential here and the capability to deliver it.”

Adjoining parts of the station are still required for running the Tube, but we will work with interested parties to ensure the commercial and operational activities can happily coexist.”

The station - between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park - opened in 1907 but has been closed to the public since 1932 when London transport bosses decided not enough passengers were using it.

Down Street, the only station wholly within Mayfair, still has its Leslie Green designed station facade with trademark ox-blood glazed tiles at street level. The old station entrance and ticket office is currently occupied by a shop.

The station was used as a shelter by the Prime Minister and his wife Clementine during the worst of the bombing raids in the Autumn 1940 when it was feared that Downing Street was too vulnerable. Cabinet meetings were also held there before the Cabinet War Rooms were completed.

Supplies provided for Sir Winston in the station included 1928 Perrier-Jouet champagne, 1965 brandy and Cuban cigars. It was also the headquarters of the Railway Executive throughout the war.

Photo by Nigel Howard

Article from Daily Mail Online by Jonathan Prynn.