Transport for London (TfL) has teamed up with Black Cultural Archives to launch the first ever Black History Tube map, celebrating the rich and varied contribution Black people have made to London and the UK from pre-Tudor times to the present day.
The reimagined map, which can be viewed at www.tfl.gov.uk/Black-history-map, replaces station names across the iconic Tube map with notable Black people from history, with the associated Tube lines renamed to link them together by common themes – Firsts and Trailblazers; Georgians; Sports; Arts; LGBTQ+; Physicians; Performers; Literary World and Community Organisers. By doing so, the map aims to highlight how Black people have played an intrinsic role in all parts of British life for thousands of years.
The Map was created in partnership with Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, which is the home of Black British History, conceived in 1981 as a monument to hold space for, and collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK to inspire and give strength to individuals, communities and society.
Fascinating figures from Black British history can be found on the map, such as:
- Cecile Nobrega – an accomplished classical composer, poet, sculptor and educator who led a 15-year campaign to establish a monument in Stockwell Memorial Gardens, Bronze Woman, the first public monument to Black women to be on permanent display in England, who replaces St Paul’s station
- HMS Queen Charlotte’s sailor and ‘captain of the fore-top’ William Brown, the first Black woman to serve in the Royal Navy by disguising herself as a man, who replaces Barons Court station;
- Norwich born Pablo Fanque, equestrian extraordinaire and hugely successful Victorian circus owner, immortalised in The Beatles song “Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!” who replaces Embankment station;
- Jamaican born settler to Edinburgh John Edmonstone who taught Charles Darwin taxidermy, who replaces Upminster Bridge station
- Claudia Jones, a feminist, political activist and pioneering journalist who was the co-founder of Notting Hill Carnival, who replaces Camden Town station
- Joe Clough, who made his first home in London and in 1910 Joe became London Transport’s first Black motorbus driver, who replaces Elm Park station.
The unique map will be available to buy as a poster online in person at Black Cultural Archives in Brixton and via their online shop https://blackculturalarchives.org/shop
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Black History is London’s history and this reimagination of the iconic Tube map celebrates the enormous contribution Black people have made, and continue to make, to the success of our city.
“I’m determined to create a more equal city where Black lives truly matter. This starts with education and that’s why this new Black History Tube Map is so important. It gives us all the chance to acknowledge, celebrate and learn about some of the incredible Black trailblazers, artists, physicians, journalists and civil rights campaigners who have made such significant contributions to life in the capital, as well as our country as a whole.”
Marcia Williams, Transport for London’s Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent, said: “Black people have played a significant role in all aspects of British life for thousands of years. From civil rights, art, and transport, to medicine and journalism. It is fantastic to see the true scale and breadth of this contribution commemorated on TfL’s iconic Tube map – a symbol so synonymous with London and the UK.”
Arike Oke, Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives said: “London’s Black history is deeply embedded in its streets and neighbourhoods. We’re delighted, as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, to use this opportunity to share new and old stories about Black history with Londoners and visitors to London. We hope that the map will be an invitation to find out more and to explore.”
Across London a near-normal service continues across the public transport network and customers can plan their journeys and check for the latest service information through TfL travel tools including the free TfL Go app. TfL Go enables customers to access live updates and train times for every station, as well as real time information on how busy London Underground stations are throughout the day to help customers choose the quieter times to travel.
An enhanced cleaning regime also continues to be implemented to ensure the network is cleaner than ever, with trains, trams, buses and stations cleaned with hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and provide ongoing protection. More than 1,100 hand sanitisers are installed across the network, and at least 200 UV light devices are continually sanitising escalator handrails.
Customers are also reminded that they need to wear a face covering on TfL services and stations under TfL’s condition of carriage, unless they are exempt. Across the network there are more than 500 uniformed officers undertaking compliance activity across London, with non-exempt customers who fail to comply may be refused travel.
TfL is also playing a key part in the Mayor’s #LetsDoLondon campaign, the biggest domestic tourism campaign London has seen, inviting Londoners and people all over the country to safely come back to the capital and take advantage of our world class cultural attractions.
For more information, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/Black-history-map
Photo credit: Transport for London