London lights up in the dark
It's November, it might be dark as we leave work, but London lights up in a whole new way this time of year.
And we also commemorate a lighting up of the deepest depths of London too.
It was 4th November 1890 when the city saw the opening of Londonâ€™s first deep level underground line. The City & South London Electric Railway was opened by the Price of Wales, who traveled the three miles from Monument under the Thames to Stockwell. The journey took 12 minutes and was a landmark in Londonâ€™s history.
At this stage in the Tube's life there were other underground systems that used steam, but this line was the first electric version, avoiding the hell like conditions of the steam and smoke of other lines.
Interestingly it was also considered revolutionary in its customer service approach. One newspaper reported:
â€œThe nuisance of ticket buying is done away with. An impatient traveller on one side of a square hole and an unsympathetic clerk on the other will never be seen at the City and Stockwell stations. A turnstile will do all the work; and there is to be only one fare â€“ two pence.â€
Even the Prince on opening hoped "its success would grow and allow many working men to commute into the city". Iâ€™m sure he would never have dreamed of the contactless ease of tapping through the barriers that millions of London commuters â€˜enjoyâ€™ today. Although the cut price fares are long gone.
And it was eventually those bargain fares lost that brought the company to its knees. The CSLER went bankrupt in 1913 and this landmark line was swallowed up by the Underground group (eventually the London Underground). This line forms part of todayâ€™s much longer Northern Line.