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London's Underground Since 1985 (Hardback)

A Journey in Colour

Colour Books P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic Books Transport World History > UK & Ireland > England > London

By Jim Blake
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 250 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399055581
Published: 30th July 2024

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JIM BLAKE's second volume of his photographs featuring the London Underground cover the period from 1985, shortly after the Thatcher regime's destruction of London Transport and its re-birth as London Underground Ltd., to 2021 when the Northern Line gained its new branch from Kennington to Battersea Power Station.

This was a turbulent time in the system's history, encompassing the withdrawal of the last pre-war passenger rolling stock (in 1988) and then the abolition of two-person operated trains at the beginning of 2000.

With the exception of the Waterloo & City Line, which was transferred from British Rail to London Underground in the 1990s, all Underground lines are covered together with the rolling stock operating them.

Jim's photographs concentrate on the older types. What is very striking in them is how the system seemed to be going downhill rapidly during the Thatcher years when this survey begins - plagued by the curse of graffiti and liberally littered thanks to cuts in staff who once dealt with such problems. Fortunately, since Transport for London's takeover of the Underground from 2000 onwards, things in that respect have markedly improved, trains and stations are much cleaner and therefore welcoming to passengers.

The contrast between the late 1980s/early 1990s and today's Underground is very clear in Jim's photographs featured here, most previously unpublished. It is unfortunate that further improvements, not to mention long-planned extensions to the system, continue to be frustrated by government spending restrictions at the time of writing.

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 Jim Blake

About Jim Blake

JIM BLAKE was born in December 1947 and brought up in Islington, North London. As did most young lads then, he soon developed an interest in railways, but also London's trams, trolleybuses and buses since North London's last two tram routes ran near his home, at the heart of London Transport's trolleybus system. His interest developed into transport photography in 1961 and he took over 100,000 photos before retiring his cameras in 2015. He still lives in North London today.

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