A LOT happened between 1900 and 1999 for the Tube; it gained a lot more lines, the roundel and even a map that actually made sense.
Along came proper planning and integration which shaped the network into what we recognise and still very much use today.
ALBERT STANLEY (1874- 1948)
The creator of 'London Transport' 1st Baron Ashfield, TD, PC, born Albert Henry Knattriess, was a British-American businessman who was managing director, then chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London from 1910 to 1933 and chairman of the London Passenger Transport Board from 1933 to 1947.
Alfred Harmsworth (1865-1922)
CHARLES HOLDEN (1875 – 1960)
An English architect who made significant contributions to the design of London's transport infrastructure in the early 20th century. He is best known for his iconic designs of London Underground stations, including the Grade II listed stations at; Arnos Grove, Cockfosters, and Sudbury Town.
Holden's style was characterized by its simplicity, functionality, and use of modern materials, and his designs helped to shape the visual identity of the London Underground system as we know it today.
ROBERT HOPE SELBIE (1868 - 1930)
Ran the Metropolitan Railway from 1908 until his death, marketing it using the Metro-land brand.
He was secretary of the Metropolitan Railway from 1903, general manager from 1908, appointed a director of MRCE in 1919, and became a director in 1922 and introduced Pullman carriages on the Aylesbury line trains.
His CBE was obtained during World War I for his services to the Board of Trade, the Road Transport Board and the Army Forage Committee.
EDWARD JOHNSON (1872–1944)
Typographer and printer, who also worked as an art director for the London Underground. He designed the typeface used in the London Underground map from 1936 to 1943, which became known as 'Johnston Sans'.
Born the son of a clergyman, and after graduating from Oxford University he became a tutor. He soon began to explore his interest in typography, which led him to work at the British Museum.
He eventually moved back home and opened his own press in London. Although he produced many books and pamphlets, he is best known for his work as a typographer for the London underground system—he created posters, maps, signage, and other materials that were used by passengers on the tube trains.
Johnson wrote several books including A Dictionary of Terms Used in Printing (1810), The Art of Printing (1813), and The Art of Printing Improved (1817).
Stanley Heaps (1880-1962)
Heaps cut his teeth as assistant to Leslie Green and left an indelible mark on the London Underground during the early 20th century. Heaps is best known for designing several iconic Underground stations, including Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden. His architectural vision blended functionality with aesthetics, creating spaces that continue to serve as transportation hubs while preserving their historical charm. Stanley Heaps' contributions to the London Underground remain a testament to his enduring influence on urban architecture and transportation infrastructure in the heart of the British capital.
FRANK PICK (1878-1941)
Transport administrator and designer who played a significant role in shaping the visual identity of London's public transport system in the early 20th century. He was instrumental in commissioning the iconic London Underground map, as well as introducing the use of the Johnston typeface and the roundel logo. Pick believed that good design was essential for efficient and accessible transport, and his legacy can still be seen in the recognizable branding of London's transportation network today. He deeply understood mass marketing and communication and turned London's transport system into an internationally recognised brand.
HARRY BECK (1902 – 1974)
In 1933 Harry Beck presented the first diagram of the Underground map as we know it today. He based his design on an electrical circuit instead of drawing the Tube lines exactly where they were geographically. A test run of around 500 copies were distributed from a handful of stations in 1932, after which 700,000 copies were printed in 1933. They were an instant success and more maps needed to be ordered within just a month. The design of the map would be tweaked over the years but remains faithful to the original principles and design.
Christian Barman (1898-1980)
A textile designer born in Belgium, Barman worked for London Underground during the 1930s and 1940s under Frank Pick. He is best known for commissioning and part designing the iconic moquette fabric that is used on the seats of the Tube and other public transport in London. Barman's moquette designs were characterized by their bold colours and abstract patterns, and they helped to create a unique visual identity for the London Underground. Today, moquette remains an important part of the Tube's design, and many of Barman's original designs are still in use.
ENID MARX (1902-1998)
ARTIST & DESIGNER
Marx designed a variety of items for the Tube, including seat fabrics, posters, and signage. Her designs were characterized by bold colours and geometric shapes, and she often drew inspiration from nature and folk art. Marx's work helped to create a cohesive and recognizable aesthetic for the London Underground, and her legacy continues to influence contemporary design.
WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874 – 1965)
During World War II, Winston Churchill used the London Underground tunnels as a secret bunker to conduct meetings and plan military strategies. He even had a bedroom installed in the bunker.
Churchill's connection to the underground continued after the war, as he was a strong advocate for the expansion of the London Underground system, believing it was essential for the growth and development of the city.
Dell was involved in the automation of all aspects of the Tube throughout the 1950s/ and 60s creating many 'World first' developments, and all without the aid of computers.
Renowned for designing the innovative Victoria line automatic train control/ and operation system as part of his role of chief signal engineer to the London Transport Board.
William Sebastian Graff-Baker (1889-1952)
William Sebastian Graff-Baker, B.Sc. (Eng.), served as the chief mechanical engineer of the London Passenger Transport Board, dedicating his entire professional career to London's railways. After his education at Colet Court St. Paul's School, Johns Hopkins University, and City and Guilds of London Technical College, where he graduated in engineering in 1910, he joined the Metropolitan District Railway.
Starting as an engineering cadet, Graff-Baker progressed through the ranks, becoming assistant mechanical engineer in 1921 and eventually chief mechanical engineer in 1935 until his death in 1952 at age sixty-two. During World War II, he contributed to tank production as deputy director-general at the Ministry of Supply.
Graff-Baker's tenure witnessed innovations, including new tube rolling stock, "Metadyne"-controlled shallow line stock, and advanced lifts and escalator designs. He authored a paper on "Considerations on Bogie Design with Particular Reference to Electric Railways" presented in 1952. His diverse contributions left a lasting impact on the railway industry.
'Mind the gap!' First coined by Minnie Smith, a 61-year-old platform attendant working at Charing Cross and recorded by sound engineer Peter Lodge in 1969. An actor was originally hired to voice the recording, but royalties were expected, and as the announcement would be played thousands of times a day this simply was not financially viable so Peter made the recordings himself until someone more suited could be found. Over the years, the message has now been recorded by many different people including famously actor Oswald Laurence for the Northern Line.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II (1926-2022)
Queen Elizabeth II had several connections to the London Underground throughout her life. In 1939, she made her first public appearance by riding the tube with her sister Princess Margaret and their mother to visit the children evacuated during World War II. In 1969, she opened the Victoria line, the first new line on the London Underground in over 50 years. Additionally, the Jubilee line was named in honour of her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Today, the Queen's connections to the London Underground remain an important part of the system's history and (although strictly an underground railway and not a tube) Crossrail was re-named 'the Elizabeth Line' in her honour.
Anthony Bull (1908-2004)
Innovative engineer who played a significant role in the development of network. He was responsible for the design and construction of several key stations, including Canary Wharf, North Greenwich, and Waterloo, which are known for their innovative design and use of modern materials. Bull's contributions to the London Underground were characterized by his commitment to sustainability, safety, and accessibility, and his legacy can still be seen in the modern, efficient stations that serve millions of passengers every day.
ALBERT EDWARD ELLIS (1886-1960)
Pictured working on the northern extension of the Piccadilly Line (circa late 1920s), between Manor House and Finsbury Park. Albert earns his place proudly representing thousands of hard working construction workers who toiled tirelessly in tough conditions, building the Tube's many underground tunnels to make it all possible. Spare a thought for Albert and his colleagues when you travel through the tunnels he built over a hundred years ago.