It’s 3 a.m. on a weekend, and you’re stuck on a desolate subway platform waiting for the faint rumbling of the next train. If you’re a city dweller, you’ve probably been there. But imagine being stuck below ground among the free-roaming vermin and damp discomfort for nights on end.
That’s what many Londoners did during World War II. The tunnels of London’s public subway were used as air raid shelters to escape the continuous Luftwaffe bombings on the city. People would buy tickets for the train and camp out on subway platforms for the night because they felt safest deep underground.
The stations were also used for shelter during World War I. According to police at the time, 300,000 Londoners took shelter in underground stations.
Some tube stations were equipped with bunks for 22,000 people, first aid facilities and chemical toilets.
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