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"Stunning photography and amazing story," 17 Dec 2011 by Annie Mole "london-underground"

One of the most beautiful books about the London Underground I have ever seen (& trust me, I've seen a lot). The photography is so stunning that it really becomes the book's hero. The story of how Jane Magarigal came to take this photographs was really fascinating to me as it shows how just an outsider's love of the Tube, photography, hard work & patience can eventually pay off. She started taking the black & white pictures in in the 1970's. They actually look "historical" already.

She said "It is when stations are empty of people that the history of the place comes alive. For without the bustle of people one can feel the energy of by gone days - the Blitz raging overhead, the architects and designers' choices, the souls of plague victimes unearthed in the building of the London Underground, the millions of people who have travelled through this miraculous labyrinth; all of this is there".

Thanks to the publishers for for seeing the possibility of this book and not letting these pictures and David's story remain unseen.

"It's an underground beauty", 14 Dec 2011
"The tube's such a prosaic, everyday thing, I've never really appreciated its aesthetics (not easy when you're squashed into someone's armpit anyway).  This book is the evidence that it's actually beautiful--the photographs are a revelation, and the story of how all this brilliant design came about is surprisingly gripping and wonderfully told.  It's transformed my daily commute - I actually understand and appreciate my surroundings now."

"The photographs are enigmatically stark, the text rich in anecdotes. Long brings a genuine pleasure to his subject…and encourages his readers to look at London with an unceasing curiosity."- The London Magazine

The Author & Photographer

I've reviewed many of David Long's London books and will confess I'm a bit of a fan. In this book, Long uses beautiful, architectural descriptions that are still accessible and easy to read.

Jane Magarigal has been a freelance photographer specialising in black and white photography for over 35 years. The final chapter of the book is written by Magarigal and is a fascinating read as she spent many days underground with no trips to the surface as rain could then be avoided and she could focus on the "Tube's structural beauty".

She rightly points out that even though the photos appear simple, as an artist, she not was documenting architecture but considering form, design, balance and so much more. She wanted shots with few people but she's also aware that takes away the energy of the time. But the photos are most definitely art and there is some beautiful symmetry. The high-shine on the sides of the escalators is one of the clues that these are not modern photos as so many stations haven't changed. Of course, the poster adverts have. It's a shame there aren't any captions for the photos but it may simply be because they weren't viewed in full for twenty years as Magarigal returned to LA but thankfully stored these images until 2009.  London Travel

Review: London Underground. Architecture, Design and History.
23 January, 2012 by Mike Paterson

With this new book, prolific London history author David Long returns to the London Underground (an earlier work, The Little Book of the London Underground (2009), is a compendium of interesting facts, stories and statistics about the network).

This is the first book on the topic which I have read that focuses purely on the aesthetics of the system. Except in passing, you will find very little in this book about engineering, trains, timetables and the like. It is – as the title suggests – all about architecture and design. We learn about the two main architects of the 1900s and 1930s generations of stations, Leslie Green and Charles Holden respectively. We find out how the Underground’s “target” logo came into being. We read all about Edward Johnston, the typographer who devised the ubiquitous typeface on all Underground signage. And, of course, the draftsman Harry Beck, who gave not only London but most city transit systems worldwide the method of creating an easily understandable, diagrammatic map.

We Londoners like to grumble about the Tube. Despite its faults, most of us secretly love it and are proud of it; in our hearts we know it is a wonderful system. For despite its complexity, it is easy to understand and use. The credit for this goes to a handful of architects and designers who did their work almost a century ago. And at their centre was one man, the hero of the book: Frank Pick.

Pick was not an artist, a designer or an architect. He was, in fact, an administrator who rose through the ranks. But he had an instinct for talent-spotting and knowingwhat needed to be done. In the early decades of the 20th Century the tube system, comprising various different railway companies with different cultures and modi operandi were integrated into one unified organisation. Operationally, this was a challenge. But equally important was how this was presented to the public, how it was sold, how confidence in the system was built.
More than any marketing man or advertising guru, Pick understood the value of branding. It was he who set the standard for buildings, signage, advertising and posters – ensuring compliance and attention to detail to the nth degree. The result could have been disastrous except in the hands of a man of taste and discernment with natural  empathy for the age, a man both of his time and ahead of it. The result is that London’s urban transport system – including our red buses, of course – is one of the most recognisable brands on the planet. This book tells the story.

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