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A look back at the history of South Harrow Station

It’s very easy to forget about how much history our borough has, but if you look closely – we are surrounded by echoes of the past and these can be found in most of Harrow’s train stations as we have looked at recently.

For this feature, we decided to take a look at the history of South Harrow Station. One of the busiest stops on the Picadilly line, handling more than half a million people per year, the station is located in Zone 5 of London’s transport system at the Uxbridge branch of the line.

Along with the existing tracks leading back to Acton Town, this new extension formed the first portion of the Underground’s surface lines run by electric trains rather than steam engines. The City & South London Railway, Waterloo & City Railway, and Central London Railway tube lines that were in operation at the time were all powered by electricity.

A look back at the history of South Harrow Station Harrow Online
Up express on the West Coast Main Line south of Kenton. Credit: Ben Brooksbank

The purchase of land from nearby farmers and landowners made it possible to build the railway and the station. Charles W. Clark, an architect, designed the station as well as several others on the network of the Metropolitan Railway.

South Harrow station was initially quite unobtrusive, mostly catering to the neighbourhood. But, when Harrow-on-the-Hill started to transform into a suburban residential area in the 1920s and 1930s, the station’s significance grew – as did the population of South Harrow.

Like many other London Tube stations, South Harrow station was crucial to the war effort during World War Two. To accommodate passengers during bombing raids, the station served as an air-raid shelter and was furnished with bunks, blankets, and other items. Also, the station served as a safe haven for priceless works of art that were evacuated from central London by the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

South Harrow station kept providing services to the region’s expanding suburban population after the war. A new ticket office and waiting area were installed when the station underwent a significant restoration in the 1960s. With the installation of fresh lights and signage in the 1980s, the station underwent yet another modernization.

South Harrow station, which offers quick access to Heathrow and other locations on the Piccadilly line such as those in central London and Hammersmith, continues to serve as a significant transportation hub for the neighbourhood today. The station is a significant historical site in the borough and reflects the expansion and modernisation of suburban London during the 20th century.