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It is not every day you see smokers dressed like that

It is not every day you see smokers dressed like that
By Mark Mason on 03-03-14 11:38. Comments (0)
Since the Tube strike a few weeks ago, several people have told me that being forced to walk reminded them just how great London is for people-watching. You see sights that no other city's streets would offer. Thought I'd round up a few that the Tube walks offered me ...

Walking the walk

Walking the walk
By Mark Mason on 04-02-14 11:55. Comments (0)
As the Tube strike looms, I've been reminded of my District Line walk. Its second day coincided with a strike by Underground workers, so I was far from the only one treading the pavements. In case it provides any inspiration for those of you lacing up tomorrow, here's the relevant section from the book ...

Which way does the Queen face?

Which way does the Queen face?
By Mark Mason on 10-06-13 11:45. Comments (0)
It was today in 1931 that Edward VIII (as he then wasn't) met Wallis Simpson, the woman he would one day marry, but only after abdicating. His short spell as king in 1936 gave rise to one of my favourite bits of trivia about British coins ...

Bet you've never noticed this about the Tube map

Bet you've never noticed this about the Tube map
By Mark Mason on 25-03-13 13:10. Comments (0)
Much celebration today at the unveiling of a blue plaque to Harry Beck, inventor of the cultural icon and design classic that is the London Tube map. You don't need me to tell you about his genius insight that the map didn't have to be geographically accurate: that's in all today's news reports. (If you want to see a pre-Beck map, there's a fantastic original in a glass case outside Temple station.) Instead let me share my favourite little quirk about the map as it appears today.

The original Mind the Gap returns ...

The original Mind the Gap returns ...
By Mark Mason on 08-03-13 09:13. Comments (10)
Wonderful news from the northbound platform of the Northern Line at Embankment Tube station. London Underground have reinstated the original Mind the Gap announcement - just so that the widow of the man who said it can go and hear his voice.

Michael Caine and the Tube

Michael Caine and the Tube
By Mark Mason on 08-01-13 20:27. Comments (2)
It's been great to soak up the Tube trivia this week, as the grand old network celebrates its ton and a half. The facts about the system itself are legendary, from Mark Twain being a passenger on the Central Line's first ever journey, to Canary Wharf station being big enough to house 1 Canada Square. But some of my favourite tales are the ones where the Tube plays only a bit part. They sum up the way the Underground is just there, part of London's fabric. One of the best is the story of Michael Caine and the telephone in Leicester Square station ...

How do you go to the toilet on the Tube?

How do you go to the toilet on the Tube?
By Mark Mason on 15-06-12 10:33. Comments (0)
The Tube map inspired me to walk the whole system overground. But it's also inspired many people into another obsessive pursuit - breaking the record for visiting all the stations in the fastest time possible. Using the trains, that is. Using the system as it was intended to be used. (Well, sort of.) I recently had a chat with the one-time holder of this record (don't worry, he's trying to get it back), a wonderful man named Geoff Marshall. Never again will I look at a Ribena bottle in the same way ...

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Other pages in this section...

Books


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Walks

Inspired by my book Walk the Lines: the London Underground - Overground, each of these trivia-packed walks uncovers London’s history by following a section of a Tube line ... at street level.
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Quizzes

Tailor made quizzes
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Podcasts

Aural delights from the world of trivia
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Content

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower grows by 7 inches in summer. Again, a lovely way of bringing to life what could be a very dull statement in a physics lesson. (In this case - metals expand when they are heated.)