Of course it’s all over the news; the Metropolitan Railway opened the first underground railway to the public 150 years ago today!

Splashed across newspapers and news websites are old photographs of the Directors’ first journey (on the 9th) and photos showing the golden streets of Old London Town covered with mud, ripped open by navvies to insert brick-lined tunnels like veins and arteries under the great city.  Ghosts of the past, every one of them.

Being a contrary sort of fellow I thought I’d do something different.  Here then is an illustration from August 1893 that appeared in The English Illustrated Magazine as part of a series of articles entitled The Romance of Modern London. In this article  ‘RW’ describes vividly a footplate trip on the Inner Circle.  The artist is Fred T. Jane, and is one of 13 published with the original text.  If there’s much interest I may occasionally reproduce the rest, or even the original text.

Praed Street, 1893 by Fred T Jane.

Praed Street, 1893 by Fred T Jane.

I love the stylised,  futuristic idealism in the representation of the buildings towering over the cutting – it’s almost Fritz Lang meets Flash Gordon.  The location is one of the air lungs near Praed Street.