10 Map Tales

These maps have a story attached. Come with us and discover their tales...

Underground map 1908 (1908-01-01)TfL Corporate Archives

First Combined Underground Map

Before 1906, the individual railway companies produced their own maps and there was no combined map of the various lines. 

This 1908 map represents the first to feature all lines with equal emphasis.
It's also the first to use the Underground logo!

Metropolitan Railway and Connections 1920 (Back) (1920) by Metropolitan RailwayTfL Corporate Archives

Fiercely Independent

Whilst the other lines were becoming part of the Underground Electric Railways Company, the Metropolitan Railway remained independent, as this map from 1920 makes clear!
In 1933, it was made to join the network and became part of the London Passenger Transport Board.

Underground Map 1922, 1922-03-01, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
Map of the Underground Railways of London, 1927-01-01, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
Harry Beck's sketch for the Underground map, 1931-01-01, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
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Showing the River Thames on the tube map gives a quick indication of whether you're north or south of the River. Many early maps showed the river, but when Macdonald Gill produced his calligraphic map in 1921 he removed it. The river wasn't reinstated until Fred Stingemore took on the map design. Harry Beck's initial sketch for his iconic tube map shows the river was considered a key feature. In 2009, the Thames was again removed from the map sparking complaints - within 3 months it reappeared!

Tramways and Trolleybuses - Road Reinstatement, London Transport Executive, 1951, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
Conversion of Tramway to Oil Bus Operation, London Transport Executive, 1951, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
Trolleybus and Tram Map, London Transport Executive, 1950-12-31, From the collection of: TfL Corporate Archives
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In March 1861, a tram ran for the 1st time on London’s streets – it was a 2-horse tram with room for 32 passengers. By 1933, over 167 miles of tramway operated within the London area. In the 1930s trolleybuses began to replace trams, and in turn these were replaced by motor buses. In July 1952, London’s last trams ran. The map on the right is one of the last to be produced for trams and attention switched to removing track and readying the roads for buses, as shown in the other 2 maps above

Underground Map 1965 (1965-06-15) by London Transport BoardTfL Corporate Archives

Bottling It!

In 1962, Paul Garbutt responded to criticism of a then current version of the Underground map by creating a new design, restoring the map's curves in a style more in keeping with Harry Beck's original

Garbutt's map also created the 'bottle' shape of the Circle line

Bus Star Map (1989-06-15) by London Regional TransportTfL Corporate Archives

Star before Spider

In 1988-1991 a new style of bus map was considered. 20 years before todays Bus Spider Maps, a ‘Star Map’ was developed and trialled

Findings from the trial fed into the modern day spider maps, which appeared in 2002

Fares Fair Leaflet (1981-06-15) by London Regional TransportTfL Corporate Archives

Creating Zones

In 1981 a zonal system was introduced for bus and tube fares for the first time 
Forming the foundation of the present zonal system, there were originally 6 zones – 4 for buses, and 2 for tubes (City and West End)

Map showing Docklands Light Railway Existing, Future and Under Construction Stations (1997-06-15) by London Regional TransportTfL Corporate Archives

To Docklands and Beyond

The Docklands Light Railway opened in 1987. It's the part of our rail network that undergone the most rapid extensive expansion. This map is the best map for seeing that.
Just 4 years after opening, a further 18 stations and 3 extensions were either underway or being considered!

Underground map June 2000 (2000-06-01)TfL Corporate Archives

A Sea Change

This pocket tube index of stations (with map on reverse) may seem standard, but it's actually the first to have been produced by Transport for London!
TfL came into being on 1 July 2000, taking on the responsibilities of all its predecessor companies and gaining even more.

Olympic Route Network and Paralympic Route Network (2012-03-01)TfL Corporate Archives

Olympic and Paralympic Route Network (ORN and PRN)

The (ORN) was a network of existing roads connecting competition and non-competition venues
109 miles of roads in London and the surrounds needed to be mapped and managed to enable road based events to take place safely. This job fell to TfL

Credits: Story

Story compiled by TfL using information in records at the Transport for London Corporate Archives. The Corporate Archives seeks to preserve and make accessible records, not to interpret them. A wider range of material is available for physical consultation.

Permission is granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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