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A piece of London’s historic past to be sold off by the Ministry of Defence to developers

July 31st, 2013 | by heritagedaily
A piece of London’s historic past to be sold off by the Ministry of Defence to developers
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Just a stone’s throw from Harrods, in central London and in prime real estate territory lies Brompton Road Tube Station. The station, once part of the Piccadilly line between South Kensington and Knightsbridge was closed in 1934 and abandoned..

It later served as an anti-aircraft control room during the Second World War and named on the Ministry of Defence’s books as a wartime command centre.

John Taylor, estates surveyor for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO),  said: “The MoD keeps the size and location of its bases under constant review to ensure the defence estate is no larger than necessary to meet operational needs and provides value for money for the taxpayer.

“The property at Brompton Road has been declared surplus to requirements by the MoD.”

The station was opened on 15 December 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway with the intention to service Brompton Oratory and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Historic London Map at Brompton Road Station : Wiki Commons

Historic London Tube Map at Brompton Road Station : Wiki Commons

When the adjacent Knightsbridge station was modernised with a new entrance and escalators, it essentially took the catchment area for Brompton Road Station and led to its eventual closure.

Just before the onset of WW2, the street level building, lift shafts and lower underground passages were sold to the War Office for use by the 1st Anti-Aircraft division. The importance of a strategic underground location meant that Brompton Road Tube Station later became the Royal Artillery’s Anti-Aircraft Operations Room for central London.

Today, old maps and posters from London’s blitzed past still hang on the walls alongside original fixtures and fittings. A testament to London’s defence against the Luftwaffe.

Simon Hodson (Residential land director for Jones Lang LaSalle), who will be responsible for the sale stated: “This well located prime central London site provides an excellent redevelopment opportunity and we are expecting a high level of interest from a variety of purchasers.”

Since the end of the second world war, the station has been a site for Londoners and youngsters alike, interested in joining the armed forces.

It currently provides a base for youth groups such as the London Air Squadron, the London University Royal Naval Unit and 46F Squadron Air Training Corps.

There were initial plans to open the station to the public before the 2012 summer Olympics due to the historical importance of the site, or convert the underground space to house the London Fire Brigade Museum.

The 0.32 acre site is expected to fetch up to £20million.

Header Image : Brompton Road Tube Station : Wiki Commons

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