The London Tube has been an integral part of London’s history, economy, geography, tourism, and identity. It is no wonder that it has been written about extensively. From its troubles and triumphs to its wartime and peacetime work, the Tube has been a subject of great interest to many authors. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most fascinating books about the London Tube that will provide you with a deeper understanding of its history, architecture, and the hidden worlds that lie beneath the streets of London. So, whether you are a Londoner or just a visitor, these books will give you a unique insight into this iconic and beloved transport network.
Here are a few of my favorites (each heading links to the book on Amazon):
In this major work published in association with Transport for London, Tube expert Oliver Green traces the history of the Underground, following its troubles and triumphs, its wartime and peacetime work, and the essential part it has played in shaping London’s economy, geography, tourism, and identity. Specially commissioned photography by Benjamin Graham (UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017) brings the story to life in vivid portraits of the London Underground’s stations, tunnels, and trains.
Hidden London is a lavishly illustrated history of disused and repurposed London Underground spaces. It provides the first narrative of a previously secret and barely understood aspect of London’s history. Behind locked doors and lost entrances lies a secret world of abandoned stations, redundant passageways, empty elevator shafts, and cavernous ventilation ducts. The Tube is an ever-expanding network that has left in its wake hidden places and spaces. Hidden London opens up the lost worlds of London’s Underground and offers a fascinating analysis of why Underground spaces—including the deep-level shelter at Clapham South, the closed Aldwych station, the lost tunnels of Euston—have fallen into disuse and how they have been repurposed. With access to previously unseen archives, architectural drawings, and images, the authors create an authoritative account of London’s hidden Underground story. This surprising and at times, myth-breaking narrative interweaves spectacular, newly commissioned photography of disused stations and Underground structures today.
London Underground By Design is the beautifully illustrated new book from Mark Ovenden, the acclaimed author of Great Railway Maps of the World, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Tube in 2013.
The Underground is the backbone of the city of London, a part of our identity. It’s a network of shared experiences and visual memories. The Tube Mapper project deliberately captures moments of subconscious recognition and overlooked interests, showcasing images that can be seen near or at every Underground, Overground, and DLR station in London. Photographer Luke Agbaimoni gave up city-scape night photography after the birth of his first child, but creating Tube Mapper allowed him to continue being creative, fitting photography around his new lifestyle, and adding stations on his daily commute. His memorable photographs include themes of symmetry, reflections, tunnels and escalators, waiting and lines of light, and reveals the London every commuter knows in a unique, vibrant and arresting style.
In this vividly descriptive short study, Peter Ackroyd tunnels down through the geological layers of London, meeting the creatures that dwell in darkness and excavating the lore and mythology beneath the surface.
As a lifelong fan of London, Mark Mason embarks on a mission to ‘conquer’ the capital once and for all. The only way to truly discover a city, they say, is on foot. Taking this to extremes, Mark sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground – overground – passing every station on the way. Over the course of several hundred miles, he comes to understand a sprawling metropolis that never ceases to surprise.
Of course, I must mention our own book about the London Underground (from which this article was adapted). This new publication is your complete guidebook to London’s iconic transport network’s history, culture, and guide to using the famous London Tube network. The book will be released in September and we need to start pre-orders now. We do a deep dive into the London Tube’s fascinating history, covering the history of the tube network, fascinating stories, London’s abandoned and hidden Tube stations and so much more. This comprehensive book covers everything from the first Metropolitan Railway to the newly opened Elizabeth Line. In addition to all of this, we’ll provide useful and practical information using the network on your travels. It’s a combination of a history book, guidebook, and culture book.