Friday, January 18, 2013

London Underground History 150 Years Old

From UK Telegraph

First, just a reminder to stop in at my Valentine's Homemade Soap Sachet Giveaway. Don't miss out!

Now, on to the London Underground birthday party:

Excerpts from

'London Underground was formed in 1985, but its history dates back to 1863 when the world's first underground railway opened. 

'Today, London Underground is a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408 km of railway.

 The Tube - somewhere in London

'London has changed a lot since the first stretch of line - the Metropolitan, or Met - opened on 9 January 1863. The first stretch measured six kilometres (nearly four miles) and ran between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street.

'To build the Met, streets along the route were dug up, tracks laid in a trench, covered with a brick-lined tunnel and the road surface replaced. Known as the 'cut and cover' method, this was quick and effective, but created as many problems as it was designed to solve. It caused congestion during construction and it was abandoned towards the end of the 19th century. By then, however, the Metropolitan was a success, stretching ever further across Middlesex, through Hertfordshire and into Buckinghamshire.

'Other companies were keen to get involved and by Christmas 1868, the Metropolitan District had opened a line between Westminster and South Kensington.

'This linked to a branch line from the original Met and some eastward extensions. These railways completed today's Circle line by 1884.'

Tube Station Sign at Westminster 


'Property-owners thought their buildings would fall as a result of all the excavations taking place. In fact, some of these fears may not have been groundless, for many buildings had to be shored up with timber while the work was in progress.

'Anyone visiting London during 1861 could well see the reason for people’s concern. In the vicinity of King’s Cross, gangs of workmen were furiously digging up the streets. Great yawning holes marked where the road had once been, leaving only a small area over which carriages and pedestrians had to make their way as best they could.

'Some parts of the road were closed completely to allow the men to dig their holes. Once the holes were completed, with the mud piles high on either side, much to the annoyance of pedestrians, the men started shoring the sides of the hole. Then the upper part of the holes was enclosed in a brick arch. Once this was completed, the earth was replaced over the work, the surplus earth carted away, and the road relaid so that everything looked as it had before. But there was one main difference. Eighteen metres below the new road surface lay a long tunnel that stretched between Paddington and Farringdon Street, a distance of about six kilometres.

Tottenham Court Road Tube Station
Cool, huh!

'The person chiefly responsible for this undertaking was Charles Pearson, a city solicitor. Since 1843, he had been suggesting that London should have an underground railway system. He suggested that a trial section should be constructed along the valley of the River Fleet, which had been arched over and converted into a sewer. It would use trains powered by atmospheric pressure. In spite of Pearson’s pleas the plan was never followed up, but he continued to campaign for this new form of transport.

'The idea was not, however, entirely new; for what can possibly be regarded as the first underground railway was started in 1770 at East Kenton Colliery near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The railway, used to carry coal trucks on simple wooden tracks, consisted of a single tunnel, which can lay claim to being the first railway tunnel.'


And here's a great slide show about the history of the London Underground from the UK Telegraph that you won't want to miss. (Well, at least I wouldn't have wanted to miss it.)

Happy Birthday, London Underground! 

My favorite


P.S. Today is the last day to enter our HomemadeSoapNSuch Giveaway! Hurry. Giveaway ends tonight at midnight. Don't procrastinate and turn into a pumpkin!

'English Rose'
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This post is linked to Photo Friday

Have a great weekend, everyone! The winner of the Giveaway will be announced Monday on Cranberry Morning.



Eileen H said...

I'm happy to read your post today. Pleased you are interested in The Tube and it's history.
I'm not sure if you are aware but my son is a station supervisor for London Underground in Central London. As you can imagine he has a very stressful job. I wouldn't do his job for all the tea in China!

Samantha said...

I did read that the original tube trains were steam powered....sounds awful, waiting on the platform in a tunnel with steam and smut and smog hanging around! Thank goodness for electricity now!

MadSnapper said...

thank you so much. i had no idea the tunnels went back that early in time. while we were over here killing each other off in the civil war, they were building this underground railroad. the slide show is amazing....

Terri D said...

An interesting history lesson! I love the mosaic in the last photo you posted. Very 'cool'! I can only imagine the muddy, mucky mess in the streets of London, back when they were digging those tunnels. Oh my!!

J_on_tour said...

A great post with a difference. It's difficult to imagine what the roads would have been like above the tunnelling construction work. Unusually for a rail connoisseur, I have never thought of the history of the tube before, possibly because all the time I'm on it, I either have my hands in my pocket or grasping tightly to a bag :-)

With regards to tunnels, railways etc ... "Carrying coals to Newcastle" haha

Just to let you know, I'm back up and running again with the blog, there's no excuse for me not posting for months.

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

Love the History lesson!! Never knew about the railway and I love to learn new things!!

Ana Love Craft said...

What an absolutely interesting post!Love it and love Covent Garden Station.
Have a great day!
Hugs from Portugal,

Ana Love Craft

laurie said...

Interesting post!

Donna said...

How interesting! And yes, I entered in the giveaway!

Yenta Mary said...

Such a juxtaposition - the old, the new, the slow, the fast, the ancient, the modern ....

Ruth Kelly said...

There are a huge group of followers in England of the steam trains. They love to stay at stations which have been converted into bed and breakfasts. I was mystified by the tube and how to get to where but my daughter had it all figured out so we used it often.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How interesting. I love the mosaic wall and the photos you've captured with lots of lights! Beautiful! Hugs!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Facinating! Loved the slide show.

Chatty Crone said...

Did I ever tell you that I have been to England twice? And I have road the Tube many times. It was awesome. But we stayed in London - if I ever get back I would love to explore the outskirts!! (Thanks to you).

Unknown said...

Oh that was so interesting-thanks.
Have a good weekend

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

So interesting. I had no idea the underground railroads were that old.
Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...

Very interesting.

Ladies Holiday said...

The mosaic in Tottenham court looks like Legos- and I love the old photos- fascinating! THanks for sharing on the Photo Friday Blog hop- have a great weekend!

RURAL said...

That's pretty amazing when you think of them actually building a underground tunnel, and it's still working.



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