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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Happy 150th Birthday to the London Underground

Since a very big plot feature of my young adult urban fantasy novel, Marking Time, is set in the London Underground station at Whitechapel, I thought I’d share some of the more colorful facts I found during my research.
  • Aldgate Station, on the Circle and Metropolitan Lines, is built on a massive plague pit, where more than 1,000 bodies are buried 
  • An estimated half a million mice live in the Underground system 
  • A small section of the old London Wall survives in the trackside walls of Tower Hill station at platform level. One of the largest pieces of the wall also stands just outside this station. 
  • Many Tube stations were used as air-raid shelters during WWII, but the Central Line went one better and was actually converted into a massive aircraft factory that stretched for over two miles, with its own railway system. Its existence remained an official secret until the 80s. 
And in fiction:
  • There is a secret lair at Vauxhall Cross in Die Another Day. 
  • A buried Martian Spaceship was found at Hobbs End Station in the British TV series, Quatermass and the Pit. 
  • In V for Vendetta, the masked Anarchist’s secret headquarters is located at Strand Station. 
  • The Time Traveler's spiral portal that sends Saira back to 1888 is hidden in a service alcove at Whitechapel Station. 

A Victorian Steam Train used for the celebration today, just like the one Saira saw in 1888.