While taking a break from creating photos for my London photography book, I took time to ride various London Underground lines from end to end. The lines I chose include the Northern Line, Bakerloo Line, Jubilee Line, part of the Circle/District Line and a portion of the Victoria Line.
I’d start at the beginning of a line then at each stop I’d get out at each stop to explore the station. At first, I thought what an exhausting task, On a train, off the train, on the train, etc… By the end of the project, I grew to love every minute. Each Underground station is unique in its own way. There is intricate tile work arranged in interesting designs at almost all stations. The arrangement of the subway tiles cleverly leads the way for commuters – traffic control if you will.
Many of the Underground stations in Central London are works of art. I especially love Tottenham Court Road station, the blue and white checked tunnel at Green Park station, as well as the whimsical green and red lines at Piccadilly Circus. Outside of Zone 1, the designs at Hampstead Station on the Northern Line are mesmerizing. I always feel as if I’m on a roller coaster when I’m in the tunnels of Hampstead. The swooping lines on the ceramic tiles underground are brilliant.
During my photographic adventures in the London Underground, I received police citations for pointing my camera at an Underground station entrance and was escorted out of the largest station by the manager. If you are going to get kicked out of somewhere, it is best to have it done by the one at the top. If you scroll down just a bit, you’ll see one of the police citations I received.
During off-peak hours, there is plenty of time to explore and time to appreciate the brilliant designs. Photography is not encouraged but the London Underground really is a photographer’s playground. Be discrete, avoid rush hour and don’t linger in one place for too long and you should be perfectly unbothered. What’s more is you’ll have splendid photos when you are finished.
I’m not a huge fan of public transportation, especially during rush hour, but I do recommend a journey through the London Underground at least once (or twice). The underbelly of London is fascinating, to say the least. It is almost as if there is an entirely different world or London, many escalators rides below the surface.
Catch the London Underground in Sixty Seconds on The Gentleman Wayfarer YouTube Channel or this fast-paced Underground blog post.