The Medieval Tube Map Turns London Into a Disease-Infested Wonderland

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

With my dodgy eyesight, pathetic inability to take cold showers, questionable geographical knowledge and, ahem, off-white skin, I’m not sure I would have fared particularly well in Medieval Britain. The Medieval Tube map, created by the Londonist, might have made my life slightly more bearable though.

It shows what today’s Tube stations would have been called in the good old days, when your biggest worry wouldn’t have been straying into a mobile signal blackspot, but, you know, trying to stay free of disease.

It’s easy to see (click to make it massive), how many of today’s stops got their names. Take Convent Garden, Maryburne or Hole Bourn, for instance. Football fans will be also tickled by the fact that Wembley used to be called Wemba Lea.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that the DLR and Overground lines have been left off the map. "The former would mostly comprise a long list of variations on 'marshland'; the latter would have driven us crazy," said the creators, who also left out the Waterloo and City line, presumably because nobody uses it.

"The medieval period spans something like 1,000 years, covering the centuries from the Roman withdrawal around 400 AD to the rise of the Tudors in the late 15th century,” they added. "Place names, of course, changed greatly over this time and those on the map were not necessarily all in use at the same time. Where applicable, we've favoured spellings used in the Domesday survey of 1086. Elsewhere, we've taken the earliest recorded version of a place name.

"Many stops on the tube map didn't exist as a dwelling place, but were open fields, woodland or meadow during the Middle Ages. In such cases, we've taken the name of the land owner, or a nearby geographical feature such as a river or hill. We managed to find something convincing for the vast majority of locations. The astute reader, however, will find the occasional difficult fit."

Can we bring back Gaggle Goose Green? [Londonist via Telegraph]