London Underground

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London Underground

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1TheCriticalTimes First Message
Oct 11, 2006, 4:46pm

Hullo Everybody,

I'm looking for novels, histories, etc about what is under London. From the little research I have done I'm beginning to realize that the city has just as rich a history in subterranean dwellings as Paris or New York. Anyone have any suggested readings ?



Oct 12, 2006, 4:42am

The two that come to mind are The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground was Built and How it Changed the City for ever by Christian Wilmar and Underground London:Travels beneath the City streets by Stephen Smith. I expect that there's stuff out there about the sewers, especially on Bazalgette's work on the new sewers installed after the 'great stink' of the mid-19th century. Hope this has been useful.

Oct 12, 2006, 7:58am

Oct 12, 2006, 8:00am

Oh, and I forgot Dark Assassin by Anne Perry, that is if you like detective stories.

Edited: Oct 12, 2006, 2:05pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 22, 2006, 7:21pm

Also London Under London by Richard Trench which provides a general overview of the different underground cities. The Subterranean Railway sounds interesting.

In terms of novels the first two to spring to mind are A Metropolitan Murder by Lee Jackson and Underground by Tobias Hill. The former is lovely piece of Victoriana. The latter I've not really started yet. There's also Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, of course, which is more about sub-cultural London but uses the tube a lot.

Oct 29, 2006, 10:38am

Thanks guys, that's good info! Looks like I will be reading for a while. How unfortunate *grin*

8JamesCotton First Message
Nov 23, 2006, 4:59am


253 is also about the London Underground, it's based on an internet book, but it's interesting in how Geoff Ryman set about telling the tale (only using 253 words per character and so on).

Edited: Jun 1, 2007, 8:03pm

London under London by Richard Trench is a classic on the subject.

Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London by Antony Clayton is another.

War Plan UK by Duncan Campbell has some stuff on the cable tunnels and deep level shelters.

London's Disused Underground Stations by J.E. Connor does what it says on the tin!

Jun 1, 2007, 11:24pm

Then there's the strange The Water Room by Christopher Fowler . . .

Mar 15, 2008, 7:15am

For a novel set on the tube, mostly at Camden Town tube station, try Underground by Tobias Hill.

Edited: Jun 26, 2008, 9:12am

Aug 4, 2011, 6:01am

Dan Simmons's Drood is a novel with the characters of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. It involves much moving around underground in London.

Aug 8, 2011, 6:32am

Just read Peter Ackroyd's London Under. Good book.

Just bought London's Lost Rivers. Compact but interesting so far.

Aug 8, 2011, 11:37am

Aug 8, 2011, 7:44pm

#14> Thank you for the suggestion! Earlier today I ordered a copy of London Under. I read his London years ago and loved it. But, on the other hand, I have enjoyed all the books by Peter Ackroyd I read.

Edited: Jan 12, 2013, 1:40pm

I reckon Terry Pratchett and Dodger were reading this LT thread together.. .. .. .. ..

Jan 12, 2013, 7:37pm

Anybody going to any of the Underground centennial celebrations?

Aug 28, 2013, 12:48pm

On our trip this summer my daughter bought Tube Trivia, which she read to us in bits and pieces and we all found very interesting. I also bought Underground, Overground: a Passenger's History of the Tube, which I haven't had a chance to read yet.

There is also the recently published Penguin Underground Lines series celebrating this landmark year for the Tube. Based on LT member Kidzdoc's reviews, John Lancaster's What We Talk About When We Talk About the Tube: the District Line sounds like the best of the lot.

I'm delighted by how many books are written about the London Underground.

Aug 28, 2013, 9:48pm

I just finished, not yet reviewed, The Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin which had the primary local of the underground London, even gets a bit into to the Mayor of London. I wouldn't normally care for this genre, and still don't, but I did enjoy the landscape that was well-described. It gave me a feel for the tunnels, abandoned old buildings, how the streets were laid out, the old, new and re-purposed.

Aug 29, 2013, 12:36am

It gave me a feel for the tunnels, abandoned old buildings, how the streets were laid out, the old, new and re-purposed.

Oooh, I like that sort of thing. Must check it out--thanks for mentioning it.

Aug 24, 2014, 7:05pm

Recently read Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay, an Agatha Christie-ish mystery from the 1930s about a murder on Belsize Park station on the Northern Line. Fairly inconsequential but an amusing enough read.

Aug 25, 2014, 5:53am

I also read it recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did think however some of the characters were stupid beyond belief.

Edited: Aug 27, 2014, 5:24am

>25 tendring: True to life, then?

Jan 8, 2017, 10:26pm

Just published: River Effra: South London's Secret Spine .
Jon Newman gave an interesting talk about it to The Herne Hill Society a couple of months ago.