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London Underground: Architecture, Design & History Hardcover – 1 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; First Edition edition (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752458124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752458120
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 24.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'The Book of the Week. Even the most eager historians will find their knowledge challenged by this new book about the capital.' (Evening Standard)

'It's a book I think everyone should have.' (Robert Elms, BBC Radio London)

'The best possible start for anyone who wishes to get off the beaten track and under the skin of the hidden city that is modern-day London.' (Guardian)

'David Long's intriguing alphabetical survey - an attempt to impose order on chaos - lists hundreds of little courtyards and alleys, many almost forgotten among the banks and businesses.' (FT)

'This admirably structured and coherent book draws attention to the uncontrived diversity in London's architecture.' (Maxwell Hutchinson, President RIBA)

'The photographs are enigmatically stark, the text rich in anecdotes. Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject and encourages his readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity.' (The London Magazine)

'A quirkier look at the subject...plenty of new places here for even the most knowledgeable Londoner to explore.' (Museum of London)

'Quite an incredible wealth of information...an endorsement at the highest level should be given to David Long's new book'. (BBC Radio London)

'David Long tells the story of how a humble transport system rapidly became one of the city's greatest icons.' (The Spectator)

Fascinated by those strange, semi-hidden corners of London most of us cease to notice because we walk by them so often, David Long has been a writer since leaving a first class university with a second class degree in the 1980s. Whilst a columnist for the Sunday People he created a popular weekly cartoon strip which appeared in the Times, and continues to write for a wide diversity of newspapers and magazines both in Britain and abroad. Many of his most popular and best reviewed books reflect his longstanding interest in the less well-known aspects of London, its architecture and eccentric inhabitants - subjects, he says, which simply never run dry.

Product Description

Review

"A handsome book...brilliant and nostalgic." --Robert Elms Show, BBC Radio London, February 8, 2012

`One of the most beautiful books about the London Underground I have ever seen (& trust me, I've seen a lot).' --Annie Mole, Going Underground, December 2011

`David Long's London Underground: Architecture, Design and History tells the story of how a humble transport system rapidly became one of the city's greatest icons.' --Mark Mason, The Spectator, December 17, 2011

`I've reviewed many of David Long's London books and will confess I'm a bit of a fan. Long uses beautiful, architectural descriptions that are still accessible and easy to read.'
--Laura Porter, Go London, February 6, 2012

About the Author

Writer and journalist DAVID LONG has regularly appeared in The Times and the London Evening Standard, as well as on TV and radio. As well as being an award-winning ghostwriter, he has written a number of books on London, including Spectacular Vernacular, Tunnels, Towers & Temples, and the highly successful Little Book of London. JANE MAGARIGAL has been a freelance photographer specialising in black and white photography for over 35 years

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pangolin on 19 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
For no fathomable reason we have here two completely different books stitched together to make one.

Most of the left-hand pages form a nice informative well-written essay on the architecture and design of the underground network during the period associated with Pick & Holden. Beck and Johnston and others who created the remarkable corporate identity of the London Underground of that time also get a mention.

It would have been great to have a good selection of photos and illustrations to go with this - what better to show the impact that this golden age of design had on the Underground.

However, Baron Frankenstein's assistant appears to have returned to his master with something entirely unsuitable, and whilst the good Baron has done his best to stitch them together, the outcome is once again deeply flawed.

Most of the right-hand pages consist of arty photos (ie not straight documentary-style photos) of the Underground. Whilst some are pleasant, it rapidly became repetitive. One or two arty views up a stair or escalator tunnel is nice enough - but ten is pushing it, and when the boredom is relieved by another nine views down stairs and escalators it becomes very dreary. Perhaps it was hoped that the eleven views along passageways would improve matters (they don't).

But worse still is the bizarre dichotomy between text and photos. Whilst the text is almost entirely concerned with Pick's time, most of the photo's are either of infrastructure from before this period, or post-war. For no obvious reason there is a picture of a main line railway terminus in amongst them too.

The result is a mess - the photos need to be in an art book (or possibly a skip as I don't share some of the reviewers' views on the quality of the pictures) and the text should have been accompanied with something more suitable.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Annie Mole on 17 Dec 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of the most beautiful books about the London Underground I have ever seen (& trust me, I've seen a lot). The photography is so stunning that it really becomes the book's hero. The story of how Jane Magarigal came to take this photographs was really fascinating to me as it shows how just an outsider's love of the Tube, photography, hard work & patience can eventually pay off. She started taking the black & white pictures in in the 1970's. They actually look "historical" already.

She said "It is when stations are empty of people that the history of the place comes alive. For without the bustle of people one can feel the energy of by gone days - the Blitz raging overhead, the architects and designers' choices, the souls of plague victimes unearthed in the building of the London Underground, the millions of people who have travelled through this miraculous labyrinth; all of this is there".

Thanks to the publishers for for seeing the possibility of this book and not letting these pictures and David's story remain unseen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Carter on 29 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
A rather strange book: as another reviewer has suggested, it's really two books in one. The (black and white) photos of Jane Magarigal are very good if somewhat samey - people don't get much of a look in here, so it doesn't represent the Tube as we know it, and, absurdly, have no captions: did someone forget to include them?

The text, on the other hand, ignores the photos altogether and gives a short description of the history of the Tube and its design, but it's rather let down by the fact that the photographs don't match with it at all. There's a chapter on Frank Pick's use of posters, but not one picture of any of them (the only posters that do appear are rather dreary ones that happen to be on the walls that are occasionally photographed. And Long waxes lyrically about John Hassall's famous poster "No need to ask a p'liceman" but doesn't show it - this is where the lack of colour in the book really tells. And the chapter "Mapping the network: The genius of Mr Beck" manages to occupy 20 pages without showing us the map - or any map - at all!

This book might have been worth having if the text had told us something about the photographs - where they were taken, for example - but as it is there's nothing. A very odd, and fundamentally disappointing book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jules on 5 Feb 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish I'd paid attention to the reviews before I bought this as it has turned out to be a bit of disappointment. Informative and nicely written but accompanied by picture after picture of bits of track, tunnels, escalators, people sat on benches etc etc. All very pretty and arty in back and white but none are captioned and in any case seem to bear absolutely no relevance to what is in the text. And why 1970s pictures? Photos/illustrations of the construction of, or maybe, newly finished stations would have been interesting. How they appear today in the 21st century would be useful. Colour photos to show the vibrancy of some of the decorative tiling etc would have been lovely. But all these pictures really did was remind what horrendous dress sense your average Londoner had back then. And yes, that included me and my family! Only one picture of a station exterior (and you have to guess which one it is from several mentioned on the adjoining page!) and not one shot of the famous art deco skyscraper that is 55 Holborn. There is also no index: as an exiled Londoner the first thing I did was to turn to the back to look up my local station but I had to go through the whole book to found it wasnt in there! I guesss it depends what you want from the book, but if it is a serious look at the beautiful design and architecture that make up the tube then this isn't it.
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