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London Underground - Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches

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East London Line | Metropolitan Line: East of Harrow | Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches | Northern Line: Morden Branch | Northern Line: Edgware and Charing Cross Branches | Piccadilly Line: North of Leicester Square | Piccadilly Line: West of Leicester Square | Victoria Line | Waterloo & City Line

The High Barnet branch of the Northern line is the section which runs from High Barnet in the north to Camden Town station, where it joins the Edgware branch. The line then splits again into the Charing Cross and Bank branches to the south, which eventually rejoin to form a southern branch. This entry deals with stations on the two easternmost branches, while two more entries deal with the two westernmost branches and the southern branch.

The Northern line was originally formed from two competing railways, both of which had built platforms at Euston station. The City & South London Railway had opened in 1890, running from Stockwell to King William Street, but was later extended between 1900 and 1907 to pass through London Bridge station instead on its way north to terminate at Euston. At the same time, the line was extended from Stockwell to Clapham Common in the south. Meanwhile, the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead line ran from Embankment1 via Euston to Golders Green and Archway2, and opened in 1907.

The two railways were amalgamated in 1913, and during the 1920s the lines were extended to join at Camden Town and Kennington, and the line was extended towards Edgware to the north and Morden to the south. The line was eventually completed between 1935 and 1940 with the addition of the electrified Edgware, Highgate & London Railway lines towards High Barnet and Mill Hill East. This work also included the unfulfilled plans for the Northern Heights, which are covered in the Abandoned Lines and Stations section of this guide.

Origins of the High Barnet Branch

In 1867, the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) opened its main line between Finsbury Park and Edgware3. The line passed through a surface station at Highgate, travelled along the course of the current Northern line to Mill Hill East, then continued along a now disused course to Edgware. A branch from this line to High Barnet opened in 1872, shortly after the EH&LR had been taken over by the Great Northern Railway. Ironically, High Barnet now forms the terminus of the only part of the line to be electrified except for a small offshoot towards Mill Hill East. This extension of the Northern line opened in 1940 from Archway, via newly built deep-level platforms at Highgate.

This means that while the stations between Highgate and Mill Hill East originally opened in 1867, the stations on the branch up to Highgate all opened in 1872. All these stations have generally retained their Victorian style, as little changes have been made to most. The exception to this rule is West Finchley, which was a completely new addition to the railway in 1933 before it was electrified.

High Barnet

High Barnet station lies on the A1000 and is the northernmost station on the Northern line, being over ten miles north of Embankment station. Having first opened as part of the EH&LR in 1870, the station features most of its original Victorian architecture which was retained when it became part of the Underground in 1940. The station is a short way north of Barnet playing fields and Underhill, the famously sloping home ground of Barnet FC, and has a car park and toilets. The platforms lie above ground, and access is via stairs. The name Barnet has two roots, either baernet, the Old English for a place cleared by burning, or bernette, which is French for a slope. The area was recorded as Barneto in 1070 and la Bernet in 1235, and the word 'High' refers to it being on a hill. The area is famous for the Battle of Barnet in 1471, and Barnet Fair, cockney rhyming slang for hair.

Totteridge & Whetstone

Although actually situated fully in Whetstone, this station originally opened as Totteridge and serves both surrounding areas. The station features toilets and a car park, and the surrounding area is served by a number of bus routes towards Barnet, Edgware, Walthamstow and Archway. The station lies on the slope of Totteridge Lane, and access to the platforms is by steps. As with other stations on this section of the line, Totteridge & Whetstone opened in 1872, and retains the appearance of a Victorian mainline station. The name Totteridge comes from an Anglo-Saxon named Totta who lived on the ridge, and the area was first recorded as Taterugg in 1248. Whetstone means stone quarry, and was recorded as Wheston in 1417. Local legends say that soldiers used a large stone here to sharpen their weapons before the Battle of Barnet.

Woodside Park

Originally opening as Torrington Park, Woodside in 1872, this station was given its current name in 1882, before being rebuilt in 1889. The station's Victorian architecture is still in evidence, with Woodside Park feeling much more like a rural mainline station. The main entrance, which leads onto the southbound platform via the ticket hall, is at the end of Woodside Park Road, next to the entrance from the car park. A smaller entrance with no ticket barrier leads onto the northbound platform at the end of Station Road. The platforms are at street level and disabled access is available. However, a bridge links the platforms, so disabled access between platforms involves using the adjacent streets. The bridge also links the two nearby streets which means access to the southbound platform is blocked by a ticket barrier. The area was originally Fyncheley Wode, and was named Woodside, due to its location by the side of a wood, in 1686. Woodside Park station is very close to North Finchley, and this explains the lack of a station with that name.

