Pearson’s Proposal for an Atmospheric Underground Railway


Proposed plan for improving the City of London, by effecting a junction, by means of branch lines, between the centre of the City and the several railways north of the Thames, as suggested in 1833, 1837 and 1845 by Mr Charles Pearson when a member of the Common Council

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Pearson’s Proposal for an Atmospheric Underground Railway


PEARSON, Charles


WYLD [the younger], James

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Printed Area Measurements

49 x 57 cm [sheet size]

Full Description

Lithographed street plan, sheet size 49 x 57 cm, original hand colour, a couple of closed tears, blank verso.

This map illustrates an early proposal for an underground railway in the City, terminating at Farringdon Station, championed by City Solicitor Charles Pearson. Had it been built, this would have been an atmospheric railway using compressed air to push trains through tunnels, but the 1846 Royal Commission on Metropolitan Railway Termini rejected the plans.

Pearson remained an active lobbyist and fundraiser for the project, and Farringdon Station eventually opened in 1863 as the terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first passenger-carrying underground railway. The map refers to to the railway being carried in a ‘sub way’, and OED connects Pearson with the earliest use of subway in the context of underground railways (1851). OCLC 556390825, copy located in British Library only.