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These vintage photos of the Underground are just the ticket for Tube lovers

By Megan Carnegie

Where would Londoners be without our good old Underground? From transporting up to 4.8 million of us around the city every day to providing shelter during the Blitz, there are countless reasons to be a tube fan (even if the Central line feels like it could do with some actual fans on it sometimes). As a celebration of the iconic 155-year-old network, photographs from Mirrorpix (the Daily Mirror’s picture library) have been collated into a book by The History Press. Documenting the London Underground’s bombings, derailments and disasters, as well as the (often bizarre) adventures of its passengers, it records a love that runs as deep as the tunnels themselves. 

Even the most jaded Londoners get excited by the appearance of a handsome dog on the tube. This shot (above) from December 1952 shows Mr G George with his very huge great dane, Bruce, sitting on a (disturbingly empty) train. The girl with curious hair looks unconvinced.

For the past 15 years, buskers have been able to audition for official pitches in tube stations. But people have busted out a song on the Underground for much longer than that (even if it wasn’t always exactly legal). This musician is performing at Oxford Circus station in February 1987. Stand on the right!
See that man sat in the far corner of the carriage in this photo from April 1964? That’s Ron Greenwood, manager of West Ham from 1961 to 1974. And that thing he’s holding covered with a cloth? The FA Cup. He’s taking it back to West Ham’s ground after a film screening of the Cup Final.
Full respect to Mrs June Clark of Chiswick, who, in July 1953, took a stool with her when she travelled to and from work. She said: ‘Men just won’t give up their seats to women nowadays, so I decided a few weeks ago to carry my own.’ Slightly blocking the gangway there, June.
Possibly among the unluckiest children ever, these little Londoners are hiding on the Underground to escape an air raid, only to find themselves having a maths lesson. This picture from March 1941 shows teacher Miss A Potter and her class in Elephant & Castle station one night during the Blitz.

Tube Life: London’s Underground in Photographs’ is out now, published by The History Press and Mirrorpix.

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