Five years ago, a band of ne’er-do-wells and Scoundrels discovered a hidden gem in the subterranean tunnels beneath London’s bustling Soho. It was the disused Kingly Court Underground Station. Once used as an emergency air raid shelter during the war, it had been a haven for all manner of folks, reflected in the bric-a-brac left behind. From old toys to piles of tinned food, they’d dragged in dusty lampshades, higgledy-piggledy furniture, doilies and mismatched crockery in an attempt to turn the place into a ‘home away from home’. After the war, upon discovering the Station, the Scoundrels were keen to reignite the post-war spirit in their new-found illicit base. Here, they could engage in their nocturnal escapades – flouting the rules of rationing, selling top-notch bootlegging cocktails and throwing sensational swinging parties late into the night!
Located above ground just next door, is Cahoots Ticket Hall. Once a bustling station for busy commuters, the deserted space has yet again been commandeered by the underground Scoundrels of Cahoots. The Ticket Hall pays tribute to what previously lay there, with a giant station clock, vintage advertisements and fading train maps peeling off the wall. Old split-flap timetables that used to display a straphangers train schedule, now showcase Scoundrel specials, and the announcement megaphones that at one time bellowed travel updates, now boom out electro-swing. Comfy chairs and ornate lamp shades have been dragged in through the metal station gates to spruce up the place and create an eclectic all-day tea room, perfect for afternoon tea and quintessentially British fare. And at the back, what was once Kingly Court Station’s bustling grocers, is now Joe Kingly’s Five Finger Discount Store “You Grift It, We Shift It!”. Stocked to the gills full of riffraff and knickknacks, Joe shifts anything and everything he can get his mitts on. Then, when the station clock strikes five, this quaint tea room transforms into a buzzing cocktail bar.
Stirring directly below the Ticket Hall sits something entirely different. What was once the nervous system of the station, the Control Room is a maze of switches, dials and flashing lights. With switchboards, spinning cogs, voltage gauges and danger-marked levers, it’s an industrial, sensory overload. Manoeuvre your way through the upstairs Ticket Hall and past a door marked ‘DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE’. Descend the ‘out of bounds’ staircase and enter the station’s epicentre. The Control Room is where the Scoundrels now broadcast their very own pirate radio station. Flogging bootlegged hooch, throwing raucous late-night shindigs and showcasing live music fit to broadcast nationwide, this will be Soho’s new worst kept secret.