#StationStories - the Leicester Square edition

Up next, we have the famous Leicester Square featuring in our #StationStories series. Change here for the Northern and Piccadilly lines…

Leicester Square
Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk 

Founded: 15th December 1906
Lines: Northern & Piccadilly

Bio: Leicester Square Tube station is located on Charing Cross Road and is on both the Northern and Piccadilly lines. Originally, the station was set to be called Cranbourn Street, but was named Leicester Square when the station was first opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway in 1906.  

Leicester Square
Image provided by the London Transport Museum www.ltmuseum.co.uk 

The station saw an influx of passengers in the 1920s & 1930s due to the Northern and Piccadilly line extension, which led to the reconstruction of the station below ground in the early 1930s. The reconstruction included new entrances and a new sub-surface ticket hall as well as escalators for both sets of platforms.

Development of the area began around 1670 and it quickly became a fashionable place to live as homes sprung up around Leicester House – a local mansion which, for some time during the very early 1700s, was the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales. By the late eighteenth century, however, the character of the square changed and it soon became an area known for its entertainment venues.

This reputation stuck, and today, Leicester Square is renowned for its cinemas and theatres, with a sign in the square bearing the name ‘Theatreland’. Tourists flock to the area to see the latest blockbuster or West End musical, and there’s no shortage of ticket stands offering last-minute discounts to latecomers. To reflect the station’s affiliation with cinema, all four platforms in the Tube station have film sprockets painted down the entire length and on the top and bottom of the display area.

 Did you know?

  • Leicester Square had the longest escalators on the entire Underground network, being 54m in length until the rebuilding of Angel, which houses a 60m escalator
  • The square was a famous duelling spot at the end of the seventeenth century
  • Sir Isaac Newton, the physicist, resided at 35 St Martin’s Street, on the south side of the square, now home to the Westminster Public Library, in 1710
  •  Karl Marx also lived here for a short while after the failure of a series of German revolutions in 1848. He settled with his family in the German Hotel in Leicester Street, one of the small passages off the square
  • The Tube route from Leicester Square to Covent Garden is the most popular route for London tourists. However, it’s actually possible to travel the distance faster on foot
  • The station is featured briefly during the introductory video sequence of the 2009 film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Looking to advertise at Leicester Square? Read more about advertising on the London Underground via our dedicated page.

#StationStories - A celebration of the iconic London Underground and its surrounds