Author Archive

London Underground Picadilly line at Heathrow, 2009

This blog’s author and humble narrator, arriving at Heathrow airport and getting on a Picadilly line train, in the spring of 2009.


London Underground Picadilly line overground poster, 2009

A nice poster showing the true path of the Picadilly line through central London, with overground points of interest indicated.


London Underground “Way out” & connecting line hallway signs, 1998

As you move through the hallways in the London Underground you’re given frequent additional directions to reach the exit or a connecting line.

In many of the other photos in this blog the CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) surveillance cameras are plainly visible. London is one of, the not the most, heavily surveilled cities on earth. “Big Brother is watching.”


London Underground “Way out” & connecting line wall signs, 1998

These yellow and black “Way out” signs, plus directions to connecting lines, are liberally placed along the platforms. They’re conveniently placed directly across and a bit above eye level as you’re exiting a train. One trick when you’re on a train entering a station where you’re going to exit or switch lines is to look out the windows of the train at these signs as the train is slowing and coming to a stop. This lets you know as soon as you step out onto the platform whether to turn left or right to get to the exit or a connecting line.

I’m pretty sure this was on the Picadilly line, at Holborn station.


London Underground modern hanging “Way out” sign, Covent Garden station, 1998

The ubiquitous modern “Way out” sign. Notice in this and in other official modern signage that either all the letters are capitalized, or only the first letter of the first word is capitalized.


London Underground classic “Way Out” sign, 1998

I think this was in Covent Garden station. This sign dates to pre-1916, since it uses a different typeface from the now-iconic one developed by Edward Johnston for the London Underground and put into use that year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnston_(typeface)).

The official London Underground typeface is available from http://www.p22.com/products/london.html. A free version of this typeface can be downloaded from http://www.fontstock.net/10483/london-tube.html.


London Underground local information map, Leicester Square station, 1998

Every station I’ve been to on the London Underground has a Local Information map on the wall near one or more of the exits. There are also printed copies of these maps available near the ticket booths. I’ve brought home a small collection of these maps from most of the stations in and around London’s West End.


London Underground wall map, Leicester Square station, 1998

Large, 50 inch by 40 inch maps are plentiful in the London Underground.

I bought a full-sized copy of the London Underground map, laminated in plastic, at the London Transport Museum gift shop in Covent Garden. I’ve never seen the full-sized maps offered in their online gift shop (http://www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk/), only smaller, poster-sized versions. The online shop does have the shower curtain version, though, which is actually larger than the full-sized map (and omits the advertising at the bottom and top right corner). I got that shower curtain as a thoughtful gift in 2009.


London Underground platform exit, Leicester Square station, 1998

Leicester Square is “cinema land” in London. Notice the tiles resembling movie film sprocket holes, and the archways painted like neon lights.


London Underground long hallway, Tottenham Court Road station, 1998

There are many long and winding hallways in the London Underground, covered floor-to-ceiling with large advertising posters.


London Underground hallway entrance, Tottenham Court Road station, 1998

In constructing the London Underground there were large holes bored out…and there were small holes. This is a typical intersection between the two.

The Tottenham Court Road station green accent color is especially evident, here.


London Underground platform, Northern line, Tottenham Court Road station, 1998

This shot of a platform in Tottenham Court Road station on the Northern line gives a view encompassing the distinctive Tottenham Court Road station mosaic tilework on the left, the green accent lines of the station along the left and right walls and around the tunnel entrance, and the typical elements you’ll find at most platforms: The station name in London Underground roundels, vending machines, emergency call telephones, benches, huge adverts on the wall next to the track, more adverts on most every other vertical surface…and litter. There are no trash bins down in the London Underground, due to fears of bombs being placed in them by terrorist groups (previously the IRA, and now anti-Western extremist groups like al-Qaeda).


London Underground hallway with tiled walls, Tottenham Court Road station, 1998

Each station in the London Underground has distinctive decoration. Tottenham Court Road station is distinguished by the mosaic tilework in many of its halls, and the green accent color in many locations, as seen in other photos here.


London Underground hallway, Tottenham Court Road station, 1998

A shorter hallway in the London Underground.


Welcome!

Down Underground is a blog showcasing a few photos I took down in the London Underground as research for a project.

As yet incomplete, the idea for the project is to apply a London Underground station theme to a hallway in my flat, covering the walls with maps, posters, signs, etc. Since the stations I go through the most when I’m in London are Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square, and others in the West End, those are the ones predominantly featured in these photos.

In the meantime, here’s the images for anyone to use as source material for the look of those halls and train platforms in London that are Down Underground.