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Graphic History

THE LONDON UNDERGROUND

ILLUSTRATION: EDWARD CROOKS/WWW.EDWARDCROOKS.CO.UK, ALAMY X1

The London Underground is one of the most vital components of the UK’s capital, connecting all areas of the vast metropolis, as well as having the distinction of being the oldest metro system in the world. Its first vehicles were steam locomotives, but now electric trains run along the 11 lines, transporting 1.35 billion passengers a year. Its introduction in 1863 revolutionised the way that Londoners moved around the city condensing journeys that once would have taken more than an hour down to mere minutes. It would be a while before it became a smooth and streamlined journey however. On the completion of the Circle line in 1884, the journey was described by The Times as “a form of mild torture which no person would undergo if he could conveniently help it”. What was once a group of separate railways became a giant rail network across the city and it wasn’t long before underground railways began to be constructed across the world.

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About BBC History Revealed

William Shakespeare had humble beginnings – how did he transform into England’s greatest playwright? We explore how the ‘upstart crow’ became so widely celebrated. Plus: The mysterious assassins of the medieval Muslim world are explored, we dig into the diaries of Samuel Pepys and take a look at the life of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians.