History has never been so vivid with the sights and sounds of London gone by echoing in every page. The only down side is that it has made me aware of a whole world I am not allowed to be part of existing just a few metres beneath my feet that and peering into every little door and window on the tube. Yerkes was one of many colourful characters who gave London its underground railway system.
But the London Underground is more than a railway. In the twentieth century, under the enlightened management of Frank Pick, the Underground was responsible for some striking developments in industrial design. Bauhaus, Cubist and other innovative ideas were applied to station architecture, advertising posters and seat covers. The building of the cut and cover Metropolitan and the District Railway and the intense rivalry of their respective chairmen Edward Watkin and James Forbes is most interesting.
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The simultaneous relating of the story of the deep line electric railways, the technological developments and the always interesting roles of the great characters and engineers involved is the strength and pleasure of this book. The complex story is related with a speed and clarity that gives the feeling of excitement and wonder that must have existed at the time.
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But this solidity is an illusion, for throughout its long history London has been changing and evolving. It has been renewing or replacing the streets and buildings at its heart and has been spreading inexorably outwards. The link between London and Westminster; the devastation of the Great Fire; the emergence of the West End as a place of fashion: the opening of the Royal Parks; the building of the docks; the coming of the railway age; the impact of World Wars — all these processes and many more are evident in these historic maps.
Approximately important maps from the mid-sixteenth century to the present day are illustrated and discussed.
He traces the technological progress — from the risky breakthroughs in tunnelling techniques that made underground travel possible to the innovations that have made it safer and more pleasant, such as the move from coal-burning locomotives to the electrification of the line and the evolution of the first wooden carriages into the air-conditioned aluminium ones of today. Metro also takes an in-depth look at the cultural phenomena, such as poster art and graffiti, that have flourished on underground systems around the world. Thriller - Live.
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What lies beneath? | The Times
The secret world beneath London's streets. There are 23 miles of this narrow gauge line running under the city, principally between Paddington and Whitechapel. It served nine stations, including two mainline stations and the major London sorting offices. It finally closed in but the largest of its stations, Mount Pleasant pictured , will be opening to the public in Running parallel to eight tube stations are a series of metre long tunnels each designed to house up to 8, people. Completed in , they took around 18 months to build and were intended to become part of a new express line that was to be added to the Northern Line after the war.
Today, most of these shelters are used for storage but many have retained relics from their wartime past.
London Transport Museum operates tours of the shelter at Clapham South. Owing to the central and relatively shallow location of the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall, a secret contingency bunker called Paddock was built at Dollis Hill to cater for the wartime cabinet in the event that the Whitehall bunker was compromised. Churchill and his cabinet only visited Paddock once as a test run before the war ended. The site experienced flooding after building work above ground in but is now opened for the public during London Open House Weekends.
Less well known is Pindar in Whitehall, located under the Ministry of Defence building. There are around 40 ghost stations in London. Some such as Down Street Station on the Piccadilly Line and British Museum Station on the Central Line can just about be seen as the tube passes through them but most go largely unnoticed. It is possible to arrange tours of some of these stations, which are operated by the London Transport Museum. London began to expand rapidly in the 19th century, causing problems for the cemeteries that were rapidly running out of space to bury the dead.
Kensal Green pictured and West Norwood are two locations where the dead began to be buried underground in catacombs. Both cemeteries operate tours of their catacombs. Before the River Tyburn was built over, its course through the city meant that both Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament sat on a small island known as Thorney Island. Originating in Hampstead Heath, the Tyburn is one of 13 major tributaries to the River Thames that flow through the city, many of which are now incorporated into the sewer system. Rumours of secret tunnels under London are widespread.
Completed in This tunnel once carried Victorian passengers in small cable cars under the river before becoming a foot tunnel and then a route for carrying water mains. The northern entrance to the tunnel at Tower Hill is pictured above.