Highgate London Underground
Entrance facing east on Priory Gardens
Local authorityLondon Borough of Haringey[1]
Managed byLondon Underground
Number of platforms2
Fare zone3
London Underground annual entry and exit
2018Decrease 5.29 million[2]
2019Increase 5.65 million[3]
2020Decrease 2.34 million[4]
2021Increase 2.43 million[5]
2022Increase 4.24 million[6]
Key dates
1867Opened (GNR High Level)
1941Opened (Northern line Low Level)
1954Closed (LNER High Level)
Other information
External links
 London transport portal

Highgate tube station is a current London Underground tube station, and former railway station, on Archway Road, in the London Borough of Haringey in north London.[1] The station takes its name from the nearby Highgate Village. It is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, between Archway and East Finchley stations and is in Travelcard Zone 3.[7]

Highgate station was originally opened in 1867 as part of the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. The London Underground started serving the station in 1941, using new low level platforms, as part of their only partially completed Northern Heights plan. The platforms on the original railway line still exist, but were last used in 1954, and the section of the line through them to Finsbury Park is disused.[8][9]


Original station

View looking north-west
Ordnance survey map
Highgate station around 1870

Highgate station was originally constructed by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway in the 1860s on its line from Finsbury Park to Edgware. Before the line was opened it was purchased in July 1867 by the larger Great Northern Railway (GNR), whose main line from King's Cross ran through Finsbury Park on its way to Potters Bar and the north. The railway to Edgware opened as a single-track line on 22 August 1867.[10]

Because of the hilly terrain, the station was built in a deep cutting excavated from Highgate Hill adjacent to Archway Road. Tunnels penetrated the hillside at each end of the station, leading to East Finchley to the north and Crouch End to the south. As built the station had two side platforms, with three tracks between them and a station building on the south side. A footbridge linked the two platforms.[8]

A branch line was constructed from Highgate to Alexandra Palace by the Muswell Hill Railway (MHR) and opened on 22 May 1872.[10] The new branch split from the original route north of the station in a wide arc around Highgate Wood. The next station on the branch line when it opened was Muswell Hill, and in 1902 an intermediate station opened at Cranley Gardens.[10]

In the 1880s, the station was rebuilt, with two tracks flanking a central island platform instead of the two side platforms. The island platform was accessed from a ticket office in the middle of the footbridge.[8]

In 1911, the MHR branch was taken over by the GNR.[10] After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies, the GNR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923.

Northern heights project

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Edgware Highgate & London Railway, 1900. The route to be absorbed into the Northern line

The construction of the Northern Heights project extended tube train services from the Northern line's terminus at Archway (then called Highgate) through a new section of paired tunnels under the High Level station to emerge north west of Highgate station, where connections to the LNER line to East Finchley were made.

Services through the tunnel to East Finchley started operating on 3 July 1939 although the Low Level station and interchange with the High Level station did not open until 19 January 1941.[9] An unusual relic of the abortive plan to incorporate the high-level platforms into the Underground system was the numbering of the low-level platforms as 3 and 4 until the 1990s.

Wartime and after

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Abandoned high level platforms.

Because of the war the full plan for the reconstruction of the station designed by Charles Holden was not completed and parts for escalators intended for Highgate were used in central London stations. Works to electrify the LNER tracks from Finsbury Park, through Highgate to East Finchley and on the Alexandra Palace branch had been well advanced when war started but were postponed.

LNER trains continued to serve the High Level station, with services to East Finchley continuing until 2 March 1941.[10] After that date LNER trains operated between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace only. The start of Underground services between Finchley Central and Mill Hill East in May 1941 was the last part of the Northern Heights Project to be completed.[9]

During World War II Highgate tube station was used, as many were, as a shelter from the bombing of London by the Luftwaffe, and latterly V-1 and V-2 bombs. The entertainer Jerry Springer was born at the tube station in 1944.[11]

After the war, maintenance works and reconstruction of war damage on the existing network had the greatest call on London Underground funds. Funds for new works were severely limited and the priority was given to the completion of the Central line extensions to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault. It was announced in October 1950 that the extension to Bushey Heath would not be proceeded with, but that extensions to Brockley Hill and beyond Mill Hill East might still proceed. In February 1954 it was finally announced that the extensions beyond Edgware and Mill Hill East had been abandoned. In October 1956 the depot buildings that had been built at Aldenham, in anticipation of the Bushey Heath extension, opened instead as London Transport's bus overhaul facility.

After a temporary closure between October 1951 and January 1952, British Railways (the successor to the LNER) ended services between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace permanently on 3 July 1954.[10]

The unfulfilled plans for the station involved a much more substantial station building than the inconsequential structures that were eventually built. A large building at the top of the hill would have been the main entrance with dual escalators in a stepped enclosure down to the level of the surface platforms where a secondary entrance would have provided access from the car park. The building would have been topped by a statue of Dick Whittington and his cat by Eric Aumonier who created the Archer statue at East Finchley. The current buildings were built on a much more modest scale and the escalator link to the high level exit was not built until 1957. This link is housed in a concrete box built up the side of the hill but was never completed as intended and no down escalator was ever installed although the foundations for it were completed.

The Station today

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The surface platforms and their buildings are still in place and are visible when they are not obscured by trees on the sides of the cutting. A surviving station building from the GNR station, now a private house, may be seen from Priory Gardens.[12]

The station contains two Northern line platforms, one in each direction. The station is unique in having platforms long enough to accommodate nine-car trains, being built to this length in anticipation of future extensions at other stations. It is the northernmost underground station on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line.


London Buses routes 43; 134; 263 and night route N20 serve the station.[13]

In popular culture

The surface station and overground tunnels have sometimes been used for filming and have appeared in several productions, notably the feature film Paperhouse, the TV series Messiah and the Steven Wilson music documentary film Insurgentes.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Map of London Boroughs". Google. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Station Usage Data" (CSV). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2018. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2023. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  3. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2019. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2020. Transport for London. 16 April 2021. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2021. Transport for London. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2022. Transport for London. 4 October 2023. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Tube map" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Highgate Station". Disused stations. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Clive's Underground Line Guides - Northern Line, Dates
  11. ^ Nathan, John (2 July 2009). "Interview: Jerry Springer". Jewish Chronicle Online. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  12. ^ Highgate High Level Station, Priory Gardens, Highgate And Muswell Hill, Greater London
  13. ^ Highgate Underground Station - Bus
  Current Services   Preceding station   London Underground   Following station Template:LUL stationstoward Template:LUL stationsTemplate:LUL linesTemplate:LUL stationstoward Template:LUL stations   Former Services   Cranley Gardenstowards Alexandra Palace   EH&LRAlexandra Palace Line   Crouch Endvia Finsbury Park and King's Crosstowards Moorgate East Finchleytowards High Barnet or Edgware   EH&LREdgware Line     Abandoned Northern Heights Extension   Preceding station   London Underground   Following station Template:LUL stationstoward Template:LUL stationsTemplate:LUL linesTemplate:LUL stationsVia Northern City Linetoward Template:LUL stations