Folding pictorial passenger map, 51.5 x 76 cm, printed on colours, blank verso. An unusual issue of the map, which generally has a detailed description of the exhibition printed on the verso, here left blank; it may have been intended for station display.
The British Empire Exhibition was, at the time, the largest exhibition staged anywhere in the world; a high profile, postwar statement of confidence in the future of Empire, it attracted 27 million visitors. The focus of the map is the layout of the exhibition itself, with its pavilions for the dominions and colonies, the vast palaces of industry and engineering, and the newly built Wembley stadium. Via a specially constructed loop line which ran from Marylebone, this feeds into a cleverly designed schematic diagram of the Underground network, centred on Trafalgar Square, ‘the heart of the Empire’. North was an artist, illustrator, picture restorer, socialist, folk dancer and general bohemian. Calligraphically he seems to have been inspired by MacDonald Gill, who had been designing the Underground map since 1920. The layout may have been influenced by the design of Metropolitan Railway carriage panels of the period, which are not dissimilar.