Mapping the Imagination, London, 'The Great Bear', Underground, map, tube, station, constellation, stars, galaxy of fame, icon, 20th century, lines, electrical circuit, neighboroughood, 'The Circus Space', Duetsche Bank, Annual Pyramid Awards, innovation, arts, pocekt-sized map, platform art, hospital closure, petition, going down the tube
Poster map of the London Underground
Lithograph on paper
Museum no. E.721-1993
The first Underground map to combine lines run by several companies was published in 1907. This version follows the style of the 1908 issue with its attractive 'tiled' logo. The map seems geographically accurate when compared to Henry Beck's scheme , but in fact the Metropolitan line has been flattened to accommodate the text box.
London Underground Pocket maps
Emma Kay (born 1961), 2003
© Emma Kay / London Underground Limited
David Shrigley (born 1968), 2005
© David Shrigley / London Underground Limited
Yinka Shonibare (born1962), 2006
© Yinka Shonibare / London Underground Limited
Offset lithography on paper
Published by Transport for London
Given by Platform for Art
Each of these free pocket-sized tube maps has a cover commissioned by Platform for Art for London Underground. To explore ideas about mapping and route-finding, the artists used the colours of the lines from the classic tube map devised by Henry Beck (also in this section). Emma Kay turned the lines into a series of concentric circles, suggesting a tube tunnel. David Shrigley drew the lines as a confused tangle, to be magically clarified and organised when one unfolds the map. Yinka Shonibare's design reflects London's multicultural population and its heritage as the capital of an empire which once spanned 5 continents; he used the Peters projection (1974) which represents the true relative surface areas of each country.
Henry Beck (1901-74)
London Underground map
Lithograph on paper
Museum no. E.816-1979
Given by Ken Garland Esq
Henry Beck's London Underground map is the most famous transport map in the world, and an icon of 20th-century London. Beck was an unemployed engineer when he first devised the map. Prioritising the relationships between the lines and stations, rather than geographical accuracy, he used a method that recalls electrical circuit systems.
Sam Buxton (born 1972)
Invitation to the Annual Pyramid Awards
Laser-cut and chemical-milled stainless steel
Museum no. E.3179-2007
Given by Abraham Thomas
© Sam Buxton
Product designer Sam Buxton's folding models use processes derived from the manufacture of electrical components. Here he has re-created in miniature the neighbourhood of The Circus Space, in London, the venue for the Deutsche Bank's 15th anniversary celebration and Annual Pyramid Awards for innovation and enterprise in the arts.
Petition form against hospital closures
Colour offset lithograph on paper
Museum no. E.78-1988
Given by Charles Newton
This card adapts the familiar format of the London Underground map for a petition against proposed hospital closures. Punning on the slang phrase 'going down the tube', it replaces the names of certain stations with those of hospitals under threat.
Simon Patterson (born 1967)
'The Great Bear' (detail)
Lithograph on paper, in steel frame
Museum no. E.1842-1992
© Simon Patterson
This print replicates the iconic London Underground map in type, layout and even the steel frame as used in stations. But the station names have been replaced by the names of well known people from various spheres of activity. As the title suggests, the map has been wittily reinvented as a constellation of 'stars' in the galaxy of fame.