Tuesday, 22 March 2011

1908 and the London Underground

The 1908 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Italy, but after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, they were transferred to London and held at the newly built White City Stadium.

But it wasn't the only big event in London in 1908. The Franco-British exhibition, also held at White City, attracted 8 million visitors.

London is no stranger to large events, and the London Underground has always played a big part.

Scroll forward to 2011 and all the preparations for next year's Olympics in London, along with the city's extensive new Crossrail Link. Scroll back and it's interesting to note the numbers of 'missing' Tube stations that have closed during the 103 years between 1908 and now.

White City, which opened as Wood Lane (Exhibition) Station on May 1st 1908, temporarily closed between 1914 and 1920, then reopened at Wood Lane (White City) before being renamed White City on November 23rd 1947, before finally closing on October 25th 1959. It wasn't until 2003 however, that the last remnants of the station building were demolished.

In contrast to today's Tube map, the one above for 1908 looks barely recognisable from Harry Beck's 1931 diagrammatic version still in use today. In 1908 the Northern Line hadn't yet made it further than Golder's Green and Highgate and, looking closely, it's easy to see that many of the old stations are gone...

For example, York Road and Down Street (on the old, yellow Piccadilly line); Chancery Lane and British Museum (on the old, blue Central line); and South Kentish Town (on the Hampstead, now the Northern line).

The Tube has an extraordinary legacy of engineering, architecture and innovation, and it is this legacy that The Old London Underground Company is working towards revitalising, planning to utilise an extraordinary resource for the benefit of Londoners and its visitors.

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