Map: Graphical Approach


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

 1884 Book, London Underground Maps, The Metropolitian Railway Company Map of London, Unknown Artist


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.

 1884 Book, London Underground Maps, Improved District Railway Map of London, Unknown Artist


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.

1908 Book, London Underground Maps, London Underground Railways, Unknown Artist


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.

1920 Book, London Underground Maps, Underground Map of Electric Railways of London, MacDonald Gill


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.

1931 Book, London Underground Maps, Sketch for the first diagrammatic tube map, Harry Beck

1931 Book, London Underground Maps, Presentation drawing for the diagrammatic Tube Map, Harry Beck


The Piccadilly line’s western and northern extensions are completed, with stations built in Charles Holden’s distinctive architectural style.

1932 Book, London Underground Maps, Preliminary drawing for the diagrammatic Tube Map, Harry Beck

1932 Book, London Underground Maps, Stingmore's Final Tube Map, F.H. Stingmore


The UERL publishes Harry Beck’s diagrammatic Tube map for the first time.

1933 Book, London Underground Maps, The Underground 'Straight Eight' All-Electric Skit-Set Circuit Diagram, Harry Beck

1933 Book, London Underground Maps, Underground Map Poster, Harry Beck


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.

1938 Book, London Underground Maps, Pocket Underground Map, Hans Schleger


World War II


LT is nationalized, along with Britain’s four mainline railway companies.

1940 Book, London Underground Maps, Poster Unerground Map, Harry Beck

1944 Book, London Underground Maps, Underground Routes Map, Harry Beck

1946 Book, London Underground Maps, Poster Underground Map, Harry Beck and Charles Shephard (border)

1949 Book, London Underground Maps, Poster Underground Map, Harry Beck


The First Braille Underground map is produced.

1950 Book, London Underground Maps, Underground Headscarf, Artist Unknown 1950 Book, London Underground Maps, Powder Compact Case, Artist Unknown


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.

1960 Book, London Underground Maps, Poster Underground Map, Harold Hutchison


Paul Garbutt restores the Tube map along Beck’s design principles.

1964 Book, London Underground Maps, Pocket Underground Map, Paul E. Garbutt


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).

1977 Book, London Underground Maps, I'd be lost without it, Artist Uknown


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.

2005 Book, London Underground Maps, Underground Maps After Beck, Maxwell Robert


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.

2007 Book, London Underground Maps, Curvy Map, Maxwell Robert


Royal Mail produces a stamp featuring Beck’s map in its British Design Classics series.

2009 Book, London Underground Maps, British Design Classics London Underground Map, HGV design group


The river Thames is removed from the Tube map, but reinstated after a public outcry.

2009 Book, London Underground Maps, Pocket Tube Map, TFL


The exhibition Mind the Map opens at the London Transport Museum.

2012 Underground Film Map, Quad Royal


Present map of London Underground

Standard Tube map September 2013 revision


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s