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, April 29, 2016
Londoners heading out of the capital for the bank holiday are being warned to expect traffic mares (Picture: PA Images)

Londoners should expect heavy traffic both ends of the long weekend and several rail networks are running reduced services, with the Gatwick Express not operating at all.

Friday, April 29, 2016
A person was hit by a train this morning at Romford station

A person has died after being struck by a train at Romford station this morning, leading to hour-long line closures on TfL Rail, Network Rail and London Overground services into Liverpool Street.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Tsvetomir Georgiev exposed himself to women on many Tube trains (Picture: BTP)

A ‘persistent pervert’ travelled around the London Underground ‘targeting lone women’ - engaging the women in conversation before ‘touching himself inappropriately’ in front of them, inciting ‘considerable fear’.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
The capital has been experiencing some stormy weather  (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

At least three planes are thought to have been struck as lightning forked through the skies over the capital.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
(Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

South West trains to and from Waterloo station are facing delays of up to 20 minutes this morning - and some services have been cancelled altogether.

Monday, April 25, 2016
Piccadilly Line drivers will not strike this week (Picture: PA Images)

Planned strikes by drivers on London Underground’s Piccadilly line for tomorrow and Thursday have been suspended.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

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
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! 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