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London Underground's Older Tube Decor

Status: Painted over, replaced, or chipped away



There are those those who believe, that the delicate signpostings of the London Underground system might be well left alone. The management that sadly has control over its destiny might have other plans. There has been a slow erosion of the beautiful decor that makes our London Tube as delightful as it is. Protect old London Underground decor!



Maida Vale Tube Station


There has been some conservation work, but too little, too late. Its amazing that, in parellel with the odd conservation - there is work to ruin or mutilate part of that same station. I think that every inch of originality here should be saved forever, and all work should be done lovingly by proper skilled London craftsmen.



Earls Court Tube Station


Our tube atriums were landmarks of high art, welcome fixtures of the capital. From the time you went in the door, the eye met fancy ticket booth mouldings, coloured tiles, and wood panels. Most stations were furnished with curved ironwork, and everything was finished off to look warm and creative. Not any more. If anything, there is a feverish desire to trash anything thats over ten years old. Replacements are so ill fitting and boring. This is a defacement and an awful price to pay for token redevelopment.



Piccadilly Circus Tube Station


Crazy at is may seem, London Underground plc love putting up new signs that obscure old signs, and then obscure both signs with a CCTV camera. Theres loads of examples on platforms like that. What a mess. And then theres the decor that's defaced by advertisments. Theres this spreading fungus of commercial crap that's hiding what left of tubes cultural trappings. With regards to the pedestrian directive signing, this is so confusing. Information hits the passenger like a broadsides of disruptive gunfire.



Southgate Tube Station


How long before London's great tube decor becomes similar to that of a secondary school? I'm sure, by the designs of the new Jubilee line, that one can forsee nothing at all quaint about the future of the subway system. How very dull indeed. Its all nice and shiny, with loads of bright lights and loud speakers. Digital readouts and formica surfaces. We could be anywhere in the world. It's boring. Boring as hell.


We need to rescue whats left of underground decoration, and restore everthing to its original state. Any additions should be complimentary rather than contradictory. Sure, improvementes can be made, but most mutilations have just been whimsical interferance, or pandering to overpopulation concerns. How shabbily our celestial heritage has been treated!



St John's Wood Station


Some of these old items would wear well in the best of museums. We are so lucky that these pieces of art are with us on our everyday travels. What a shame when one enters a tube refurb job, to find all this gone, and replaced with MFI panels. In a red Ken utopia, we are all herded from one faceless arena to another. Beauty below ground seems not an option to the bad boys from the Bureau of Blandness.


Heaven knows what the future holds for our great old tube decor. Only a few years ago, the system was left to rot, but at least it meant that the old fittings were still in place, albeit in bad condition. With the new finance of the network, a lot of refurbishment has meant unsympathetic interference with the aged decor, and although some attention has been paid to authenticity, I am generally unhappy with the methods used in the clean up. Everyone knows that the powers-that-be do not like old London at all, and want rid of any non-euro detail.

Charles (of London Town)

E-Mail Charles at: londondestruction@yahoo.com

The London Destruction Website.
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