30 Vintage Photos of the London Underground From Between the 1910s and 1930s

The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground, or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground passenger railway. Opened on 10 January 1863, it is now part of the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. The first line to operate underground electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway in 1890, is now part of the Northern line. The network has expanded to 11 lines, and in 2020/21 was used for 296 million passenger journeys, making it the world’s 12th busiest metro system. The 11 lines collectively handle up to 5 million passenger journeys a day and serve 272 stations.

The system’s first tunnels were built just below the ground, using the cut-and-cover method; later, smaller, roughly circular tunnels—which gave rise to its nickname, the Tube—were dug through at a deeper level. The system serves 272 stations and has 250 miles (400 km) of track. Despite its name, only 45% of the system is under the ground: much of the network in the outer environs of London is on the surface. In addition, the Underground does not cover most southern parts of Greater London, and there are only 33 stations south of the River Thames.

The early tube lines, originally owned by several private companies, were brought together under the “UndergrounD” brand in the early 20th century, and eventually merged along with the sub-surface lines and bus services in 1933 to form London Transport under the control of the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB). The current operator, London Underground Limited (LUL), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for the transport network in London. As of 2015, 92% of operational expenditure is covered by passenger fares. The Travelcard ticket was introduced in 1983 and Oyster card, a contactless ticketing system, in 2003. Contactless bank card payments were introduced in 2014, the first public transport system in the world to do so.

The LPTB commissioned many new station buildings, posters and public artworks in a modernist style. The schematic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a national design icon in 2006 and now includes other TfL transport systems such as the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, TfL Rail, and Tramlink. Other famous London Underground branding includes the roundel and the Johnston typeface, created by Edward Johnston in 1916. (Wikipedia)

Hammersmith Broadway, 1910.
The interior of a District Line Underground carriage, 1911.
The ticket hall of Liverpool Street Station, 1912.
The platform of the Central London Railway extension at Liverpool Street Station, 1912.
Interior of an all-steel London underground train, circa 1920.
A man writing on a complaints poster, 1922.
Farringdon Street (Farringdon) Station in March 1924.
The entrance to Blackfriars Underground station, 1924.
Clapham South, 1926.
London tram workers queue up for their pay at the tram subway in Kingsway, High Holborn, 1926.
An underground train being transported on wheels through the streets of London, 1926.
The Mayor of Westminster turns on the escalators at Piccadilly Circus in 1928.
British director Anthony Asquith (1902-1968), right, directing his new film ‘Underground’ from an escalator on the London underground, May 1928.
Construction work at the ticketing area of the new Piccadilly tube station, 1928.
The Hon Anthony Asquith filming commuters for his film of the underground, 1928.
Platforms are lengthened at Euston Square underground station, 1930.
A passenger takes a ticket from the machine at Piccadilly Circus, 1930.
A traveller buys a London Underground season ticket from a vending machine at Highgate Station, 1932.
Passengers on an escalator, September 1932. The posts were erected to avoid a crush during rush hours.
Leicester Square, 1933.
A group of Sikh men outside the entrance to Hyde Park Corner, circa 1935.
New interiors in 1936: more seating, better lighting and ventilation and a more streamlined shape.
A passenger opening one of the doors on the Hammersmith and City Underground Line, which have been fitted with new buttons for opening and closing doors, 1936.
London’s Charing Cross Road with the Hippodrome and Leicester Square station on the left, 1938.
The entrance to Embankment, 1938.
A strike causes huge queues to build up at the bus stops outside Liverpool Street, 1939.
Stockwell station, 1939.
City gents, 1939.
A guard outside a station which has been closed to the public two days after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, 5th September 1939.
People asleep on the platform of Holborn underground station during an air raid, 1940.

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