Metroland

INTRODUCTION

I covered this topic briefly during my post about the Metropolitan lineHowever, that was an overview of a whole line, and a large number of the stations included within Metroland are no longer served by the Metropolitan, indeed a good few no longer exist at all.

THE CREATION OF THE METROPOLITAN

As the very name Metropolitan Railway suggests it was not originally envisaged that this line would ever serve anywhere outside London. City solicitor Charles Pearson, whose original idea it was, envisaged and underground railway linking all of London’s main line termini, and possibly ultimately the construction of a single super-terminus but he did not see his creation in other than strictly central London terms.

Pearson actually died before his greatest project came to fruition. The second individual to stamp his personality on the Metropolitan was Edward Watkin, who saw the Met as playing a role in his grand scheme to provide railway connections between his three favourite cities, Paris, London and Manchester (he was approximately 20 miles short, construction work having started on a tunnel under the channel before fears of a French invasion led to a veto – and it would be a century later that this last link was completed.

It was this that led to a vast north-western expansion of the Met, and although the outer reaches have long gone, and Met trains no longer travel past Amersham, it is still the case that only 1/16th of the Met is in tunnel. In Met terms, there were at the height of the expansion three bifurcation points, at Harrow-on-the-Hill, which is still a major fork, Chalfont and Latimer (also still a branching point), and at Quainton Road beyond Aylesbury (no longer served). Watkin also developed the Great Central Railway company, with a London terminus at Marylebone (today’s Chiltern Railways), and viewed from their perspective the area we are covering looked like this…

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METROLAND

Watkin died in harness, and his place was taken by Robert Hope Selbie, deviser of the concept of Metroland. It made use of the vast swathes of land owned by the Metropolitan, providing housing developments for people who wanted to live with in easy travelling distance of London, and it kept the outer reaches of the Met going until the mid 1930s, while Quainton Road endured as a Met terminus until 1947, and Aylesbury remained a London Underground destination until 1965, and of course is still served by Chiltern Railways. Selbie’s own publicity took the form of this map…

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Here are close-ups of the inner and outer halves of this map…

Towards London Beyond Amersham

 

London: A History in Maps

INTRODUCTION

Another Christmas present, with just enough connection to the theme of this site to be worth including.

AN EPIC VOLUME

Of course, given the length of London’s history, even in a volume of this massive size (bought for me by my aunt Helen), there were only three maps that tied in with this site. The book is magnificent, covering 2,000 years of history with a series of beautiful maps. The entertaining speculative effort entitled “Londinium Underground” not withstanding, the first railway station in the capital was Euston, which opened in the 1830s, and the earliest section of London Underground, now to be found on the Hammersmith and City line, opened in 1863. In London terms this is very recent.

The Maps that I choose to share are this effort from the Great Central Railway Company, which was devised for advertising purposes:

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This one, showing stations in Middlesex:

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And finally the 1907 Underground Electric Railways of London map:

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A Pack of Playing Cards

INTRODUCTION

It has been a while since I last posted on this site due it being Christmas. During the Christmas period itself I stayed with my parents and sundry other family members in East Rudham (from the 24th to the 28th to be exact, there being no public transport on the 25th and 26th – which I wholeheartedly agree with – and the 27th being a Sunday), and I chose to not to take my computer with me. Appropriately my return to action on this site has to do with a Christmas present.

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT

This present was unexpected in two ways – I had no idea that I would be getting it, and it came from someone who I had not expected to get me a present in any case. The purchaser of the present (my cousin Amanda) had not been going to get me anything until she saw this item. It was a set of playing cards in an aluminium box, and on the front of the box and also on the back of each individual card was an extract from the London Underground map! A wonderful choice of present.

The playing cards are a little indistinct in this picture.
The playing cards are a little indistinct in this picture.
So i also took this one focussing specifically on the cards.
So i also took this one focussing specifically on the cards.
This picture has been further adapted to include the name of the station that is there but not named.
This picture has been further adapted to include the name of the station that is there but not named.

AN UNUSUAL FEATURE FOR AN ENGLISH PACK OF CARDS

Aside from the pattern, and the box in which they come there is one other unusual feature about this pack as compared to a standard English pack – the first picture below is the ace of spades from this pack, while the second is the same card from a pack of Waddington’s no 1s…

An unadorned ace of spades.
An unadorned ace of spades.
The traditional English ace of spades - the reason for this fancy card is that back in the day playing cards were heavily taxed, and manufacturers were only allowed to make 51 of the playing cards, receiving the ace of spades to complete the deck once they had paid the tax.
The traditional English ace of spades – the reason for this fancy card is that back in the day playing cards were heavily taxed, and manufacturers were only allowed to make 51 of the playing cards, receiving the ace of spades to complete the deck once they had paid the tax.

 

Secret Santa Comes Up Trumps With Tea Towel Map

INTRODUCTION

Today was the NAS West Norfolk Committee Christmas Lunch, which took place at the Lynn Restaurant, practically underneath my flat (I did not do the usual thing for those who live closest to the venue and arrive last!). As part of this we were doing a ‘secret Santa’ whereby each person was nominated to buy a small gift for someone else – and the gifts were to be labelled with the recipients name but nothing else. The rest  of this post is about the ‘secret Santa’ gift that I received.

SECRET SANTA STRIKES GOLD

Whoever was given the job of buying for me succeeded magnificently, coming up with a Tea Towel that was also a map of the central area of London Underground…

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This is a splendid addition to my collection of maps, and far better than I even dared hope for, let alone expect, from a ‘secret Santa’.

