Why Down Station?
November 21st 2015
When you were a child, was there ever a door, a gate, a wardrobe, that was always locked and you were never allowed to see inside? Can you remember what it was like when you finally got to see what was behind there? That feeling of anticipation, of wonder, followed by … what?
Too often, disappointment, because as the door swings wide, there’s nothing but the mundane beyond. Sometimes surprise, as all your expectations are swept to one side and replaced by what really lies within. Sometimes… probably best not talk about those times, because that’s the stuff of nightmares. Very rarely, then, do we open the door and find exactly what we were hoping for.
I have a fascination for these things. Locked doors. Abandoned buildings. Hidden, forgotten secrets. Discovering that there are underground stations in London that once existed, and are now gone from the map, thrilled me, just as it has done for many writers before me. And I won’t be the last either.
Down Street station is a real place. It was used during World War II as bomb-proof offices, for the Railway Executive Committee, and for sometime by Winston Churchill. After the war, it’s only been used as an emergency exit point from the Underground.
Which is exactly what I wanted it for.
“As the wall of heat drove them back, the taller man reached out, straining for the push-bar, to drag the door shut again. Instead, he fell into it, and it began to swing out wide.
The air itself seemed to tear in two.
Instead of fire, there was water.
A wave slapped through the open doorway, and a gust of wind blew into the smoke-filled corridor, dragging a spiral of soot outwards and away. It curled into the blue sky studded with clouds shaped like torn sheets, and a bird – a seagull – darted by at head-height. It wheeled back for a second look, before flapping once and soaring towards a tall headland of jagged black rocks.”