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Transport / Mass transit

A guide to the the Victoria Line's tiled artworks

London’s Victoria line, which runs in a semicircle through North, West and South London, was designed and built in 1969. Since then, trendy users flooding in from the newly gentrified Walthamstow and Brixton have made it one of the most popular (and heavily used) lines. 

For art lovers, the Victoria line has an additional draw in the form of unique artworks on its tiled station walls. When it was built, Transport for London decided to tile each station in pale blue, and commissioned well-known artists to design individual pieces to differentiate them, like this one at Blackhorse Road station:

Image: Stacey Harris at Wikimedia Commons.

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In 2013, Maxwell Harrison, a London-based graphic designer, travelled down the line photographing each of the tile artworks. He then replicated them for an interactive site, which tells the story behind each one. Some of the pieces reference the station’s name, while others commemorate nearby landmarks (or, in Stockwell’s case, a pub).

Here are a few of our favourites:

Brixton 

Designed by Hans Unger, art nouveau painter and TfL poster designer. 

It’s a tonne of bricks, geddit?

Warren Street

Designed by Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, a graphic design partnership.

Because warrens are like mazes, of course. 

Finsbury Park

Designed by Tom Eckersley, a poster artist. 

Apparently, the park was once a popular duelling spot. Who knew?

Update 11/12: A helpful reader has pointed out that Eckersley’s design was actually a mistake: he confused Finsbury Park with Finsbury Fields, where the duelling actually took place. 

You can see the rest of the designs on the project’s website. For true tube design afficionados, Harrison has also produced stickers of the artworks.

Images: Maxwell Harrison. 
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