It’s difficult to imagine life in London without the tube network that enables hundreds of thousands of people to make the journey from home to work and back again each day.
On 9 January 1863 the world’s first underground train pulled out of Paddington station to make its first passenger journey - 3½-miles under the streets of London to Farringdon using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives.
The original Underground line was built and financed by the Metropolitan Railway, a private company which had been formed in 1854 to undertake the project to link the mainline stations at Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross with the City centre business district to the east.
Travelling on the new railway was a novelty that thousands of Londoners were eager to experience and on the first day of public service – long queues formed at every station. The line was a huge success with 26,000 passengers using the railway each day in the first six months.
This December, London Transport Museum continues to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Underground by telling some of the stories of the tube that have shaped the service that we know today. Tales of the Tube is a series of archive films detailing the tube’s colourful history, including the first ever public showing of how the Jubilee Line was built.
Deep below the streets of London, the disused platforms and tunnels of Aldwych Underground Station make a fascinating study. Usually closed to the public, the station, which opened in 1907 was never used as widely as intended, and closed nearly 100 years later in 1994. During its history the station provided shelter to Londoners during the blitz and numerous films were shot there including ‘Patriot Games’ and ‘Atonement’.
Next: London’s Changing Season
Previous: The Heron, 5 Moor Lane, London, EC2Y 9AP
Articles By Month