 

An Antique Map That Ties in With the Site

INTRODUCTION

This is the second of two posts I am producing about items I purchased at yesterday’s auction. This one has a slihglty more tenuous connection to the subject matter of this website than the badge, but an examination of my posts about the Metropolitan and Central lines will make clear the relevance of a map of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

FROM 5 NORWICH STREET, FAKENHAM TO 117E HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN

Number 5, Norwich Street, Fakenham is the address of James and Sons auctioneers, for whom I work, among other things imaging auction lots, while 117E High Street, King’s Lynn is the address of the ‘compact’ town centre flat in which I reside. As so often, my first sight of this addition to my collection was while imaging it for the auction at which I subsequently acquired it.

The image that everyone saw.
The image that everyone saw.

What this image does not convey is the very solid backing that this map has, which helps to explain how it is survived for nigh on a century.

I duly put a bid in in hope more than expectation (I was determined to get the badge and delighted when my bid proved sufficient to land this as well).

THE MAP AT 117E HIGH STREET

I have found a suitable place to keep the map when it is folded up, and I also took a few pictures to showcase it…

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A close focus on Verney Junction, one of the old outposts of the Metropolitan.
A close focus on Verney Junction, one of the old outposts of the Metropolitan.
Focus on Brill, at 51 miles from central London the most distant point ever served by a London Underground line.
Focus on Brill, at 51 miles from central London the most distant point ever served by a London Underground line.
Showing the proximity of Brill and Oxford - and the reason Edward Watkin was willing to purchase the Duke of Buckingham's private railway.
Showing the proximity of Brill and Oxford – and the reason Edward Watkin was willing to purchase the Duke of Buckingham’s private railway.

Some Interesting London Transport Themed Maps

INTRODUCTION

I was put on to these maps, which feature in a Telegraph piece providing hi-res images of lots od historical London Maps, by the wonderful blog historylondon who featured the piece as one of their ‘Ten Gobbets of The Week’.

The first map from the Telegraph piece features London’s Theatreland, making the then public transport visible as well:

The theatres map - URL: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02731/map-theatre_2731321k.jpg
The theatres map – URL: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02731/map-theatre_2731321k.jpg

The remaining maps are one whole and two close-up sections of the same map. For those who wish to see them in their original setting, the links are below, before the images themselves:

The 'Wonderground'  Map in all it's glory.
The ‘Wonderground’ Map in all it’s glory.

Wonderground - a Wonderground - b

I conclude by reiterating my thanks to historylondon for bringing these maps to my attention and to the Telegraph for publishing the original piece.

Another Example of Mr Beck’s Triumph

INTRODUCTION

This little post is a simultaneous coda to the posts about The Beck Map and Esoteric Maps.

AN IMAGINATIVE USE OF THE MAP

I spotted this on twitter, courtesy of one Gary Walker who was publicising a book promotion website, look4books. This alternative version of the map and logo appears on a t-shirt, and the original image which is reproduced below as well can be viewed here.

LFB

CONCLUSION

Hats off to Gary Walker for such a creative usage of a variation on the world’s best known map and logo, and credit to Harry Beck all those years ago for coming up with such a successful meme.

 

Esoteric London Underground Maps

INTRODUCTION

Today I visited the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, and while I was there saw something that has led to this post.

TASTES OF LONDON

On the wall of a corridor in the Autism Research Centre I spotted this map:

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While this map keeps to the style and appearance of the current London Underground Map, my other two offerings are rather different – one is a variation on the regular map which uses smoother curves and gentler angles, and the other shows what might have been had the Romans developed underground railways…

A variation on the standard map.
A variation on the standard map.
Had the Romans devised such a system, the Londinium Underground might have looked like this.
Had the Romans devised such a system, the Londinium Underground might have looked like this.

The Beck Map

INTRODUCTION

When a young engineering draftsman named Henry Beck suggested a new, simplified way of displaying the London Undeground Network his superiors were initially disinclined to take such a radical step.

THE GREAT CHANGE

Until Mr Beck finally got the go ahead from his employers, and his creation was unveiled to the public in January 1933, all maps showing railways of any kind were just ordinary maps with the routes superimposed. 82 years post the great unveiling schematic diagrams like those devised by Beck rule the roost not just in London but in every city that has a significant public transport network, and geographical route maps are produced only as souvenirs for enthusiasts.

Beck experimented with his design many times over the years, even going so far on occasion as to not show the line of the Thames, but this proved to be a bridge too far.

For a comparison, the first picture below is of a facsimile of the 1926 London Underground Map, while the second is a facsimile of Mr Beck’s first effort…

 

The 1926 London Underground Map.
The 1926 London Underground Map.
Possibly the single most influential map produced in the 20th century - the original Beck masterpiece.
Possibly the single most influential map produced in the 20th century – the original Beck masterpiece.

This map showing envisaged extensions shows one of Beck’s style changes…

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IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST…

 

While the facsimile of the 1933 original does not appear to be available, the 1936 version is available here at £15.99.

The facsimile of the 1926 Map can be ordered from the London Transport Museum (same source as the other) for £15.95.

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Meanwhile, smaller versions of these and many other maps can be found within the covers of Ken Garland’s masterpiece “The Beck Map”, which can be obtained from bookdepository.com for £12.95.

The Spread of London's Underground

Also, Tim Demuth’s The Spread of London’s Undeground can be obtained from bookdepository.com for £8.94