The Morden – Edgware Line #4

The Morden – Edgware Line #4

Continuing the Morden Edgware Line series. So far there’s been three specific Morden Edgware line posts plus one spin off. These are shown below:

Morden-Edgware Line #1
Morden-Edgware Line #2
Morden-Edgware Line #3 (Leicester Square Special)

Woodstock (Brent Cross) on the Edgware Line

Modern-Edgware Line in print (2):

The 1930s-1950s tube maps:

In the previous post the London Underground maps that featured the Morden-Edgware Line were discussed. When one looks at sources there’s some overlap in how the maps are portrayed with a good number being wrongly dated and more than two versions for each year implied. Here’s a full list of the new Beck maps from 1933 to 1937 that featured the Morden-Edgware line:

Beck No.2 – 1933
Beck No.1 – 1934
Beck No.2 – 1934
Beck No.1 – 1935
Beck No.2 – 1935
Beck No.1 – 1936
Beck No.2 – 1936
Beck No.1 – 1937

Beck No.1 – 1933 and Beck No.2 – 1937 which are not in the above list were not Morden-Edgware line maps. The former showed the Edgware, Highgate and Morden line whist the latter depicted the new Northern line name. Some seem to have implied there were three or even four map versions for example in 1933 (eg January, August and December) however by way of counting the actual physical maps that are in an archive, I can only find two official versions for that year and for every subsequent year therein. The extra December map for 1933 for example was a special edition (no different from the No.2 version for that year) for Davis Estates. Other ‘versions’ for those years were simply different print runs, for example in one particular run for the 1934 No.2 map Liverpool Street station is missing whilst in some of the other runs there are various printers’ differences – but there was always an official No.1 and No.2 map for each year.

The 1948 tube map with the various extensions plus some unusual styling seen on parts of the map. This however was basically the plain version of the Double Crown/Quad Royal maps. Twitter.

Beck’s map No.2 for 1937 was different that it came with Northern line for the first time instead of Morden-Edgware, however the interesting thing also on this map were the inprinted line names which were extended out to the terminals along with the new extensions vaunted for the Central and Northern lines. The same style was applied to those up to 1950 after which the maps reverted to what is now the classic system layout (in other words the Northern line extensions were no longer present.)

The 1933-1937 maps were very unusual in terms of how they were designed, and its not until the 1946-47 the 1951-52 maps and the 1956 and 1959 maps that the same styling is repeated. As is almost always the case its was only the Double Crowns/Quad Royals for these years that sported the inline printed names. In regards to the pocket maps, they did use this on the enlarged Central area map. In the case of the 1946-47 maps, most were of the plan style (eg no inprinted line names) however the ones that came with a decorative colourful border (drawn by Charles Shepard) did come with inline printed names and evidently the same was applied to the 1950s ones.

Tube map with the Bakerloo to Camberwell. The thicker line style was a hark back to the earlier Quad Royals with the line names inprinted as they were in Morden-Edgware line days. After those few short years of the Morden-Edgware line in existence London Transport tried returning to using these unusual features seen on the mid 1930s tube maps – but without much success. Twitter.

In Mr. Beck’s Underground Map (pub 1994) the author Ken Garland says these later ones were a throwback to those early Beck maps. Without a doubt the early Beck productions were some of the best ever and therefore its no surprise that these have been honoured time and time again. However many of the later versions during the 1940s and 1950s were not up to the standard of the original works.

The 1950 tube map, which the LT Museum says was Beck’s personal favourite. Camberwell and Ongar feature as yet to be completed tube extensions. However the Mill Hill East to Edgware line has now been removed. This map was perhaps the first official showing the Northern Heights scheme (the New Works Programme) was in trouble. It would not be long before the Northern Heights vanished off the tube map for good.

In the above map the Northern Heights are visible too however this is the state of things in that year – those extensions had been abandoned except Finsbury Park to Highgate and Muswell Hill. That to Camberwell was never begun however its well known that the Bakerloo stations’ train indicators and line maps had Camberwell added in lieu of that. The line from Mill Hill East to Edgware was no longer shown (even though it was upgraded and was still in use for goods trains) and that to Bushey Heath had disappeared altogether. As this was 1950 it would only be a matter of time before London Transport had to announce the Northern Heights extensions were completely over, so no hope of tube trains reaching Alexandra Palace either (even though the infrastructure such as substations, cabling and a number of signals had been largely completed and the fourth rail system installed nearly as far as the palace itself.)

