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Which station makes sailors seasick?These aren’t unique to Turnham Green, but seem to be in much better condition here than elsewhere along the District line.

Should you be at all taken by the shape and the sheen of a good bench, moreover one that incorporates both a crisp slab of signage and half a dozen windows to boot, then the station least beloved by seasick sailors* is the place to be.

There’s a quiet, gentle beauty to such atypically multi-purpose public transport furniture.

Two things are going on here. One is an appreciation of form, and the other is an attention to detail. Each complements the other, and from their marriage emerges the sort of place I’d be happy to sit for half an hour or so, cocooned from other people and the elements, with only my thoughts and a good (but not great) book for company.

Attention has also been paid to how they look as part of the station as a whole.

See how the dashes of white on the columns supporting the roof line up perfectly with the white on either end of the benches:

A bench benchmark The colours in turn mirror those on the roof itself, which is a rather fine piece of architecture in its own right thanks to that intricate threading of wood and metal.

Either tucked up inside or facing them from an adjacent platform, you can’t help but feel these benches have benefited from having that extra bit of thought, even love, put into their construction.

And that feeling is what encourages you again and again to conclude that the Underground is a thing of greatness. For where else is the same care lavished upon somewhere to rest your legs as somewhere to carry millions of people under a giant river four times or 18 metres over a valley?

*An oldie, but a goldie.

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