Beck’s 1933 Passenger Map in GuidebookSKU: 9434
A first edition of the famous diagram from January 1933
Beck’s diagram is one of the most innovative and influential designs of the twentieth century, and he was responsible for revising and updating it over most of the next three decades. Read more
Note the diamond interchange stations, and the cautious note on the cover: 'A new design for an old map. We should welcome your comments'. The London Underground was already sixty years old when Beck’s schematic map appeared, and although underground mapping had evolved considerably over the years the travelling public may have been expected to resist any map which was not more or less geographically accurate. The diagram was an instant success, reprinted within a month.
Our example is still tipped into a copy of Findlay Muirhead’s ‘Short Guide to London’, printed by Ernest Benn in 1933. For much of the 20th Century, London Transport and its predecessors seem to have been happy to distribute quantities of the official map at no charge to commercial publishers to be bound into guide books. Presumably it was seen as free advertising. Some were the standard issue with text on the verso, as distributed to passengers; some were the normal issue but supplied flat, and folded differently to fit the format of the book; some were special guide book issues, supplied with a blank verso. Many have been removed from their original context over time – it is getting harder to find them in situ like this.
Condition & Materials
The first published edition of Beck's diagram, a three panel passenger map dated January 1933, 15.5 x 22.5 cm, printed in colours, a couple of trivial spots on covers, printed on paper; card and paper issues were printed simultaneously: card folders to be given away at stations, and a paper version for inclusion in guide books, as here.
The guidebook is bound in blue cloth with some wear to front cover, no dustwrapper. Read less