Commuting mostly sucks, let’s keep things real here. Hours of your life stuck in a speeding tin can, whistling the length and breadth of London and her neighbouring counties. At worst a journey of delays, armpits and inconsiderate commuters, but, when working well, the Tube is the lifeblood of England’s capital city.
As with anything 150 years old, there are the layers of history that can be found on the myriad lines making up the cantankerous London Underground, with a hidden folklore, mystery and cheeky artwork underlying the most boring commute. You just have to look for them in the right places.
People want to buy undies with the ‘Mind the Gap’ message, eat their underground gourmet dinners on it, make journeys in order to discover secret clocks and fake houses, and endless books and blogs are written espousing the design quirks of many stations.
From ghost stories to weird items left behind on trains (more mannequins than you can shake a stick at), London Underground’s Strangest Tales is a light read, an easily dip in and out collection loosely charting the history – real and urban fiction – of the Tube. We’ve used it as a reference book a few the times that we’ve been stuck out at an obscure train stop in order to entertain ourselves, and as a guide whilst traipsing around London.
And, FYI, this in no way means you’re anorak. Just curious about life.
And if you aren’t a reader, check out the Geoff Marshall’s Secrets of the Underground YouTube video series. Heck, check out them both – you’re probably on the Tube right now!
Have you seen any Tube quirks on your travels? Monkeys on floor tiles, poles painted the colour of local football teams or roundel clocks?