- Gladstone’s coffin travelled to Westminster Abbey in 1898 by Tube. He had been one of the very first people to ride the system, having attended the January 9, 1863 ceremonial opening.
- In 1931, Harry Beck, a draftsman who worked in the Signals Office, began working – in his spare time – on a simplified design for a new map. The map has been in use, with some modifications, for the past 80 years. Beck was paid the equivalent of £6 for his work.
- Jerry Springer’s mother, who fled Nazi Germany for London, reportedly gave birth to the entertainer while seeking refuge from German bombs in the Underground system.
- The Underground installed one of the world’s first public escalators, in the Holloway Road station in 1906, but it proved unworkable. Five years later, when an improved moving staircase was unveiled at Earl’s Court, a one-legged man was employed to ride up and down all day to reassure the public of its safety.
- Sir Edgar Speyer, an American-born financier and philanthropist, was chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London from 1906 to 1915. He then fled to the US after being accused of spying for the Germans.
World in Brief: Underground Secrets
The London Tube marked its 150th anniversary this year. Here are five little known facts about the system: