The iconic map was the work of an obscure draftsman who tried make sense of a complex system that features 250 miles of track and 273 stations. It remains an invaluable tool to the 2.5 million travelers who use the Tube daily.
Beck sketched the first version of the underground map in 1931, ignoring scale and geography. His design was unorthodox for the time and initially rejected.
Works of art by Edward McKnight Kauffer and other modernists favored by London Passenger Transportation Director Frank Pick surrounded Beck. Beck’s true inspiration came from circuit diagrams used by electrical engineers.
The London Underground’s lines expanded during the 1920s and 1930s. The map added to the Tube’s popularity by making remote stations seem closer to the city’s center. Beck refined his design over several years.
Beck’s versions of the map were in use until 1960. Harold Hutchison, the head of publicity at London Transport, attempted to create a replacement map, but his design was scrapped.
Credits: Design Classics: The London Underground Map
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The much-acclaimed and graphically revolutionary London Underground map, the brainchild of London Transport engineering draughtsman Henry Beck, is the subject of this episode.
Length: 25 minutes
Copyright date: ©1987
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.
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