0. About this blog

All aboard

Welcome to my personal pick of the best things about London’s Underground.

Perhaps I should say right from the off that I have nothing to do with any of the august bodies that run and regulate the Underground. This is a completely unofficial and personal endeavour. None of Boris Johnson’s fingers can be found in this municipal pie.

Prompted by the network’s impending 150th birthday, and in part as a corrective to the forests of bad press it perpetually receives in the capital’s press, I thought it’d be fun, if also something of a challenge, to identify 150 aspects of the Underground worth celebrating.

As such this is an unashamedly positive, unfussy and – yes – sentimental salute to a public transport titan.

There are plenty of other places to go online if you wish to be told otherwise.

I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to clock up the full 150. Hopefully the list will be complete before the end of 2013.

Some of my choices will be objects and buildings. Some of them will be sights and sounds. A few might even be, erm, “sensations”. But all will be non-copyright Transport for London (just in case any of the legal eagles are looking in, talons poised).

I hope you enjoy what you see.

Many happy returns London Underground.

  1. Julie said:

    Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts. An admirable endeavour!

  2. Thanks Julie. Here’s hoping I make it all the way to 150!

  3. Ben said:

    Presumably you’ll celebrate these 150 years of history properly by not just including present glories but Underground friends of a bygone age, such as the tantalising and mysterious frontages of stations like Aldwych, Blake Hall or Down Street???

  4. As an American whose only been in London twice in my life and absolutely fell in love with the place and its mass transit, I really appreciate this blog.To share my favorite experience in the Underground would be to tell the story of attempting to make a connection as fast as possible in Victoria station. Running at full speed through tight corridors that are the standard of the Underground and then being shot into the massive main platform that seems to be miles high and long was breathtaking.

    That being said, I very much look forward to whats coming up in your blog! =)

  5. Sunny Mitra said:

    I have really enjoyed your posts so far, you clearly know your architecture and have a love for London’s history, it’s educational and thoroughly readable stuff. For me it’s great to see places I know well on your list to date, like the Hitchcock mosaics ordaining the walls at Leytonstone, the curvaceous bus station at Newbury Park and the clock at Gants Hill (you’ve got to love that hour hand), but even more of a pleasure to read about so many hidden gems, who knew there was still one of those wooden escalators in existence for one?

    I’m looking forward to your posts about two stations in particular, St James’s Park, the one time showpiece station of the Underground network and the notoriously treacherous abundance of stairs down to the platforms at Russell Square, where I’ve nearly died on a few occasions.

    Fantastic blog and subject, I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

    • Thanks Sunny. St James’s Park is definitely on the list. Not sure about Russell Square – I don’t think the stairs, as notable as they are, really qualify as “great things”!

  6. Pete Atkins said:

    Congratulations on a great blog. You have ‘the knack’ with a camera and I like your writing style too. I’ve recently retired from employment with London Underground (only as a driver so no ‘legal’ stuff I promise!) and some of your photos, especially the Piccadilly Line ones, have brought back memories of old times for me.
    It’s not only that though as I’m also enjoying seeing what I used to call “the job” from your point of view. Nice blog.

    • Many thanks Pete and glad you’re enjoying the blog. How long did you work for LU? Were you mostly based on the Piccadilly line? I’m intrigued!

  7. Pete Atkins said:

    For a long long time Ian! 🙂 I walked into ‘London Transport Railway Training Centre’ near White City station on 1st December 1969 and took early(ish) retirement in 25th July 2010. I was on Piccadilly line until mid-1985 (with a short time on Central) before transferring to H&C/Circle as an MGB – a ‘money grabbing bastard’ in job slang! – for the extra pay with OPO. In late 1987 I got on to Metropoltian line and settled there. Nice to drive out into Buckinghamshire countryside instead of in deep tube 😉

  8. Tomato Soup said:

    Thank you for sharing and providing additional insight into some familiar places, and for pointing out details we miss as we hurry about our business. Yes, many of the stations and facilities will have seen better days but I don’t think that robs us of their charm. Having learned something new today I will be paying more attention to the the Underground in future.

  9. noel said:

    Wonderful collection of posts so far, really enjoyed skimming through. I just wanted to know what number the staff are at?

  10. Sonja Faria Rosa said:

    Just found about this blog reading Today’s Guardian. It’s fabulous and I am going to read it all. Just looked at the photos now. Wishing you all the best.

  11. Cheers for the comments, folks. Hope you enjoy what you find!

  12. I just stumbled upon this blog and just had to tell you what addictive reading this makes. I have just quickly skimmed through the posts but I think this will be my “a quiet cup of tea” reading for a while. What a huge amount of legwork and effort you must have put into this – I salute you!

  13. Guilherme Wend said:

    I just found this blog today around 11 AM and just now I have finished all your posts. One of the best blogs ever. I used to take the Jubilee daily, and just moved to North London which means that I am in love with Piccadilly. congrats. It is a really nice blog

  14. Craigy said:

    After spending a long weekend in the capital I was left in awe of not just the scale but the uniqueness of every one of the two dozen or so stations I had the pleasure of landing at. This had me wanting more and I found it in the form of your blog. What a brilliant read that will encourage me to look even closer on my next visit.

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