The Metropolitan Railway opens in London,linking Paddington and Farringdon. The world’s first urban underground railway, it operated with steam trains.
The District Railway is set up, running between Westminister Bridge and South Kensington, and is soon extended to Blackfriars
By 1884, services had reached New Cross via the Thames Tunnel. 1884 The Circle line is completed, linking the Metropolitan and District Railways in central London. Both the District and Metropolitan Railways are extended with overgorund lines through outer London and into the surrounding countryside, encouraging suburban development.
The City & South London Railway, the world’s first deep-level, electric underground line, opens, connecting Stockwell and the City. Today, it forms part of the Northern line.
The Waterloo & City Railway opens in central London.
The Central London Railway, known as the ‘Twopenny Tube’, opens in central London.
Establishment of the Underground Electric Railways of London (UERL).
The Metropolitan and District lines are electrified. The District line now forms part of the UERL, but the Metropolitan remains independent.
The UERL opens the new Bakerloo, Piccadilly and Hampstead Tube lines.
Frank Pick (1878-1941) heads up UERL publicity, and commissions his first Underground poster, No need to ask a P’liceman!, depicting passengers using a new Underground map. The period marks the start of co-ordinated marketing across the UERL’s railways, through its distinctive lettering and signage, including a nascent form of the roundel symbol.
The UERL produces its first map showing the Underground as one coordinated system.
The capital’s main bus operator, London General Omnibus Company (LGOC), is taken over by the UERL. Pick heads up traffic development in the new, enlarged UERL Combine, promoting and co-ordinating the company’s bus, tram and Underground services.
The artist MacDonald Gill (1884-1947) is commissioned to produce his first decorative poster map for the UERL.
World War I
The Design & Industries Association (DIA) is established, with Pick as a founding member.
The typographer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) completes a new Underground letter face
for Frank Pick.
Fred H. Stingemore (1890-1954) joins the UERL’s publicity office. He is later appointed as
personal draftsman to Frank Pick.
MacDonald Gill’s signature is the first to appear on an Underground map, which is now
stripped of all topographical detail.
Harry Beck (1903-74) joins the Underground as a draughtsman.
Underground extensions north to Edgware and south to Morden are completed.
Fred H. Stingemore produces his first pocket Underground map. In 1926 he adds the
river Thames to aid orientation.
Piccadilly Circus station is redesigned by Charles Holden with an innovative sub-surface booking hall.
The new showpiece – the ‘hub of the Underground’ – displays Stephen Bone’s mural map Piccadilly Circus – Hub of the Empire.
Harry Beck produces his first design for a diagrammatic Underground map. He presents it to the UERL, but it is rejected.
The Piccadilly line’s western and northern extensions are completed, with stations built in Charles Holden’s distinctive architectural style.
The UERL publishes Harry Beck’s diagrammatic Tube map for the first time.
The London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), soon to be known as London Transport (LT), is created as a single public corporation to run all bus, tram and Underground railway services in London.
World War II
LT is nationalized, along with Britain’s four mainline railway companies.
The First Braille Underground map is produced.
The Festival of Britain celebrates national contributions to art, science and technology.
Grid coordinates appear on the Tube map.
Beck produces his last Tube map for LT.
Harold Hutchison redesigns the Tube map creating a more angular, less popular design.
Paul Garbutt restores the Tube map along Beck’s design principles.
The Victoria line is launched. It is the world’s first computer-controlled underground railway, with trains and ticket gates.
Tim Demuth designs the first combined Tube and mainline railway map for LT.
The Piccadilly line is extended west to Heathrow Airport, and later to the airport’s Terminal4 (1986) and Terminal 5 (2008).
The Jubilee line opens in central London.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) opens. It has since more than doubled in length, with a series of extensions.
Ken Garland’s book, Mr Beck’s Underground Map, celebrates Harry Beck as the designer of the diagrammatic Tube map.
The Jubilee line extension (J LE) opens between Westminster and Stratford, with dramatic new station architecture and design.
Platform for Art is set up as London Underground’s official art programme.
TFL adds a credit to Beck on the Tube map which remains in place today: ‘This diagram is an evolution of the original design conceived in ’93’ by Harry Beck.’
Platform for Art (renamed Art on the Underground in 2008 launches a new initiative, commissioning artists to produce work for the covers of pocket Tube maps. The first, by Emma Kay, is entitled You Are in London.
Harry Beck’s Tube map is voted the second-favourite British design of the twentieth-century in the Great British Design Quest, a public poll on the best· loved British design. The winner was Concorde.
London Overground is created as part of TFL to run some suburban railway services.
Royal Mail produces a stamp featuring Beck’s map in its British Design Classics series.
The river Thames is removed from the Tube map, but reinstated after a public outcry.
The exhibition Mind the Map opens at the London Transport Museum.
Present map of London Underground