Happy 150th Birthday London Underground


Digital Media
January 9, 2013

150 years ago today, the very first journey on the London Underground took place. On 9th January 1863, a steam train travelled between Paddington and Farringdon and marked the opening of the world’s first underground railway.

The V&A is proud to hold in its collections the original sketch diagram of Henry Beck’s iconic London Underground map, which this year celebrates its 80th anniversary of being available to the public. All versions of the modern map derive from this first rough sketch. It is available for viewing in the Prints and Drawings Study Room.

London Underground Map, Henry Beck, 1931-1933

The Museum holds in its collections a number of other Tube-related objects such as posters:

Poster, Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1930. Museum no. E.1238-1931

A map that predates Beck’s streamlined design:

Poster map, Johnson, Riddle and Co. Ltd, 1909. Museum  no. E.721-1993

And even tiles that were used in stations:

Tile, Carter & Co., About 1939. Museum  no. C.3-1997

More London Underground objects can be explored through Search the Collections.

About the author

Digital Media
January 9, 2013

Former Content Editor in the Digital Media department. I love finding interesting stories and unusual objects hidden in the V&A Collections. I blog about all things digital media, with the...

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