Abandoned Tube Stations: Secret London

of the most common requests we get at Londonlaunch.com is for ’a venue
that nobody has ever been to before’. Recent research tells us that,
statistically, if you host an event somewhere that none (or at least
very few) of your guests or delegates have ever been to (or, even
better, one they’ve never even heard of) you’ll get a higher RSVP rate
and, ultimately, more guests turning up. This is especially true if you
can ‘discover’ somewhere new in a central location.

such ‘secret’ London venues are not only rare, but when you do find
them, there’s often a logistical hurdle to get over in terms of
production, accessibility, and even basic health and safety. In reality it’s
less of a hurdle and more of a high jump! But there are exceptions and
they’re often in very conspicuous locations, perhaps even staring you
right in the face. I came across two this week and they’re utterly

But first. A lot of event industry people are excited by
the proposition of being able to access a couple of disused London
Underground stations in the coming months. I remember one being used for
some spectacular events about 10 years ago by a big name caterer (which
I won’t name in case my facts are skewed). I think it was the old
platform at Charing Cross, which used to be called ‘Trafalgar Square
Station.’ There must be some pictures somewhere as I remember seeing
them – an old school white tiled station platform with tables,
spectacular lighting and tall flower displays which all combined to
create a magical, almost eerie scene which could have aptly been named
’Suspended in time’. Although, I admit, I may have been dreaming.

you know that there are no less that 46 abandoned tube stations on the
London Underground network. The easiest to spot is on the Central Line
on the left hand side (going East and up-hill) about 200 yards after
Holborn station. Within a few seconds of leaving Holborn, you’ll race
through the ‘British Museum’. If you cup your hands (I’ve done it) you’ll
just see the old station platform and even a WW2 air-raid shelter
poster. It’s awesome, although not quite as spectacular as the rumour
that’s been circulating for years – that it’s been preserved since the
day it closed before the war, complete with all the original advertising
posters etc. If only someone had the foresight to have pickled that.

you can see how some of these modern day subterranean ‘speak-easys’
with secret entrances in surprisingly conspicuous places could be
perfect for modern day events, especially in the age of social media.
But most are wrecks and would need so much production (not to mention
lifts, running water and electricity for catering and warming canapés
etc) that it’s just not worth going (down) there. However, there are
some that would work brilliantly and who would turn down an invitation
to ‘Trafalgar Square Underground Station,’ which doesn’t technically
exist? There’s something delightfully ‘Harry Potter’ about it, that’s
for sure!

Anyway, if you have aspirations of giving it a go, and
if you want to research every single one of them, here’s a link to the
abandoned stations. There are loads of photos and fascinating facts too.
abandonedstations.org.uk/ and you’ll see all sorts of old advertising
hoardings and posters from a bygone era, so the British Museum rumour
isn’t entirely spurious.

So, on to my discoveries this week. I
was invited by a secret contact, who I met a while ago whilst doing one
of my talks to a delegation from the Moscow Business School, to come and
uncover some ‘new’ Soho venues. Sounds exciting? It is.

first is a decadent, shabby-chic, former Chapel on Shaftesbury Avenue.
And it’s really, really cool. In fact, it brought back memories because,
in my band days (that’s another (shocking) story if you don’t already
know it!) we actually played a gig here in 1994. OMG, that’s almost 20
years ago. This venue is top secret and only very few know about it. In
fact, there was a secret site visit (by torch-light) when I was there
from one of the biggest brands in the world (who I don’t think I can
mention). Huddled round their Macbooks with torches and builder’s lights
these glamorous PR’s were rushing round taking measurements for their
proposed product launch next month. This venue is like a decaying
temple. An urban sanctuary in the heart of London’s Soho and will be
available for (special) events for up to 300 guests over the next few
months before being brought back to life as a performing arts venue. I
can’t say much more other than the fact it may look ‘urban’ but the
Russian owner has spent serious money on the place to ensure that it’s
got everything an event planner could need – power, water, loos,
catering areas (for re-heating, plating, serving etc) and details will
be on Londonlaunch.com shortly.

second venue I discovered this week is an extraordinary find. It’s a
palatial art deco building that’s been standing empty for about four
years. But it’s immaculate. And it’s on Haymarket. I’ve never even
noticed it before but it’s huge and beautiful. Like my – (insert any word
except ‘wife’ here!) 😉

venue is perfect for all sorts of special events. From conferences and
AGM’s (it’s got huge open spaces spanning entire floors) to press events
and product launches. It was used last year as Monaco House during the
Olympics and the upstairs rooms they used as bedrooms are still kitted
out as such. Again, it’s a beautiful old building and a snapshot in
time.  With its grand entrance and sleek, modern interiors (desks and
bar areas still remain), it really is a stunning events venue in a prime
location. In fact, it used to be Burberry HQ and there are still
tell-tale signs, particularly on the outside of the building (a stunning
exterior Burberry carriage-clock for example). How did I not know about
this place? Amazing. Again, you should be able to find out more about
this venue shortly, so be sure to check back into Londonlaunch.com
regularly for more information.  

This was first published on

Any comments? Email sarah@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author


ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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