The abandoned London Underground station that ended up as an Aladdin’s cave second-hand bookshop

London’s abandoned undeground stations have found many bizarre uses after being shut down.

Some became air-raid shelters, tea rooms or even heating generators.

But one beautiful old West London station got an amazing new life as a quirky little book shop.

The gorgeous little station building at Thornbury Road in Osterley survived after Osterley & Spring Grove station was moved in the 1930s and even after the 1950s when the old station stairways were removed and platform awnings taken down.

READ MORE:The abandoned London Underground Station that became Green Park

The station hadn’t moved far actually. In fact, a new Art-Deco style station – simply called ‘Osterley’ – was built just 280 yards to the West facing the Great West Road. It opened in 1934.

It was needed because the suburban area was growing around it to such an extent that the old station buildings simply could not cope with the amount of commuters as Hounslow became a well-established commuter-belt area.

Flash back to 1883 and Osterley Park & Spring Grove had opened as one of the little stations on the Hounslow & Metropolitan Railway route from Mill Hill Park (Acton) to Hounslow.

It’s history is outlined in the book ‘London’s Disused Underground Stations’ by JE Connor.

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It seems to have been referred to on train tickets simply as ‘Osterley’ but the sign board over the entrance carried the full station name.

It had two platforms and a signal box and an area where the old steam locomotives could turn around as some train services had to terminate here.

The station was at first surrounded by open country which is hard to imagine today, although it has to be said the lovely National Trust Osterley Park is still well worth a visit.

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The current Osterley station

Once the branch-line station at Hounslow Town opened, trains would split here with three carriages going to Hounslow Town and the remaining five to Hounslow Barracks.

It was a complicated system and explains why the Hounslow Town station on Hounslow High Street was eventually shut down to be replaced by Hounslow bus garage.

Nowadays Osterley Bookshop sits inside the old ghost station building at 168A Thornbury Road.

It’s a lovely little place with a mini-cupola and tombstone-shaped windows and you can browse in the second-hand shop for ages to see if you can uncover some hidden literary treasures.

There’s also a unique collection of strange objects that you wouldn’t expect to find at a bookshop including glasses, rocking horses, 19th and 20th-century postcards, marmalade, plants and even eggs (courtesy of the owners’ own chickens).

You’ll still hear the Piccadilly line trains to or from Heathrow rumbling directly past it as you browse.

Afterwards you can head to the National Trust’s Osterley Park to look for deer, have a lovely country walk and stop for a much needed cuppa in the tea shop.

All in all it’s a lovely little glimpse into the golden age of railway history.

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