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Numbers 1-25

Mis-mapTo avoid having my virtual collar felt by the long arm of Transport for London’s copyright police, I can’t reproduce any sort of maps on this blog. But I’m pretty sure I can reproduce my own photos of publicly-displayed copies of heritage maps. Well – fairly sure.

I think I’m on safe ground with this one: a copy of a 1932 attempt at a map of the London Underground, which is on permanent show by the entrance to Temple station:

It's a photo of a map, not a map. Honest.I guess most people might find this mildly diverting. I find it continually fascinating, but then I’m not most people.

The map pre-dates by a matter of months the publication of the first of Harry Beck’s groundbreaking diagrammatic versions. As such it became a museum piece remarkably quickly, being officially redundant by January 1933 (and forever more).

Unofficially it has gained a second life as an exhibit on the wall outside Temple, reminding those who care to look that stations once existed called Addison Road and Post Office, that Archway used to be known as Highgate, and that if you wanted to travel anywhere west of Turnham Green you were pretty much on your own.

There is no single credit for this intriguing if eccentric map. Instead it is attributed to the London Passenger Transport Board, along with a few words of advice for stupid people:

Well, dur

Bang the drumThe more I write about the Jubilee line, the more I realise it is one of London’s finest collections of contemporary architecture. The stations that were either redeveloped or built from scratch to form the extension of the line between Westminster and Stratford are among the city’s most bewitching.

Pa-ra-pa-pa-pumThe enormous glass drum that forms the centrepiece of Canada Water is another example. Its scale and ambition is matched by its class and intelligence. Light pours down into the heart of the station, creating a beautiful patchwork of shadows, shades and silhouettes.

Around the edge of the drum, vast walkways and staircases circle up, around and below each other, affording plenty of views of the whole interior (should you want to sample them) while coaxing you ever downwards into the building’s bustling heart:

Fade to greyI particularly like the necessarily-huge lid on top of the drum, which reminds me a little of the similarly futuristic look of Southgate station.

A full lidPlaudits must go to the architects Buro Happold, who designed the drum and whose portfolio embraces everything from the Millennium Dome and the Lowry Centre in Salford to Ascot racecourse and the Robert Burns birthplace museum.

It’s yet another extraordinary creation in an otherwise ordinary setting.

These Jubilee line stations march across south-east London in a parade of glory. It’s hard to think we’re likely to see such a marriage of investment and imagination again.

Window on the world

Seat of learningThey could do with a lick of paint and, truth be told, aren’t that comfortable to sit on. But they are unique. Nowhere else on the Underground can you find benches which have the name of the station displayed along the back on metal panels. And as such, they are really rather delightful.

Courting approvalWhile at Barons Court I also spied this:

Peak hours only, mindThey kept that quiet. Anyone know exactly which peak hours?