London’s 2nd gift to the world

The underground map:

The original map [1] was designed in 1931 by Underground employee Harry Beck, who realised that, because the railway ran mostly underground, the physical locations of the stations were irrelevant to the traveller wanting to know how to get to one station from another — only the topology of the railway mattered. This approach is similar to that of electrical circuit diagrams; while these were not the inspiration for Beck’s diagram, his colleagues pointed out the similarities and he once produced a joke map with the stations replaced by electrical-circuit symbols and names with terminology: “bakelite” for “Bakerloo”, etc. In fact, Beck based his diagram on a similar mapping system for underground sewage systems.

To this end, he devised a vastly simplified map, consisting of only named stations, straight line segments connecting them, and the Thames; lines ran only vertically, horizontally, or at 45 degrees.

The Underground was initially sceptical of his proposal — it was an uncommissioned spare-time project, tentatively introduced it to the public in a small pamphlet. It was immediately popular, and its successor is now used throughout the Underground on poster-sized maps and pocket journey planners.

Thanks Wiki.

Where would the world’s huddled masses be without a decent metro map, huh? There have been many attempts to better Beck’s masterpiece. Indeed below you’ll see what the tube map ‘really’ looks like. However, for many londoners as with caffs the tube map is the way they see the city that has defined what an underground should be.

I give you gift number 2, the Underground map.


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