Edwardian London Underground Station MapSKU: 9347
Edwardian London Underground Station Map
Date of publication:
101 x 150.5 cm
[Map of London Underground lines with links to mainline termini]
A Map Mystery Unfolded
Un-titled, undated and without a printer, this exceptionally scarce early poster was created for display in stations, but establishing which ones presents a challenge. We can date it with reasonable confidence to 1906, or perhaps a fraction earlier.
Our map predates the western extension of the Central London Railway to Wood Lane, which opened for the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908. Angel is still shown as the terminus of the City & South London Railway, but the western extension to Euston, which opened in May 1907, is under construction. The use of a green border appears to be a nod to the successful series of green-bordered UERL (Underground Group) maps, but as those were introduced in 1907 it might be the other way around. Another unusual design feature is the two tone shading (in line colours) of the names of interchange stations, such as ‘The Bank’. The Bakerloo Line, which opened in March 1906, appears to be shown as a thin dotted black line, but as it was owned by the rival UERL its use for dating purposes cannot be guaranteed: this is most emphatically not a UERL map.
Just three underground lines are highlighted, none of which was under the UERL umbrella in 1906: The Central London Railway, the City & South London Railway and the Great Northern & City Railway (the first two purchased by the UERL and the latter by the Metropolitan Railway, all in 1913). Two mainline companies are featured: the Great Northern Railway with its terminus at Finsbury Park and the Great Western Railway, which served Paddington. Of these two, the GWR is far more prominent, with an inset showing the route to Reading. The map promotes travel across London using the highlighted routes at the expense of all others, including the UERL: all are razor thin, black and unobtrusive with no further differentiation between underground, mainline and suburban services, and seemingly haphazard naming of stations. It seems likely that our map was a joint response by three of the independent underground railway companies to the growing power of the UERL, possibly in co-operation with the GWR, and was created for display in any of their stations. We have been unable to locate another example.
Condition & Materials
Edwardian station map, approx 40 x 60 inches (this example 101 x 150.5 cm), printed in colours, some restoration with small areas of loss along the folds made good, blank verso