Like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames, the London Underground map is one of the most emblematic and iconic symbols of London. But when and how exactly did this world-renowned icon of the British capital materialise?
The London Underground map was first drawn up in 1931 by Harry Beck, an employee of the London Tube service. The map wasn’t, however, an instant hit with Beck’s superiors because the map possessed no features or any of the streets of London.
There also wasn’t any scale on map. The stations were equally divided along the route and were depicted by a diamond if there was an intersection and a circle for an ordinary station. In fact the whole map was drawn up as an electrical schematic would have been.
Although in the perusing years, it was the simplicity of the Beck’s map that contributed to the popularity and success of what is now one of the most of recognisable emblems of London.
Despite Beck’s bosses being fairly unimpressed, a trial run for the map was made in 1933 and it immediately proved to be popular with the public. So we can say that the map, although is has evolved albeit modestly over time in order to keep pace with new lines and stations, has been around in this simplistic and easy to use format for eighty years.
Love him or loath him, one cannot deny that Boris Johnson is one recognisable mayor. His mop of blonde hair gives Boris the look of a sixties pop-star or Californian surfer rather than Mayor of London. Asides running London, Boris Johnson is an author of books and writes a regular column for the daily Telegraph, for which he receives of rather tidy sum of £250,000 a year.
Boris Johnson was born in New York in 1964 to fairly well-to-do parents. In fact his whole family tree is filled with well known and well off types, such as Boris’s 8th cousin, Prime Minister David Cameron and being an alleged descendent of king George 11!
Boris is a writer and speaker who uses extremely flamboyant and colourful prose. Who could forget his Olympic torch acceptance speech in Beijing, when he waffled on about “ping pong” returning home!
The major is a big fan of the bicycle and is often seen on his bike riding to work, undoubtedly being influential in the increasing popularity of cycling in the capital in recent years. In fact, Boris has dedicated a lot time promoting the bicycle as the best form of transport for Londoners and many roads have been made safer for cyclists in London through the mayor’s policies.
One of the funniest moments during the Olympics was when Mayor Johnson rode high above a crowd on a zip wire. Somehow Boris lost all momentum and the hapless mayor was left dangling above the crowd for several minutes with two union jack flags in his hands.
The unfazed mayor turned this misfortune into a bit of showmanship, coolly chatting with the ever increasing crowd down below. David Cameron said that for most MP’s the incident would have been disastrous but for Boris Johnson it turned into a triumph!
The Barclays sponsored Superhighways For Bicycles scheme has had a certain amount of success in terms of an increase in numbers of bicycles which are using the superhighways in London on a daily basis. There is a downside however to the scheme, as the number of accidents involving bicycles has also increased.
The latest plans to extend superhighway 2, include approximately ten places where the cycleway cuts into the pavement around bus stop areas, enabling the cyclist to overtake the stationary bus on the pedestrian side of the bus without having to swing out into the traffic lane, which should make for afe cycling in London.
Superhighway 2 currently runs from Bow to Aldgate and the intention is to increase its length by another 1.5 kilometres to Stafford. Ben Plowden of London Transport commented on the extension in a press statement:
“This new design is more robust and intelligent than before and huge improvements have been made along the route”
The Superhighway bike scheme has generally received widespread support in London with 80% of cyclists who use the Superhighways believing that overall safe cycling in London has been significantly improved.
Pumping groundbreaking music into the Brixton night air – The Kaiser Chiefs at London’s Brixton Academy!
Formed in Leeds in 1996, the Kaiser Chiefs have been one of the most succesful new British bands of the 21st century. The band’s debut album in 2005 sold three million copies and was short-listed for the Mercury prize. In 2006 the band won three Brit awards for their punky-style brand of rock/pop music. Snappy catchy sing along tunes are the flagship of this highly thought of young Yorkshire pop group.
The Kaiser Chiefs London gig 2013 is on Friday 1st March 2013, this catchy British band will be playing at London’s Brixton Academy. This atmospheric music venue is one of London’s best-loved entertainment facilities, that combines a music venue, nightclub and theatre.
Located in the recently ‘trendified’ Brixton, the Brixton Academy has seen many an inspiring, adored and sell-out artist thrill their audience with ground-breaking showmanship since the venue opened in 1983.
Although the Brixton Academy’s history dates back much further than the early 1980s. In 1929, the venue opened as a theatre and cinema and was known as an “Astoria” theatre. Part of the Academy’s appeal is that is still has many of the original features of the “Astoria” in tact, such as its Art Deco interior and the proscenium arch.
There is talk of a ‘driverless’ tube network, and where would be pioneering such a bold and innovatory move – why London of course!
According to a press statement recently released by the London Assembly, the drive towards underground trains that could literally drive themselves would not happen until 2020, at the earliest.
The introduction of driverless trains in London is initially dependent on securing funding and would then require a full analysis that would take into consideration points such as design modifications, staffing, and, of course, passenger safety.
The Mayor of London has unveiled plans to introduce automatic train control, which is already in place on certain underground lines, to 48% of tube trains by the end of 2014, stating that he wishes London to “pave the way” for the first ‘driverless’ train to be run within a decade. The Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines are already semi-automatic, although all of the London Underground network currently has drivers on board.