Friday, 24 April 2015

U: Worth it for the map alone

My letter U reason to be cheerful could arguably have gone under the letter T, but at this stage in proceedings I'm intent on getting the job done, so U is for Underground, the subterranean rail system in London.

To be honest the Underground, often known as the Tube, is a bit skanky in places. It's old and some of the stations have seen better days. Also quite a bit of it is above ground, but we don't need to worry about that.

To me it's the Underground and it's a good way of getting round London, particularly if you can avoid rush hour, and it has one absolutely brilliant aspect which is particularly why I chose it for the letter U. The London Underground has one of the best maps ever produced in the history of maps.

I like maps, in fact, my letter M could have been maps, and while there are many superb maps out there which I would never tire of looking at, the Underground map is a masterpiece. The important thing about it is that you understand what it tells you and it doesn't matter in the slightest how that information relates to the physical geography of the city you are travelling around.

This is Transport For London's latest version of the
Underground map. 
There are versions of maps showing the Underground, particularly in its early days, and some of them are quite wonderful, but I'm going to have to avoid giving in to my inner map geek if I am ever to get to the end of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

In some respects the obvious song to go with this posting is Down in the Tube Station at Midnight by The Jam, but it's not the cheeriest of songs. Instead I've gone for The Underground Train Calypso by Lord Kitchener (not the British field marshal). The recording is a bit scratchy, but I like it.

  • Question: Do you like the London Underground  and, in particular, its map or does it leave you feeling you might end up in completely the wrong place and never see daylight again?


  1. As a country mouse, the Underground rather worries me. In fact, the only time the better half and I - who are not given to public displays of affection - hold hands is when I'm hanging on to him for dear life as we negotiate the Tube. Love the Calypso!

  2. The Map is truly a work of art, and if as you say, it is one of the best ever produced would worth a ride through the Tube. Let's just say I'll take your word for it...I'm uncomfortable driving or riding through a tunnel. Luckily there are very few in Texas. Yep, that's where I am, and I did enjoy my trip to your blog.
    Congratulations for making it through the fourth week. I am visiting from Co-Host AJ Lauer’s Team.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

  3. I've never been to London, and probably never will. Will most probably live in Texas till I die. But I can see that the map is very easy to read. I like the use of different colors to help.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

  4. Hi Mark - there was a Lego tube map put up at Kings Cross .. when I went to London one day I went looking for it .. as I was writing about Lego, and tube symbols etc .. and why the different symbols mean ... one's for the people who couldn't read in the early days .. but I do use the tube and admire its connectivity .. cheers Hilary

  5. Hi Mark; Sorry to have missed your posts until now. I remember you from last year. ☺ My father and I visited London in 1969 and we used the Tube almost exclusively to get around. (My "Y" post is about the Youthquake movement and "Swinging London".) We found it to be clean and highly efficient. I don't remember specifics about the map, but I'm sure it was good, even then.


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