Gloucester Road is a London Underground station in South Kensington. It is served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines. On the District and Piccadilly lines the station is between South Kensington and Earl's Court, and on the Circle Line it is between South Kensington and High Street Kensington. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.
The station was opened as Brompton (Gloucester Road) on 1 October 1868 by the Metropolitan Railway (MR, later the Metropolitan Line) when the railway opened its western extension from Praed Street (now Paddington). The station acted as the temporary terminus of the railway until 24 December 1868 when the MR opened tracks to South Kensington to connect to the first section of the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, later the District Line) which opened on the same day from South Kensington to Westminster. Although the two companies were rivals, each company operated its trains over the other's tracks in a joint service known as the "Inner Circle".
On 12 April 1869, the MDR opened a south-westward extension from Gloucester Road to West Brompton where it opened an interchange station with the West London Extension Joint Railway (WLEJR, now the West London Line). At the opening there was no intermediate station - Earl's Court station did not open until 1871.
On 1 August 1870, the MDR opened additional tracks between Gloucester Road and South Kensington and, on 3 July 1871, opened its own tracks between Gloucester Road and High Street Kensington. These tracks, the "Cromwell Curve", were opened without Parliamentary authority in an unsuccessful attempt by the MDR to claim a greater share of the Inner Circle revenues which were divided on the basis of mileage of track owned by the two companies. On the same date, the MDR opened a loop connecting the Cromwell Curve track to the West Brompton branch, forming a triangular junction. At this time the station had four tracks and four platforms, two of each for each railway company.
On 1 February 1872, the MDR opened a northbound branch from Earl's Court station to the WLEJR which it connected to at Addison Road (now Kensington (Olympia)). From that date the "Outer Circle" service began running over the MDR's tracks. The service was run by the North London Railway (NLR) from its terminus at Broad Street (now demolished) in the City of London via the North London Line to Willesden Junction, then the West London Line to Addison Road and the MDR to Mansion House - at that time the eastern terminus of the MDR.
From 1 August 1872, the "Middle Circle" service also began operations through Gloucester Road running from Moorgate along the MR's tracks on the north side of the Inner Circle to Paddington then over the Hammersmith & City Railway (H&CR) track to Latimer Road then, via a now demolished link, to the West London Line to Addison Road and the MDR to Mansion House. The service was operated jointly by the H&CR and the MDR.
On 30 June 1900, the Middle Circle service was withdrawn between Earl's Court and Mansion House.
On 15 December 1906, the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now the Piccadilly Line) opened its deep tube service between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith. The deep platforms at Gloucester Road were constructed beneath the sub-surface platforms and access was provided from street level by lifts from an extension to the original station building. This building was designed by Leslie Green and built with the GNP&BR's distinctive ox-blood red glazed terracotta façade.
In 1907, "Brompton" was dropped from the station name, possibly to avoid confusion with another GNP&BR station, Brompton Road (now closed), two stops to the east.
In 1949 the Metropolitan Line operated Inner Circle route was given its own identity on the tube map as the Circle Line. Although little used, the Cromwell Curve remained in place until 1956 when it was closed.
Between 30 August 1987 and 21 May 1989 The Piccadilly Line platforms were closed whilst the lifts were replaced. In the 1990s a deck was constructed above the District and Circle Line platforms above which was constructed a shopping mall and apartment building.
The layout of the sub-surface platforms has been altered from the original layout. From south to north the original layout of the platforms was:
- Platform 1: MDR westbound
- Platform 2: MDR eastbound
- Platform 3: MR westbound
- Platform 4: MR eastbound
The eastbound MDR track is now used by westbound Circle Line trains. The westbound MR track was removed and the central island platform was widened to fill the remaining space. The eastbound MR track is now used by both District and Circle Line services but rather than being accessed from platform 4, trains are boarded from the widened platform 3. The current arrangement is:
- Platform 1: District Line westbound
- Platform 2: Circle Line westbound
- Platform 3: District and Circle Lines eastbound
The disused platform 4 is used for Platform for Art installations, often placed into the brick recesses in the northern retaining wall.
The surface parts of the station have been remodelled internally to share a single entrance and ticket office. Space in the Piccadilly Line building that was formerly used for operational purposes or as the exit to the street is now used for retail purposes. It is currently undergoing a refurbishment with areas of damaged wall tiles being replaced. The dark green and cream tiled walls of the Piccadilly Line's lower level passages and platforms are being restored with damaged tiles being replaced by reproductions to match the original designs.
The station is not wheelchair accessible. Access to the District and Circle Line platforms is by stairs. Although provided with lifts down to the lower level, the Piccadilly Line platforms also have steps from lower level to the platforms.
Typical off-peak services from this station are as follows:
- Piccadilly Line
- District Line
- Circle Line
- 8 tph anticlockwise
- 8 tph clockwise
In Popular Culture Edit
The station appears in a 1992 episode of Rumpole of the Bailey (Rumpole and the Children of the Devil), as Horace Rumpole's wife Hilda travels from there to Knightsbridge station, enroute spotting her husband, who is travelling separately to the same destination from Temple station.
In 1957 Teresa Lubienska, a Polish Countess who had survived Auschwitz, was stabbed to death in the station. The case was never solved.