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Lego on the Underground

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To mark the London Underground’s 150th anniversary, celebrated in January 2013, LEGO have created five Tube maps with LEGO bricks.

These maps illustrate the evolution of the network between 1927 and 2020.  Each map contains over 1000 LEGO bricks and took 4 days to build.  They were created by Duncan Titmarsh, the UK’s only Certified LEGO Professional.

The maps went on display on 14 June and can be seen on the ticket hall walls at a selection of major London Underground stations:

  • 1927,  at South Kensington
  • 1933,  at Piccadilly Circus (Harry Beck’s original map)
  • 1968,  at Green Park
  • 2013,  at Stratford
  • 2020,  at  King’s Cross

The London Underground map is recognised as a design icon: it came second in a BBC and London Transport Museum poll asking for a favourite UK design icon of the 20th century, and the idea of a simplified, stylised map has been used my transport systems around the world.

In the 1920s small folding maps were issued.  The 1927 Stingemore map has a simplified geography, but the rail lines are still curved and meandering. Visit South Ken to see the Lego version.

In the 1930s, Harry Beck created a map that concentrated on connections not geography, and using only horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.  Initially viewed with much scepticism, it underwent a successful trial and was then published in a first edition of 700,000 copies in 1933.  Its Lego reproduction is on display at Piccadilly Circus.

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The Victoria Line opened in 1968, and is still marked as under construction on the 1968 replica at Green Park:

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The Lego model at Kings Cross, shows the underground as it is expected to be in 2020, including Crossrail, the proposed Croxley Rail Link and the proposed Northern Line Extension.

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Whether your interests are maps, history, Lego or transport, these models are well worth a look.  The kids will be fascinated too.  If you are inspired by what you see, go here for instructions on how to construct your own London Underground roundel.

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