Wednesday, 16 October 2013



historical (first world war)

  • During the First World War, women began to make up staff shortages on the Underground.
  • When Maida Vale station opened on 6 June 1915 it was entirely staffed by women.
  • By the end of 1917 the Metropolitan Railway had 552 women on its staff.
  • Police reports of German bomb raids on London in 1917 estimated that 300,000 people were taking shelter in Tube stations.
  • A white marble memorial at Baker Street station commemorates the 137 Metropolitan Railway employees killed during the First World War.
  • The extension of the Piccadilly line northwards was largely down to passenger pressure; In 1923, a 30,000-signature petition was delivered to the Ministry of Transport.
  • In the 1860s only basic signage – the station name and exit – was provided on the Underground.
  • One of the first rail maps, produced by the District line in 1892, featured the slogan “Time Is Money” on the cover. 
  • The Tube’s world-famous red  circle logo, known as the “roundel”, first appeared in 1908.
  • Around 60 stations had the Metropolitan line’s red diamond instead of the “roundel” between 1919 and the 1970s.
  • The Underground Sans font, still used in a modified form for all the Tube’s posters and design, was created by Edward Johnston in 1916.
  • In 1907 a photographic survey was taken of all station exteriors in order to establish ways in which a more uniform design style could be achieved.
  • In 1907 a photographic survey was taken of all station exteriors in order to establish ways in which a more uniform design style could be achieved.
  • Etiquette posters warning  people to move down the car and to let passengers off first have been produced since the early years of the Tube, some by celebrated cartoonist George Morrow.
  • The Victoria line commissioned artists to produce original tile motifs for each station, including the seven trees which give Seven Sisters its name.
the map
  • The first free Underground map was released in 1908, a joint marketing enterprise produced collaboratively by the various private companies which ran the separate lines.
  • The classic diagrammatic Underground map designed by Harry Beck was first produced in 1933, inspired by electrical circuit diagrams.
  • The map was originally offered to the Underground by Harry Beck in 1931, but it was rejected as it was considered too radical for the public.
  • Harry Beck was paid 10 guineas, or £10.50, for his Tube map design.
  • Beck spent two years pestering the Underground to print a trial run – which was enthusiastically received by Londoners.
  • Beck remained very involved with changes and updates to his map for over 25 years until eventually falling out with London Transport.
  • In 1959 his name was removed from the map, until the 1990s, when he was once again acknowledged as its creator and “H.C. Beck” reappeared on the large-format station maps.
  • In 2006 the London Underground map came second in a BBC competition to find the public’s favourite British design of the 20th century.
  • In 2009 the angular representation of the river Thames was briefly removed from the map, but quickly replaced after a public outcry.
  • Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi designed the mosaic murals at Tottenham Court Road station, which were completed in 1984.
  • In the 90s, due to a boom in  graffiti, the “silver” tube trains were replaced with the red,  white and blue painted ones still seen today.
  • Southwark Station’s blue  cone wall, built as part of the Jubilee line extension’s new  generation of stations, was inspired by an 1816 stage set for The Magic Flute
  • Since 2003, musicians require a licence to busk on the Tube.
  • The ceramics on the City and South London Railway (now part of the Northern line) were inspired by the designs of artist William Morris.
  • Charles Holden is perhaps one of the most prominent station architects. He based Arnos Grove on Stockholm Public Library and Gants Hill was inspired by the Moscow Metro.
  • All 46 stations designed by  Leslie Green have distinctive tile patterns to help regular customers recognise them.
  • Green’s stations – such as Covent Garden – were all steel-clad to allow premises to be built on top of them.
  • Sir Norman Foster designed Canary Wharf station, which opened in 1999 as part of the Jubilee line extension.
passenger numbers
  • The first-ever day of public service was enjoyed by 40,000 passengers.
  • In 1908, the first full year of operation for all three lines, the Hampstead Tube (now part of the Northern Line) carried 25 million passengers, the Bakerloo 28 million and the Piccadilly 34.5 million.
  • Passenger numbers grew rapidly and by 1918 the Underground was carrying 70 per cent more people than in 1914.
  • Currently 1,107 million passengers are carried every year.
  • The busiest station in London is Waterloo, which has 57,000 people entering during the three-hour morning peak.
  • 82 million passengers travel through Waterloo each year.
  • During 2011/12, London Underground carried a record number of passengers, with 1.171 billion journeys made. This is 64 million more than in 2010/11.
historical (second world war)
  • Rapid expansion of the Underground services into London’s suburbs throughout  the 30s were brought abruptly to  a halt with the outbreak of the Second World War.
  • The Underground was central to evacuating children and expectant mothers from London to the countryside in 1939.
  • Within a couple of days, London Transport successfully evacuated 600,000 vulnerable Londoners.
  • Brompton Road station on the Piccadilly line, which was closed in 1934, was converted into an underground Operations Room  for London’s anti-aircraft control during the war.
  • During the war, signs warning passengers to carry their gas marks were on display at every Underground station.
  • Despite having been previously used as shelters in 1917, the government felt that the Underground should be used for transport, not shelter. Posters were put up warning passengers that Underground stations “must not be used as air-raid shelters”.
  • On 7 September 1940, the East End experienced the first of many heavy bombing raids. People rushed to the Underground stations and staff were unable to resist.
  • Many people got round the Tube sheltering ban by buying cheap penny travel tickets and then  refusing to leave the platforms.
  • Trains continued to run throughout the blitz, leading to especially crowded stations mixed with travellers and those seeking shelter.
  • The press described those sheltering in the Underground as “Tubites”; London Transport called them “squatters”.
  • It wasn’t long before around 177,000 people were sheltering in the Underground’s deep-level stations every night.
  • “Droppers” would get into the station early and drop items of clothing against the wall to reserve the prime spots, which would then be sold for up to half a crown each.
  • Some communities of shelterers on the Underground set up committees and newsletters to campaign for better facilities.
  • On 8 October 1940 the government announced a U-turn and ended the unenforceable ban on sheltering in the Tube.
  • For Christmas 1940, London Transport staff distributed over 11,000 toys, presented by America’s Air Raid Relief Fund to children sheltering in stations.
  • Numbered bunk beds and a ticketing system were quickly installed to reduce queuing and stop “droppers”.
  • By the end of the war there were over 22,000 beds installed in Underground stations.
  • A popular war-time addition to the Underground was the “Tube Refreshment’s Service” which distributed seven tons of food to those sheltering every night.
  • Between September 1940 and May 1941, 198 people were killed when Tube shelters were hit directly by bombs.
  • One of the worst bombing incidents to affect the Underground shelters was on 14 October, when a bomb pierced the road surface, killing 64 people sheltering on the platform below.
  • On 13 January 1941, Bank station was hit, killing 56 people. Details of the incident were strictly censored.
  • The worst single incident to occur in London during the war was on 3 March 1943, when 173 people were crushed to death in a stairwell at Bethnal Green station – not a single bomb was dropped on the capital that night.
  • Around 200 London Transport workers were killed on duty during World War Two.
  • Despite a ban on geographic transport maps during the war, the Tube map was still permitted, presumably because it wouldn’t have been much help to Nazi paratroopers.

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