How the London UNDERGROUND shaped London


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The "London Underground" is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. This presentation describes the initial trials and tribulations, dogged tenacity, and miraculous triumphs that transformed transportation, and people's lives, in Victorian London. Even today, the "UNDERGROUND" roundel logo, the "Tube Map", and imaginative posters, are instantly recognized worldwide as iconic symbols of one of the greatest cities of the world, steeped in history, culture, and commerce!

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How the London UNDERGROUND shaped London

  1. 1. University of Oxford July 24, 2013 Jim Mukerjee
  2. 2. CONCLUSIONS • Victorian period generated intense scientific curiosity, technical innovation and sense of power & confidence • The London Underground can be “regarded as the greatest engineering triumph of the day” • The Underground remains the lifeblood of London today and will be ever more vital in future • Underground = London
  3. 3. A Tale of Trains, Technology & Talent • Railway Mania of the 1840s • Birth of the UNDERGROUND • How was the UNDERGROUND Built? • Social Impact of the UNDERGROUND • Visionaries, PR and Corporate Branding Agenda
  4. 4. Railway Mania of the 1840s • London: largest and most prosperous city in the world in mid- 19th century; capital of the British Empire! • Narrow congested streets with horse-drawn traffic and pedestrians created gridlock; Need for connecting main railway stations with the City • Royal Commission on Metropolitan Railway Termini formed in 1846 • Stations to be located at edge of city; Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross stations; surface connections to the City in central London banned • The Underground: an idea whose time has come • Many competing proposals across London with new routes in laissez-faire development climate
  5. 5. Birth Of The UNDERGROUND • ~ 250K people journeyed to work every day • Charles Pearson, City of London Solicitor, proposed Railways as part of larger transportation plan • Metropolitan Railway under New Road approved by parliament in 1854, John Fowler, Chief Engineer • January 9, 1863, Metropolitan Railway opens first Underground service from Paddington to Farringdon Street station • Immediate success: 40K passengers took 18 min journey on first day in three different classes of service; Metropolitan Railway profitable in first year
  6. 6. Metropolitan Railway Opening January 9, 1863
  7. 7. Construction of the Underground • Construction started in 1860; took 2 years to complete 3½ miles; “cut and cover” design ( re: London Transport Museum model) • Innovation lay in covering the tunnel roof and laying the road back over the top to support the traffic • Major concern below ground: water-mains, main/branch sewers and pipes, gas mains, telegraph wires – “full of veins and arteries” • Most technical hurdles solved by hands-on trial and error rather than detailed pre-planning, design and engineering blueprints • Employed 2,000 “navvies”, 200 horses, 58 steam cranes, huge kilns @ Earl’s Court for 140M baked bricks • Steam trains created a smoky, uncomfortable atmosphere no matter what precautions were taken; Board of Trade inquiry in 1887: advent of Electric Traction • First deep-level electric “Tube” Railway opened in 1890 between Stockwell and King William Street stations
  8. 8. Construction of First Underground Metropolitan Railway Line
  9. 9. First Underground Poster by John Hassell, 1908
  10. 10. Social Impact of the Underground • Underground’s popularity due to revolutionized speed of travel and excellent safety record ; no explosions due to flammable gases as feared; modern interlocking signals and controls • Outward expansion opened lucrative suburban market: service “Metro-Land” housing development and “Homes fit for Heroes” for returning WW I and WW II veterans • Short trips around town for Victorians for socializing, shopping, recreation, night-life, entertainment • Maintain as normal a service as possible during WW II: reassuring symbol of confidence, resilience, and national pride • Overall, between 1850 and 1900, as many as 100,000 Londoners lost their homes to railway construction
  11. 11. Development of London suburbs
  12. 12. Underground for All Reasons
  13. 13. Underground Shelter During Blitz Sept 25, 1940
  14. 14. Public Notice during Blitz
  15. 15. Visionaries, PR, Corporate Branding • Charles Tyson Yerkes, American entrepreneur, swindler, saviour of the London Underground • Albert Stanley (Lord Ashfield), first Chairman of London Transport, MD of Underground Group (UG) in 1910 • Frank Pick, Commercial Mgr and MD of UG in 1920, first CEO of LT in 1933 – Legendary for use of Graphic Art, Branding & Administrative skills – Philosophy of Design Institute: “Fitness for purpose” – Inspiration for Corporate Branding: Underground Posters since 1908 • Edward Johnston, accomplished calligrapher, designer of iconic Underground Roundel logo in 1913 • Charles Holden, architect of Piccadilly & West End stations, LT Headquarters @ 55 Broadway in 1929: “simplicity with grandeur” • Harry Beck, Draughtsman in LT, designer of iconic Underground Map in 1931, initially rejected by LT, simple, easy to read and use, public reception was enthusiastic; received 10 guineas for his innovative design, now standard logo of London Underground system map recognized worldwide
  16. 16. Iconic London Underground Map Harry Beck, 1931
  17. 17. Geographical Underground Map Mark Noad, LT, 2011
  18. 18. Iconic Underground Roundel Logo New Johnston Sans Font
  19. 19. Subways are Spreading Fast
  20. 20. The Underground = London
  21. 21. THANK YOU