West Finchley

Built in 1933 just before the line was electrified, this station serves an area of housing that sprung up between the World Wars. The station has its main entrance on Nether Street, providing disabled access to the northbound platform. Meanwhile, there is a minor entrance onto the southbound platform which is only open during rush hours, with access being via the footbridge the rest of the time. Finchley was first recorded as Finchelee-leya in 1208 and Fyncheley in 1547. Although the name could be derived from 'the clearing in the forest with finches', it is more likely to mean Finc's forest.

Mill Hill East

This station opened as Mill Hill in 1867, and lies on a short branch off the High Barnet branch of the line, joining the main line southbound just before Finchley Central. The EH&LR mainline which ran from Finsbury Park to Edgware through Mill Hill East was to be electrified under the Northern Heights project4, and so the electrified line runs for another 100 yards north of the terminus, though housing development now blocks the course of the old steam railway towards Edgware, which was lifted in 1964. Another sign of the disused railway is that there is room for a second track alongside the single line that runs to the station. The Victorian station building itself still exists today, although the original wooden platform has now been replaced with a concrete one. The station was first used by underground trains on 18 May, 1941, mainly to serve the nearby barracks. Mill Hill takes its name from a hill with a mill on it, which was located in Mill Field, north of the present village. The Dollis Brook viaduct over Dollis Road on the Mill Hill East branch is the highest point above ground level on the Underground at 18 metres (60 feet). It is important to note that Mill Hill East is about one and-a-half miles5 east of Mill Hill Broadway station on Thameslink.

Finchley Central

This station opened as Finchley & Hendon on the main section of the EH&LR between Finsbury Park and Edgware in 1867. This oldest part of the Northern line is still used between Highgate and Mill Hill East, just as the 1872 branch to High Barnet is still in use. The station was renamed Finchley (Church End) in 1894, and Finchley Central in 1940. The station still retains its Victorian architecture, with the open air platforms being reached by stairs from the two entrances, which are linked by a footbridge. The first entrance is from the car park, which lies on a short street off the main road, into the ticket hall, while the other entrance is from Station Road to the south of the lines. The station has three tracks, one serving the branch to Mill Hill East, and the two northbound tracks are served by the same island platform, allowing an easy change of trains. The line to Mill Hill East continues straight on from the station, the line to West Finchley is a curve off to the right. Finchley Central was home station of tube map designer Harry Beck and the southbound platform features a commemorative plaque. Otherwise, Finchley is famous for being the home of George Michael and Baby Spice, and a group called The New Vaudeville Band who had a hit with 'Finchley Central' in 1967.

East Finchley

This station opened in 1867 on the EH&LR line from Finsbury Park to Edgware, and originally served trains heading towards High Barnet and Mill Hill East from the surface platforms at Highgate. In 1939, the deep-level Northern line station opened below the EH&LR surface station at Highgate, with Underground trains also running into East Finchley and then off to the north. The station therefore has four tracks running through it, served by two island platforms. The inner two tracks served the overground line from Finsbury Park until 1941, while the outer two still serve the Northern line trains from Camden Town, with terminating trains sometimes using the inner tracks. The station lies on the Great North Road (A1000), and has entrances from both this road and a small access road known as The Causeway to the north. The station building lies above the platforms with an enclosed walkway leading over the line, and features a large statue of an archer which was designed by Eric Aumonier.


This station has both deep level platforms which serve the current Northern line and opened in 1941, and a set of platforms next to a disused line in a cutting at the surface, where the line used to run to Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. For more information about the station's history, see Abandoned Lines and Stations. Access to the deep-level platforms via either an escalator link from the main road or an entrance from Priory Gardens. There are also stairs out of the station, but these are not suitable for the unfit. Highgate is one of the highest points of London, and gets its name from the toll gate that the Bishop of London used to charge people who used his road across his park on Hornsey to get to Finchley. The area was recorded as Le Heghgate in 1354, and is famous for its cemetery.


This station lies on the southwestern side of the junction between Holloway Road and Junction Road. This station opened in 1907, and was known as Highgate until the opening of the deep-level tube station now known as Highgate to the north in 1939. The station was renamed Archway (Highgate) in 1939, then Highgate (Archway) in 1941 and Archway in December 1947. Archway is named after the road that crosses Highgate Hill, which originally ran through a tunnel called Highgate Archway. The current viaduct used by the road was built in 1897, and designed by Sir Alexander Binnie. Archway Tavern is situated next to the station, and was built and named before the change of the station's name. The Tavern featured on the cover shot of the Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies, and Rod Stewart once lived in the nearby area with his parents. Archway is near the spot where Dick Whittington is reputed to have stopped and turned round on hearing the bells of London.

