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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
(Photo: Sunil060902)

Lambeth North Underground station, on the Bakerloo Line, is to be closed from July 2016 to mid-February 2017 due to lift repair work.

Monday, June 13, 2016
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: BTP)

Five defibrillators - emergency machines used to keep someoone alive if they suffer a heart attack - have been stolen from train stations across the capital and police are on the hunt for the culprit.

Friday, June 10, 2016
The scene of the accident in Finchley Road

A female cyclist was taken to hospital with injuries after a collision with a lorry in Finchley Road yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Your commute is about to get a little bit easier... (Picture: PA Images)

London commuters can now get live travel alerts about severe delays on the Tube network because Transport for London (TfL) have joined forces with social media giant Twitter.

Monday, June 6, 2016
The collision happened at the junction of the Strand and Arundel Street (Photo: Google StreetView)

A cyclist has died in hospital after he was critically injured in a collision with a bus.

Monday, June 6, 2016
An increased number of BTP officers will watch over the Eurostar as fans begin to travel to France for the Euros, which begin Friday (Picture: PA Images)

Police presence is being beefed up at the St Pancras International Eurostar terminal during Euro 2016 in an attempt to stop ‘known troublemakers’ travelling, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more
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

Latest Tech News

Transport