The Northern Heights

The legacy of the Northern Heights project — part of London Transport’s uncompleted New Works programme of the 1930s — embodies the romance of Middlesex, with railway lines that were built and abandoned, others that were converted from the LNER’s steam-worked lines and became a familiar part of the tube map, others that were begun and never completed.

Platforms from the abandoned Crouch End station

It has left its mark on the landscape of north London, with the parkland walk from Highgate to Finsbury Park that is now part of the Capital Ring, the ghostly high level Northern Line platforms at Highgate — built by Charles Horden and matching his station on stop along the line at East Finchley —  and the strange gap at the back of Alexandra Palace where a station used to be, that’s like the back lot of a film set, where Ally Pally’s curators now have a flourishing vegetable garden. There’s a transient melancholy about the Northern Heights. This was fields: now it’s a suburb; this was a railway line: now it’s woodland,even: this was going to be suburbia but it stayed a field.  Watch Jay Foreman’s film about the most northerly bit of the project and enjoy this collection of photos documenting the southern Finsbury Park to Ally Pally section.

One Response to The Northern Heights

  1. Dave King . says:

    From 1937 until 1954 I lived in Florence Rd. My home backed onto the Ally Pally line a couple of hundred yards from the signal box at the crossover with the ECML. These were happy days of trespass and exploring for youngsters. When I was 14 I used the trains a couple of evenings a week to reach the palace and then would walk down to the ATC compound across the road from the TV studios. Happy days.

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