Railways under London

I’ve often wondered how London’s deep tunnels were built in the years between Marc Brunel’s early nineteenth century heroics and today’s monster tunnel boring machines (see Into the void). At what point did men wielding picks disappear from the front line?

Not before 1948 it seems, according to Marie Neurath, author and illustrator of the post-war children’s book Railways under London.

Marie Neurath's Railways Under London Marie Neurath's Railways Under London

We all know the results: millions of Londoners cross the city deep underground every day. It’s easy to forget that is what we’re doing, as we battle our way from station to station. Our mental defence mechanisms helpfully work to block that realisation thereby avoiding mass subterranean anxiety. Or perhaps I am just speaking for myself. It only takes a picture like the one below to unleash nauseous waves of claustrophobia. But I thought I’d share it nonetheless as a handsome example of Isotype graphic design.

Marie Neurath's Railways Under London