London Underground: 153 Today

Thanks to Twitter I discovered that today is the 153rd anniversary of the London Underground. The first passenger trains ran on 10th January 1863 between Paddington and Faringdon on what is now the Metropolitan Line. To celebrate the birthday of the world’s first underground railway, here are some links to posts and articles celebrating the history of the Tube.


Image: GWR broad gauge Metropolitan class locomotive, as used in the 1860s [Wikimedia Commons, public domain]

The Birth of London’s Underground by Adam Wood at Casebook: Jack the Ripper describes the origins of the Underground and traces the history of the Metropolitan, District and Circle Lines through to electrification in 1905.

Transport for London’s A Brief History of the Underground gives a timeline of its first 150 years, and the Telegraph has a pictorial history of the Tube.

If you are intrigued by lost stations take a look Disused Stations on London’s Underground by Hywel Williams at Underground History. I can’t believe that in the many times I have travelled between Tottenham Court Road and Holbon on the Central Line I have never noticed the British Museum “ghost” station, though  I do remember using the shuttle service to Aldwych station before it closed in 1994. You can also play with jigsaw puzzle versions of pictures of some former stations and abandoned platforms.


Image: Aldwych Station in use as a shelter, 1940 [Imperial War Museums HU44272 under IWM Non-Commercial Licence]

In 2013 the Independent published 150 facts for 150 years of the London Tube. A couple of snippets to whet your appetite … It is common knowledge that Underground stations were used as bomb shelters in World War II, but in 1917 as many as 300,000 people were sheltering in Tube stations to avoid German bombing raids; the original recording of “Mind the gap” was made in 1968 by Peter Lodge; and Farringdon Station is said to be haunted by the ghost of a dead milliner, Annie Naylor, known as the Screaming Spectre.



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