The station was northernmost on the Highgate branch of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway, and so the original surface building featured the distinct red terracotta tiling of Leslie Green. However, the change from lifts to escalators in 1930 led to the construction of a new entrance, designed by Charles Holden. The station is within walking distance of the Whittington Hospital on Highgate Hill, and is served by a plethora of bus routes.

Tufnell Park

This station lies on the east side of the junction between Fortress Road and Brecknock Road, and fits neatly into the space available. The seemingly-large surface building has only room for two lifts and a spiral staircase, and features the red Edwardian tiling of Leslie Green. Access to the platforms from the lifts is via stairs. The area was named in honor of William Tufnell, who was lord of the manor of Barnsbury in 1753.

Kentish Town

This station lies north of Camden Town on Kentish Town Road and also serves the Thameslink line which runs from King's Cross towards West Hampstead and beyond. When the Underground station is closed, it is necessary to enter the Thameslink station through a separate entrance as it lies behind the tube ticket office. The surface building features the Leslie Green style of red Edwardian tiling. Kentish town gets its name from the farm of a man nicknamed le Kentiss.

South Kentish Town

This station is now closed - see Abandoned Lines and Stations.

Camden Town

Trains from this station can take all four branches of the northern line. Change here for the Edgware branch, and either the Bank or Charing Cross branch depending on where your current train is heading. As the station lies north of the junction between branches there are two southbound platforms serving all destinations south. The four platforms can be accessed either by escalator, or by a spiral staircase which links to a completely separate cross-platform interchange. Camden Town gets its name from Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden who obtained the area in 1795. His seat, Camden Place was in Kent, and coincidently, he acquired the Kentish Town area as well. For more details about the station see Camden Town Station, London, UK.


See the Victoria Line section of this guide for more detail.

King's Cross St Pancras

See the Victoria Line section of this guide for more detail.


This station has a very wide southbound platform and contains the longest escalator in Western Europe. Both these properties come from the station's redevelopment during the 1990s, when the surface building was moved to facilitate a change from lifts to escalators, and the original narrow island platform was vastly expanded by moving one of the platforms and its associated tunnels. The long underground walkway built to connect the rebuilt platforms to the new surface building was designed to allow a connection to another line that could be built there in the future. The original surface building built in 1901 was lost, and the current surface building lies on Upper Street. Access to the platforms is of course by two sets of escalators and a long walkway. Angel is named after a coaching inn, which stood on the corner of Pentonville Road and Islington High Street. The Hope and Anchor nearby on Upper Street was where bands such as Joy Division, Dexy's Midnight Runners and U2 made their London debut, and where Frankie goes to Hollywood made their videos for 'Relax' and 'Two Tribes'.

City Road

This station is now closed - see Abandoned Lines and Stations.

Old Street

This station lies on the junction between Old Street and City Road, and also serves the WAGN6 Northern City line between Moorgate and Finsbury Park. The original surface building was destroyed when a roundabout was built between the two roads, and the ticket hall now lies in a shopping arcade below the junction. Old Street was recorded as Ealdestrate around 1200 and le Oldestrete in 1373, and was originally a Roman road. Before Bishopsgate opened, it was the main highway from Aldersgate7 to the North East of England. The station is a short distance from Moorfields Eye Hospital.


Originally named Moorgate Street, this station opened on the Metropolitan Railway in 1865, which arrived along with an extra pair of tracks which are now used by the Thameslink service. The Northern line arrived at Moorgate in 1900 in the form of the City & South London railway, and the Great Northern & City railway, later the Northern City line and now part of the WAGN line towards Finsbury Park, arrived in 1904. The station was rebuilt in the 1960s to add more platforms to the subsurface lines.

The walk from Circle line to Northern line at Moorgate is quite a distance, with those changing here passing along part of the Northern City line platform first. Moorgate was the site of the Moorgate train crash in 1975, which took place on Northern City line, which in 1975 was part of the Northern line. Moorgate features ten platforms in total, making it the station with the most underground platforms along with Baker Street8. The platforms are allocated as follows:

  • Two for the WAGN main line service towards Finsbury Park.
  • Two for the subsurface Thameslink service to King's Cross.
  • Two for the deep-level Bank branch of the Northern line.
  • Four for the Metropolitan, District and Circle lines. Two of the platforms are for terminating trains.

Bank and Monument

Since 1933, Bank station has been connected to the nearby Monument station on the Circle and District lines by a complicated series of subways. Cannon Street and Mansion House stations lie an equal distance from Bank, but are not connected to the station.

