The Best London Underground Tube Map Pastiches

London Underground Map

The London Underground Tube map, designed in 1931 by Harry Beck, is among the most recognisable images in the world.

Predictably, it has been the subject of various homages and pastiches in its lengthy history. Here are just a few.

The Anagram Map
Set off to the north-west to visit Primo Urinals, or get the Able Rook line all the way up to Swearword & Ethanol. You might not think that there would be a suitable anagram for every single Tube stop, but there seems to be.

Some of our favourites include Good Hard Walk, Astrologer Cued and Burst Racoon, although there is also a surreal charm to A Cottonmouth Retard, Spicular Dicyclic and Wobbly Embryo.

Of course, if you have a dirtier sense of humour you might enjoy Queerer Elastics, Wifely Stench or Browny Helmet.

The cryptic crossword fanatics among you will want to work these out for yourselves, but for the rest, the correctly spelled versions are at the bottom of the page.

The Great Bear
The most famous, and perhaps the original Tube map reworking. Artist Simon Patterson replaced the stations on each line with the names of famous people, with each line dedicated to a particular group – footballers, scientists, actors, philosophers, engineers and so on. So Baker Street is Charles Darwin, Leicester Square is Gary Lineker and so on.

The It’s Quicker To Walk Map
A startling reminder of just how stylised the Harry Beck map is. If you always travel around London by Tube, you would have no idea that Farringdon and Chancery Lane are less than 500 metres apart. Similarly Waterloo and Lambeth North, and St Paul’s and Barbican.

For the distances between stations in full, go here, and for the journey times between stations, go here.

The Geographical Map
If the It’s Quicker To Walk Map (above) showed you that Beck’s map is stylised, this one shows you why it has to be.

A huge, sprawling mess with dozens of stations cramped into the centre and a few lonely outposts spotted around in the distant suburbs, it makes you realise London is really nothing like the Tube map.

The Physical Map
A real map of London with the Physical Map (above) overlaid. It’s a beautiful way of mapping your morning commute.

District line users may feel a bit short-changed, however, as the green of their route is almost invisible among the fields and parks that make up a surprising amount of the map.

The Caught Short Map
Sensible Londoners will know better than to embark on a lengthy Tube journey without emptying their bladder first, but the inexperienced and the drunk will find this map – showing which stations are equipped with toilet facilities – extremely helpful.

The Rude Tube (warning: link contains strong language)
Not for the easily offended: a Tube map with the station name replaced with (usually) rude words. Sometimes the rude words are vaguely relevant to the original; more often they are not.

“Turd” and “Yeast Infection” are among the ones we can repeat in a family newspaper. For some reason the creator also thinks of “Spice Girls”, “Westlife”, and “Noel’s House Party” as curses. We couldn’t speculate why.

The Have I Got News For You Map
Created for the Have I Got 1997 For You annual, this fairly straightforward mockery of the map does away with the original topography altogether for its own shape. Notable for a possibly more realistic brown-and-yellow Thames, it contains stops such as “Pickpocket Central” and “Stop between stations for no apparent reason”.

The Real Underground
Sure, they call it the Underground – but how much of it is actually, honestly, below ground level? This map will tell you.

The What If The Germans Had Won The War Map
The sort of thing Basil Fawlty might have created after a head injury, this exercise in Denglisch could be considered a little culturally insensitive. But Mile End being translated as 2.4km Ende is quite funny (if inaccurate – a mile is about 1.6km). A correctly translated German Tube map exists here, for some reason.

The Healthy Tube Map
Created as a marketing exercise for a health insurance company, the Step By Step map shows how far, in paces, a commuter would have to walk if they got off a stop early. The idea was to encourage Londoners to walk further, to meet the British Heart Foundation’s recommended 10,000 steps a day.

ANAGRAMS: Ruislip Manor; Bakerloo; Harrow & Wealdstone; Goldhawk Road; Gloucester Road; Barons Court; Tottenham Court Road; Piccadilly Circus; Bromley-by-Bow; Leicester Square; West Finchley; Wembley North. PICTURE CAPTION: Great Portland Street



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