Wednesday, May 29, 2013

London Underground's Strangest Tales

London Underground's Strangest Tales
By Iain Spragg
Published by Anova Books/Portico
January 2013

Many books have been written about the history of the London Underground Tube system, but not one like this. 

A relatively short book of  202 pages,  it starts with the incarceration of  Mark Isambard Brunel in a debtor's prison; while there, he notices the tunnelling activities of a shipworm. This gives him an idea about how deep tunnels could be constructed safely and then the book follows a historical timeline of notable events in the subsequent history of the Tube, each covered in a few pages.

Did you know which Victorian author's novel, published weekly in a magazine,  caused  passenger numbers to plummet because of its subject matter?  Or that a river - the Westbourne - is channelled through a large pipe along the ceiling of the Sloane Square Station? 

Which famous person's body was carried to its funeral by Tube, and how many babies have been born Underground? One notable train delay was caused by talk about a vasectomy amongst the drivers! Other stories relate to ghostly apparitions and suicides. 

 Just about everything you could wish to know -and somethings you don't - are included in this riveting read, which is ideal for picking up and dipping into  as well as reading straight through.

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