Round three of interesting and quirky facts includes the origin of “Mind the Gap” and facts about the animals living in London’s most important mode of transportation.

This is only part three of four, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more interesting facts!

london-tours-underground

Photo Credit: Alberto Bissacco on Flickr

  1. When the Circle Line opened in 1884, the Times described it as ‘a form of mild torture, which no person would undergo if he could conveniently help it’.

  2. The designer of the Underground Map, Harry Beck, received just 10 guineas (£10.50) for his design.

  3. Aldwych station, which is located on the Piccadilly Line, closed in 1994 and is now used as a film set.

  4. Tube carriages originally had no windows and were nicknamed ‘padded cells’.

  5. The phrase “Mind the Gap” originated on the Northern Line in 1968. It was voiced by Peter Lodge, the owner of a recording company in Bayswater. While Lodge’s recording is still in use, some lines use recordings by Manchester voice artist Emma Clarke, while commuters on the Piccadily line hear the voice of Tim Bentinck, who played David Archer in The Archers, the BBC Radio soap opera.

  6. The Northbound Northern Line platform at Embankment station is the only place you can hear the original ‘Mind the Gap’ announcement. The recording was revived after a letter came from the announcer’s widow asking to hear his voice again.

  7. Aldgate station hides a dark and disturbing secret underneath. The site sits atop a massive pit containing 1,000 victims of the 1665 bubonic plague.

  8. Queen Elizabeth II is the only UK monarch ever to ride on the Tube. She did so at the opening of the Victoria line in 1969.

  9. William Gladstone (Liberal prime minister) and Dr Thomas Barnardo (Famous for setting up a series of charitable children’s homes) were the only people whose coffins travelled by Tube.

  10. Only 45 percent of the London underground network is actually underground.

  11. The London Underground has 402 km (249 miles) of track, making it the second largest metro system in the world in terms of route length, after Shanghai Metro.

  12. The first London Underground line was the Metropolitan line, which opened on January 10, 1863. It was also the first underground railway in the world.

  13. The longest journey one can make on the London Tube, without changing trains, is the 54.9 km (34.1 miles) trip between West Ruislip and Epping on the Central Line, taking 1 hour 28.5 minutes.

  14. Green grapes cause more accidents on the London Underground than banana skins.

  15. The mosquitoes inhabiting the tunnels of the London Tube have evolved into a completely different species to any that live above ground. Unlike their upstairs brethren which bite only birds, the London Underground mosquitoes bite rats, mice, and show a distinct affinity for human blood. Biologists named these biters Culex pipiens molestus (London Underground Mosquito).

  16. The Animals of the Underground is an art project started by Paul Middlewick in 1988 after he spotted an elephant shape while staring at the tube map during his journey home from work. Created using tube lines, stations, and junctions of the London Underground map, the animal collection grows constantly and even includes whales, birds and bats.

  17. Julian Lloyd Webber, a solo celloist, is rumoured to have been the London Underground’s first official busker.

  18. The air in the Underground is, on average, 10 degrees celsius hotter than the air on the surface.

  19. A fragrance called Madeline was introduced at St. James Park, Euston, and Piccadilly stations in 2001 as an idea to make the tube more pleasant. It was supposedly a fresh, floral scent, but it was discontinued within two days after numerous complaints from people saying they felt ill.

  20. In January 2005, the London Underground announced that it would play classical music at stations that had problems with loitering youths. A trial showed a 33% drop in abuse against Tube staff.

 

Part four coming soon!