The map that saved the London Underground, a rather celebratory acount of McDonald Gill’s great ‘Wonderground Map of London‘ (the BBC link has a zoomable flash version). Cartography, urbanism and illustration have always had an element of myth-making in them, as those who not only make their stamp on the perception of the city but also get their names attached to their creations – cf Harry Beck and his tube map – endure in the popular consciousness just as much as their work, often to the great detriment of a collaborative effort.
Closely related, Phyllis Pearsall and searching for truth in the A-Z, The Great Wen blogging about the emergence of a staunchly revisionist take on the great origin myth of London’s A-Z. My Sister Phyllis Pearsall Gross And the Meaning of Truth, a site ‘aimed at revealing the vast number of untruths, distortions, and omissions to be found in Sarah Hartley’s book Mrs. P’s Journey as well as in two books self-published by my sister Phyllis Pearsall Gross (and used uncritically by Hartley as her major source). More importantly, it is aimed at replacing those erroneous accounts with something far closer to the truth.’ It’s a vociferous account, written by her brother in order to chronicle every error and undo what he perceives to be the perpetration of an ‘urban myth’ and a literary hoax. It’s even been distilled into a tweet sized synopsis for dissemination by us modern map addicts.
There are many, many collections of Underground Ephemera on the internet. One of our favourites is Kottke’s London Underground tag – many maps contained within. See also the Transit Maps tumblr and Theo Inglis’s map evolution page. The above image is ‘Stitched Subways‘, 2007, by Susan Stockwell.