Photo: Tube Map Livery on GB Railfreight Engine 66721
A couple of great photos showing the unique Underground Map-themed livery on a GB Railfreight engine. The left side of the engine shows a portion of the original 1933 H.C. Beck design, while the right side shows the corresponding part of the 2013 Tube map. I believe that this engine is used to perform maintenance work on sections of the Underground, so the theme is certainly appropriate, as is the engine’s name plaque, seen in the lower image — “Harry Beck”
Historical Poster: London Transport Jubilee Line Opening, 1979
Okay, here’s just one more Tube-map themed poster (for now). This one’s a little more contemporary than the others I’ve featured recently, dating from early 1979. The cheerful little Tube train — which looks like a model that’s been photographed, rather than an illustration — is actually a pretty reasonable stand-in for the geographical layout of the new line, which then ran from Stanmore to a new Charing Cross station (later extensions mean that the Jubilee Line now bypasses Charing Cross entirely on its way to Stratford).
However, it does seem to be a bit of a cheat to say “And you don’t have to go on the Bakerloo (Line)”, when — prior to the Jubilee Line’s opening — every station between Stanmore and Baker Street was on that line (see this map from 1974).
Aesthetically, there is a bit of dissonance between the tightly-spaced 1970s-era type (looks like Franklin Gothic for the headings) and the classic look of the Johnston Sans used for the station names, but that’s just the way things often looked back then.
Quick trivia fact of the day: The Jubilee Line was originally going to be called the Fleet Line — after the River Fleet that now runs underneath London — until Conservative Party promises during the Greater London Council elections of 1977 caused it to be renamed after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, even though the line opened two years after the actual event. The Fleet Line’s proposed battleship grey colour (from the naval definition of “fleet”) was modified to a lighter silver/grey to fit the “Silver Jubilee” theme.
(Source: TimeOut’s London Blog — Top 5 Novelty Tube Maps)
Historical Poster: “Be Map Conscious”, London Transport, 1945
Here’s another beautiful old London Underground poster that features the Tube map, apparently produced to help servicemen unfamiliar with London get around. The poster, which basically acts as a Tube Map for Dummies guide, was placed next to the map in stations, with the abstract guard pointing towards it. The “tear-away” section at the bottom right shows a slightly modified version (angles aren’t at 45 degrees, the Aldwych spur is missing) of the central part of the map, which would have been this 1943 edition.
The artist was Polish-born Jan de Witt (1907-1991), signed as “Lewitt-Him” on the poster.
(Source: Creative Review)
Design for Shopping poster for London Transport, 1935
Design by O’Keeffe
via Mikey Ashworth
You just can’t beat 1930s London Underground posters - a superb mix of art, design and branding. This one’s a real beauty! Of interest is that it playfully echoes the look of Beck’s Tube Diagram, then only two years old.
Detail - Elephant & Castle, London Bus Map
When you have sixteen routes passing through one stop, it might be time to rethink your approach to station/interchange design.
I do note that the current TfL “Buses from Elephant & Castle” spider map (external PDF link) shows this interchange with a geographical street map — a huge improvement which also has the advantage of showing you exactly where each bus stand is (there are eighteen!) and which buses stop at them.
(Source: Mach V/Flickr)
Cute title. Made back in 2007, so the Circle Line is actually a loop, rather than the… ahh.. paperclip… it is now. Nicely done piece of whimsy.
Historical Map: Diagram of Tube Services, 7:00am, September 28, 1940
Here’s a fantastic historical document — a tube map used by engineers in London to mark out the status of services on the Underground during World War II. By the look of it, this map was updated at least daily, if not even more often, as this date falls squarely within the Blitz — a period where London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights by the Luftwaffe.
The map itself looks like a modified hand-drawn version of H.C. Beck’s 1936 Tube Diagram, with all stations shown as circles and some main line track added as well. The use of the map is simple: a red line along track shows that there is no service along that segment, while a blue circle (seen between Belsize Park and Chalk Farm, for example) indicates the location of an exploded bomb. It would also seem that the circle for a station is also coloured red if it is substantially damaged or destroyed. Most horrifying of all, a red cross marks the location of an unexploded bomb. Notes written in a beautiful, precise hand add detail to these symbols where necessary — “unsafe buildings”, “single tunnel only available for traffic: SB tunnel damaged by bomb”.
Our rating: An incredible historical document that vividly recalls the dangers and horrors faced by Londoners during the Blitz. 5 stars!
"Stitched Subways - London" by Susan Stockwell, 2007
One of the loveliest reinventions of the London Tube Map I’ve seen so far — simply red thread stitched onto rice paper. It’s bigger than it looks: 100cm wide by 30cm deep, so it would certainly look impressive on a wall!
(Source: Susan’s website)
Historical Map: 1896 German Map of the London Underground
This map of the nascent London Underground and “other railways” appears in the 14th edition of Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon, a respected German encylopedia that is still in business today. Now known simply as the Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, the 21st edition was published in 2006 and runs to over 24,000 pages in 30 volumes.
The map itself is pretty simple and traditional, notable for being printed in three colours (black, red and a rather lovely teal blue). Production-wise, this means the map was almost certainly printed separately to the main body of the encyclopedia (which was printed with black ink only), and tipped-in by hand as the main volume was bound and assembled.
Also interesting is the map’s use of both German and English labels: while the Underground bears labels like “City u. Südlondonbahn” and the river proudly wears the name “Themse”, many of the main railway lines and localities are named in their native tongue. I’m not sure why this is: perhaps the map was altered or copied from an original English source?
Our rating: With an 1896 date, this is one of the earlier Underground maps I’ve seen, and is interesting just for that reason alone. It’s not the greatest cartography, but it’s not really meant for navigation of the system, but for giving a broad overview in the context of an encyclopedia. Three stars.
(Source: homingmissileglow Tumblr)
P.S. Google Books has a 1908 update of this map available as part of their digitized collection - click here to view it.
Unofficial Map: Three-Dimensional Real-Time Map of the London Underground
A stunning visualisation of the London Underground by visual developer Bruno Imbrizi. There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had zooming, rotating and panning the view around and turning each line on and off.
It’s another great example of what can be done with publicly-available data: in this case, train arrival times, the location of each station and its depth below the surface.