Tube 150: Ten little-known facts about the London Underground

09:27 11 January 2013

Dr David Lawrence, architectural historian and principal lecturer at London’s Kingston University.

Dr David Lawrence, architectural historian and principal lecturer at London’s Kingston University.

Archant

Architectural historian and principal lecturer at London’s Kingston University, Dr David Lawrence, shares some little-known facts about the London Underground as it celebrates its 150th birthday.

Dr Lawrence, who worked for seven years as a consultant to London Underground, is particularly interested in the cultural history of the network.

Here, he shares 10 facts you may not know about the Tube network.

1. The shape of north and west London was largely defined by the extension of the underground railway network.

2. Until the 1960s, each new development of the London Underground map meant a new diagram had to be entirely drawn and lettered by hand as an artwork 10 times the size of the pocket map.

3. Building the east end of the original Metropolitan Line revealed the course of London’s secret lost Fleet River.

4. North End station, near Hampstead, was built at platform level but never opened because it became a protected area.

5. London is one of the only world metro systems with a cable car route that crosses the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. It opened in June 2012.

6. Lost tunnels in north and south London were used to house Afro Caribbean migrants in the 1950s, and troops who might need to respond to civil riots in the 1960s.

7. Many treasures from London’s art galleries were stored in secret tube tunnels during World War II.

8. A team of railway enthusiasts spent 26 years researching six miles of vintage wall tiling on 94 station platforms for a book.

9. The extension of the tube to become the London Overground revealed the lost Holywell Augustinian Priory at Shoreditch, once one of the richest nunneries in England.

10. The round blue and red logo is the oldest corporate brand of modern times and has inspired similar designs around world.

Latest London transportation news

Friday, May 27, 2016
A Bakerloo Line carriage (Photo: Peter Skuce)

There is currently no service on the Bakerloo Line between Piccadilly Circus and Queens Park after a man was hit by a train at Edgware Road.

Friday, May 27, 2016
(Image: TfL)

TfL have updated the Tube map, so now the humble tram can finally take its rightful place alongside its Underground brethren.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Here's how the shiny new trains look on the outside (Photo: Thameslink)

Spacious new Thameslink trains have been revealed – and you can see inside them here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
The Night Tube map showing which services will run all night

Just 24 hours after the Night Tube launch date was finally officially announced, London Underground maintenance and engineering workers have voted to go on strike in a continued dispute over pay and staffing levels.

Monday, May 23, 2016
The girl was struck by a train at Catford Bridge station (	Photo: Sunil060902)

A schoolgirl was hit by a train at Catford Bridge during this morning’s rush hour.

Monday, May 23, 2016
The road by the station has been blocked off by the police (Photo: Chris @Southern_Trax)

Southeastern trains were unable to run on the Woolwich line this afternoon when an unidentified object sparked a security alert at Erith station.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport