015/100 – Goodge Street Deep Level Shelter

Goodge Street Deep Level Shelter
Goodge Street Deep Level Shelter (aka The Eisenhower Centre) – 1942

There are a small number of these odd-looking buildings scattered around London. They are the above-ground structures of London’s deep level shelters, constructed during World War II. Each is associated with a tube station – all but one are by Northern Line stations. There’s one I pass most days near Belsize Park tube, and this one is just off Tottenham Court Road, near Goodge Street tube.

Most were designed to house 8,000 people. This one is known as the Eisenhower Centre, but I’ve found conflicting reports as to whether it was used by the President (the Supreme Allied Commander for D-Day). All were used by the government, but some were opened up to the public when bombing intensified. This one served as a headquarters for the Allied armed forces.

I’m starting to notice a trend with the buildings I’m featuring here – and, in turn, with the buildings I notice when I’m out and about. Much like cabmen’s shelters, phone boxes and police stations, these buildings are all of a certain type – with subtle variations – and they tend to have an intriguing history or use.

It boggles my mind a little bit thinking about what lies beneath this type of building. They tend to be used for storage or network infrastructure now. But the subterranean tunnels, pipes and so on are all generally still intact. Pretty fascinating.