The station was built below an existing LNER station as part of the Northern Heights plan, which would have seen Northern Line trains running (from the Northern City Line) through the surface station as well. The surface station, which lies in an open cutting between two tunnels, was rebuilt at the same time; the whole complex was designed by Charles Holden. Though the deep-level station came into use on January 19, 1941, the Northern Heights plan never came to fruition, and the surface station closed in 1954. The surface platforms are still in place and visible.
Before Highgate tube station was built, Archway tube station was known as Highgate tube station.