Rather than section the book into traditional areas such as the West End, South Bank and City, Sams instead clusters her facts and features around the stations of a Tube map. It’s a simple idea, and one that will work particularly well for newcomers to the city, who are likely to navigate by the underground.
Sensibly, the scope is limited to Zone 1 Tube stations (now we’ll never know what delights await at Dagenham Heathway). Each stop gets a page or three detailing the local highlights round each station.
The tone is pitch perfect. While all the tried-and-tested historical bases are covered, Tube London goes one step further than the average guide by mustering more recent tidbits. So, for example, we find out about Bob the ginger cat in the entry for Angel; we read about guerilla gardeners and the Strata Tower in the discussion about Elephant and Castle; and the jelly baby statues at Marble Arch get as much space as nearby Achilles.
The content, then, is more than a match for any similar book on the market, while the clever format should see Tube London become a popular favourite among Oyster-wielding visitors and inquisitive locals alike.
Tube London by Rebecca Sams is out now from Capital History. Buy here.
Not content with a book about London, the author recently set up the Love London Hate London website, where you’re encouraged to share the best and worst the capital has to offer. Give it a try.