A century ago the London Underground was considered dreary and uninviting. In 1913 designer Max Gill was commissioned to brighten up the stations - the Wonderground Map of London Town was born.
The poster map draws inspiration from 16th and 17th century cartography, with added humour and topical jokes. Highlights include a living River Serpentine and a snake winding its way through Hyde Park.
It took Gill seven months to complete the Underground map. In his diary of 9 March 1914 he wrote: “Worked on last of the London map all day - doing colouring till 3am Tuesday - until I completed it. (Began August 1913)”.
We’ve picked out our favourite snippets that prove Gill’s poster should be the official tube map.
1. There’s a cat in Highgate called ‘Bimbo’.
2. There’s a giraffe in London Zoo, who is depressed despite being offered a bun.
3. Old Street features a headless horseman and a man sticking his tongue out (on the toilet?).
4. There’s a pilot who really shouldn’t be flying.
5. There’s a pessimistic man on Malvern Road.
6. Someone in the map has discovered the map itself - so Inception.
7. “What is work? Is it a herb?” - the stupidly rich still existed in Notting Hill Gate 100 years ago.
8. There’s a work-shy gentleman on Pancras Road.
9. A child being eaten in Regent’s Park is more concerned about teatime.
The Wonderground Map of London Town 1914 is available to buy from the London Transport Museum gift shop.