Monument was the first part of the Bank/Monument complex to open in 1884 as part of completion of the inner circle. This was followed in 1898 by the opening of City station nearby as a terminus of the Waterloo & City Railway, which had its entrance opening next to the Mansion House. For this reason, City station was often also referred to as Mansion House station.

Another station opened in 1900 with the arrival of the Northern line. Due to high property prices in the area, the original Bank ticket hall was built in the crypt of the local church of St Mary Woolnoth, from which a number of bodies had to be moved. The Northern line was originally accessed by lifts, and these still remain today as an alternative route to the heart of the station.

The next line to open platforms at Bank was the Central line in 1900. This led to the construction of the main ticket hall, which was linked to the Waterloo & City and Northern line stations, forming one large station known as City until 1940, when it was renamed Bank. The Central line was built underneath Threadneedle Street and Poultry to avoid having to compensate local property owners and so the Central line platforms at Bank are extremely curved. Curiously, access to the Central line was by a separate set of lifts to those serving the Northern line, and the connecting tunnels between the two didn't open until the installation of escalators at the station in the 1920s, which destroyed the original Central line lifts.

In 1941, during the Second World War, Bank station was hit by a bomb, causing the road to cave in, destroying the main ticket hall and killing 56 people. In 1991, more building work was required as the newly-built Docklands Light Railway (DLR) platforms were linked to Monument and to the Central line via its old lift shaft, work which also included the construction of a walkway to the Waterloo & City line from the link between the DLR and Central lines. The Bank/Monument complex now consists of so many connections that it warrants its own map. The station is rumoured to have its own resident ghost.

London Bridge

This is a modern station which lies in the arches directly under the mainline station of the same name, which sits on the south side of London Bridge, and also serves the Jubilee line extension. The mainline station acts as a terminus for some Southern and South Eastern services, and is also a through station for services from Waterloo East and Cannon Street stations as well as a stop on the Thameslink line from central London towards Croydon. The tube station has good disabled access, and at street level the station exits out onto Tooley Street, which is most famous for being the home of the 'London Dungeon' tourist attraction. The station also provides interchange with the riverboat service on the Thames, and lies a little way north of Guy's Hospital. Borough Market lies under a mainline rail bridge near the station and is one of the best places in London to buy quality food, although in this case quality doesn't come cheap.

King William Street

This station lies on a disused branch - see Abandoned Lines and Stations.


This station opened in 1890 as part of the City & South London railway, and is the most northern station on the original line to remain open, the original terminus to the north at King William Street having closed in 1900. The modest surface building lies on the corner of Marshalsea Road and Borough High Street, and the station has recently been refurbished to provide a less dismal appearance. Access to the platforms is via a lift, and due to a lack of forethought at the time the station was built, one platform is at the same level as the lift, while the other is accessed by a short flight of steps. This means that only the northbound platform has disabled access. Borough High Street was originally a Roman approach to London Bridge, and the settlement was built by the Romans. In the late middle ages, this was the only London Borough outside of the city walls that sent its own MP to parliament. It has kept the name Borough ever since.

Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle is an anomaly among tube stations in that it has two sets of lifts and spiral staircases. The original station entrance was built to the south of the Elephant & Castle roundabout to serve the Northern line in 1890, but has since been demolished and replaced with a newer building. The other entrance was built to the north of the roundabout in 1906 with the arrival of the Bakerloo line, and was linked underground to the Northern line. Although the Bakerloo surface building and its red tiling still survives, exit from this part of the station is now through a modern glass extension.

The Northern line exit lies next to the local shopping centre, while the Bakerloo exit is a short walk south of South Bank University. To reach the nearby mainline station, which is about 100m away, it is necessary to leave the tube station via the Northern line exit and then pass through or around the shopping centre. The first and probably only person to be born on a tube train was born here on a Bakerloo line train in 1924, and was named Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor. The station is rumoured to have its own resident ghost. Elephant and Castle was named after the old tavern that was used to be The Newington Theatre, a 16th-Century playhouse that staged Shakespeare plays. The sign of an Elephant with a castle on its back, was used by the Cutler's company who adopted the device in 1445 at the Wedding of Henry VI and Queen Margaret, and the sign is now displayed in the local shopping centre. The station is a short walk from the Imperial War Museum

After Elephant & Castle, the Bank branch joins up with the Charing Cross branch at Kennington and continues along the Morden branch towards Morden.

1Then known as Charing Cross station.2Then known as Highgate station.3This was a different Edgware station to the existing tube station.4See the 'Northern Heights' section of Abandoned Lines and Stations.52.25 kilometres.6West Anglia Great Northern.7The area now known as Barbican.8Although Baker Street consists entirely of London Underground platforms, whereas Moorgate technically does not.

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