London's historic, iconic Underground railway system in the period from 1968 to 1985 was a very different place to what it is in the 2020s. Much of its rolling stock dated from before World War Two, and with the exception of the new Victoria Line and the isolated Woodford to Hainault shuttle, trains were all two-person operated as the 1970s dawned.
Transport photographer Jim Blake recorded most of the system on film before it would change forever, concentrating on the older rolling stock as well as other items of interest due for replacement or modernisation, during this period when, regrettably, London Transport was often starved of much-needed funds by central government. The eminently sensible transfer of overall control of London’s buses and Underground system to the city-wide Greater London Council at the beginning of 1970 was snatched away by the Thatcher regime in 1984, after which things rapidly went downhill. This book covers the years of GLC control, including the months prior to their taking charge in order to set the scene.
Many rare and unusual scenes are included in this volume, especially of the then still basically intact portion of the uncompleted Northern Line extension between Drayton Park and Highgate, which had been so close to completion when work was halted during the war, but then abandoned in the early 1950s, incurring much wasted work and expenditure.
For anyone with a serious interest in London’s Underground, this book is essential reading, including as it does many previous unpublished photographs.
About the author:
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.
Author - Jim Blake
Publisher - Pen & Sword
Published: November 2023
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