Kingsway Subway Kingsway Subway by Night

The Kingsway Subway, Southampton Row, London

These postcards, printed in Great Britain around 1910, show the north entrance of the Kingsway Tram Subway in Southampton Row. The daytime view carries on its back details of a competition in aid of St. Paul's Hospital, where by buying twelve of these cards for 1d. each (one old penny), you could win one thousand pounds. The "London at Night" view is a good example of how the card maker has produced a different card from the same original photograph, by "faking" a night scene.

The tram is London County Council Tramways car 582, of class "G". This tram type (cars 568-601) was built in 1906 by The Brush Company of Loughborough, with Mountain and Gibson trucks and British Westinghouse electrical equipment. Together with the almost identical class "F" (cars 552-567) from the United Electric Car Co. of Preston, these single deck cars were built using a number of non-flammable materials, for exclusive use in the subway.

The subway itself ran from the slope in Southampton Row at the junction of Theobalds Road, as shown in the cards, to the Victoria Embankment. There were stations below ground at Holborn and Aldwych. It opened as far as Aldwych station on 24th. February 1906, being extended to the Embankment on 10th. April 1908. At the Embankment, the subway entrance was through an arch next to John Rennie's original Waterloo Bridge of 1817. From 3rd. February 1930 until 15th. January 1931 the subway was closed and the floor was lowered to allow the passage of double deck trams (classes E3 and HR2), after which the "F" and "G" classes were withdrawn. The Embankment entrance was in 1940 incorporated into the underside of the current Waterloo Bridge, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The last service tram ran through the Kingsway Subway on the night of 5th/6th April 1952, three months before the final closure of the London tramway system. Both the Southampton Row slope and the Embankment entrance are still in place today.

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