Mind your p’s and queues

On 9 January 1863, the first tube train ride took place. Have you ever wondered where some of the names of one of the busiest Underground stations in the world came from? Was there an Elephant that lived in a Castle? Who Burnt the Oak tree down and what’s with this Chalk Farm? Why do they constantly tell you to mind the gap? Here’s a look at some of the names of the London Underground and facts that you might not know.

  • The first reigning monarch to ride the Tube was Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen took the inaugural ride on the Victoria line.
  • Elephant and Castle: the name of the station came from a popular 18th-century pub which had a sign that was posted it which showed an elephant with a ‘castle’ on its back. Some are of the belief that the ‘castle’ was actually a howdah (a seat that is traditionally placed on the elephant’s back). In the Twelfth Night (Act 3, Scene 3), Shakespeare writes about the ‘Elephant’ pub. The Elephant pub has been rebuilt numerous times and can be found at the junction of New Kent Road and Newington Causeway. The Elephant & Castle station officially opened in 1906.
Elephant and Castle. Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_and_Castle
  • Liverpool street: was named in honour of Lord Liverpool, who was the youngest and longest Prime Minister from 1812–1827.
  • Canning town: which is found on the Jubilee Line is said to have been named after Charles John Canning; governor general of India. He was who was said to have quashed the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
  • Warren Street: found on the Victoria Line was named after Anne Warren, who married Charles Fitzroy, a local land-owner in the 18th century.
  • Marble Arch: is a ‘white marble faced triumphal arch’ constructed out of marble. It was first constructed in 1827 in front of Buckingham Palace, during the reign of George IV, but was dismantled ( due to Queen Victoria’s dislike for it) and relocated in 1851. It is said that only members of the Royal Family, the King’s Troop and the Royal Horse Artillery could pass through the arch.
  • Rayners Lane: can be found on the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines, and is said to have been named after a local farmer called Daniel Rayner. The Metropolitan Line is constructed on land that was owned by Mr. Rayner.
Rayners Station. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
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