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London Underground Map

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1933 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beck, Harry, born 1901 - died 1974 (designer)
    Waterlow & Sons Ltd (printer)
    London Passenger Transport Board (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ken Garland Esq.

  • Museum number:

    E.816-1979

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf 10B

Henry Beck's map of the London Underground Railway is the most famous transport map in the world, and an icon of 20th-century London. Beck was an unemployed engineer when he first devised the map. His design was inspired by electrical circuit diagrams and uses only vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. In designing this map, Beck ignored geographical accuracy and chose instead to emphasize the connections and interchanges between the different lines and stations. This resulted in a map which is misleading about the distances between individual stations, but is very clear and easy to use for those undertaking a journey on the system. The map was so successful that it has remained unchanged (apart from the addition of new lines and stations) since it was first devised in 1933. The original sketch for the map is also in the collection (E.814-1979).

Physical description

A small poster map showing the London Underground Railway network in diagrammatic form.

Place of Origin

London (printed and published)

Date

1933 (printed and published)

Artist/maker

Beck, Harry, born 1901 - died 1974 (designer)
Waterlow & Sons Ltd (printer)
London Passenger Transport Board (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Dimensions

Height: 14.1 cm, Width: 20.2 cm

Descriptive line

Lithograph, 2nd edition print of Henry Beck's London Underground Map; produced for the LPTB, 1933

Labels and date

Henry Beck's London Underground map is the most famous transport map in the world, and an icon of twentieth-century London. In 1931, the unemployed engineer took inspiration from electrical circuit systems to express clarity in relationships rather than geographical accuracy. [2007]

Subjects depicted

Railway; Map

Categories

Prints; Transport; Maps

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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