The Northern Heights (New Tube Works programme) scheme was basically the whole point of the Morden-Edgware Line becoming the Northern Line. Morden-Edgware evidently didnt make a lot fo sense to the LPTB because the New Works Programme was so much more. Should it be the Morden-Bushey Line? What about the bit via Mill Hill and that down to Moorgate? The LPTB ultimately deemed a single name would best serve the new tube routes and that meant the Morden-Edgware line (despite its inclusion in early aspects of the New Works Programme such as the new route from Archway to Highgate and Finchley being extolled as a Morden-Edgware line extension) had to go.

Evidently the re-naming of the line as the Northern was a waste, not to mention the millions squandered on the actual construction of the various extensions, only for London Transport to have to retrench on its efforts at completing these (excepting the Central line’s) under pressure from the Government of the day. The Northern Line was never going to be what it was to be extolled as. No wonder so many people are puzzled by the very name itself – Northern Line. Its only if one knows the history the reasons for that name become more clear.

Other Morden-Edgware line references in print:

Another form of Morden-Edgware publicity is evident in this next picture – except it is as some called it the Edgware-Morden Line!

Pre WWII image showing floodgates installed on the Morden-Edgware and Bakerloo lines. Source: Rock Paper Shotgun.


The LPTB no doubt saw the Morden-Edgware line as a true entity – much like its other names tube lines.

The new Leicester Square station was going to be one of the best tube stations on the system. But first the lifts needed to be got rid of and the escalators built down to the Morden-Edgware Line (and also to the Piccadilly line – those particular ones were the longest in the world at the time).

New escalators for the Morden-Edgware line at Charing Cross.

The new Charing Cross escalators for the Morden-Edgware line were built in record time.

Leicester Square station was at the time both the Morden-Edgware and Piccadilly lines’ centrepiece and it was opened just in time for the Silver Jubilee 1935. A special post on the new station was written in August 2023.

Even Ordnance Survey maps recognised the existence of the Morden-Edgware Line!

Another photograph not included in previous posts is the following featuring Chancery Lane station on the Central London Line – originally the Central London Railway and after three years ultimately became the Central Line. That is the same length of time as the Morden-Edgware line was in existence. Chancery Lane station was pretty new in those days & no doubt should have the latest tube maps on display! Evidently this was a photograph taken as soon as the new look tube station had opened in June 1934. It originally opened in 1900 but was rebuilt 1933-34 with escalators and a new ticket hall to replace the old station entrance and lifts.

The map is Beck’s no.2 map of 1933 vintage. Part of the index is hidden however from where this couple are standing they would no doubt been able to see the black tube line on the map was the Morden-Edgware line. Twitter.

Hidden London Hangouts (3rd December 2023) featuring Chalk Farm station depicted a London Underground poster extolling the Morden-Edgware Line! This poster from 1935 detailed trips from Edgware to Chalk Farm, Camden Town to Kennington and Goodge Street to Morden was a poster series with the one in reference known as ‘In No Time By Underground.’

The artist of this poster series was Laurence Bradshaw. His most famous work however was sculpting the Marx memorial which is stood in Highgate Cemetery. Although Hidden London Hangouts claim the artist is unknown its clear it was Bradshaw.

The Laurence Bradshaw poster ‘In No Time By Underground.’

The full colour poster work can be seen on Hidden London Hangouts. and precedes a showing of several other posters all linked to Chalk Farm and mainly of London Zoo – for which the nearest tube stations were either Chalk Farm or Regent’s Park.

Laurence Bradshaw’s other London Underground poster can be seen at the LT Museum as can his other work for Green Line also at LT Museum. The Laurence Bradshaw entry at Wikipedia mentions his various achievements.

In the next posts the line’s renaming is examined and there’s a good bit on the New Works Programme – or the Northern Heights scheme as it was commonly known.

Continued in Part 5.

Updated 3rd December 2023.