London, UK

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Arsenal tube station

Arsenal tube station, originally known as Gillespie Road is located in Highbury, London, on the northern part of the Piccadilly Line. It is one of the quieter stations on the same stretch of line, but has one of the most interesting histories.

Arsenal tube station was opened in 1906 when the Piccadilly line, then the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway was extended northwards. In 1913, Arsenal Football Club started playing at some nearby playing fields, and the station was renamed Arsenal in 1932, being the only tube station named directly after a football club.

The station was originally built with a facade in red glazed tiles, which was also replaced in the 1930s when the present modernist design was adopted. Even after the surface building was rebuilt, it has one of the narrowest frontages of any underground station.

The platform areas were renovated in 2007, and the original tiling restored, revealing the original name of Gillespie Road, that was somewhat confusing for visitors! Unusually, the platforms are accessed by a combination of steps and long sloping tunnels rather than lifts or escalators; the single tunnel splits half way along, although both halves go to the platforms. One of the tunnels has a 'cage wall' along its length, allowing segregated two-way flows at the beginning and end of matches. Due to short flights of stairs at both ends of the passageway the station is not wheelchair accessible.

Arsenal tube station thus still retains the "Arsenal" name and, even the new Emirates stadium is further away than the old Arsenal stadium, fans still use the station on match days.