Video: The Secrets Of The Victoria Line

Look carefully at the wall tiles next time you travel on the Victoria Line. They hold many hidden messages and symbols. In this short video, Geoff Marshall travels along the whole route, looking out for unusual patterns, the network’s biggest roundel, vanished station names and other curiosities. Even the most jaded of commuters will find something to enliven their journey.

Geoff Marshall knows a thing or two about the Tube network, having previously held the world record for visiting all the stations in one day. He’s also the brains behind the Station Master App. Geoff’s keen to build on this feature to cover all the Tube lines, so please help spread the word by sharing this video through the usual channels.

Subscribe to the Londonist YouTube channel for regular short films about the capital.

Tags: , , , , ,


Article by Geoff Marshall | 74 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • Simon

    No Oxford Circus?

  • Konstantin

    interesting :)

    but Highbury Islington tube station has a far more exciting past that the old building you showed.

    It used to look as grand as this before the war

  • vickster

    Poor old Vauxhall obviously has nothing interesting about it….

  • Geoff Marshall

    It should be noted that Tottenham Hale and Vauxhall got cut from the final edit or it would have been too long. I did have facts about the but they’re not the best.

    Oxford Circus and Euston I’m hoping to cover when (and if) I do other lines.

    Also, Waterloo & City line is also also completely underground, but how many people consider that a proper tube line? :-) [operationally speaking, it’s part of the Central Line anyway]

    What line would people like me to do next?

    • Kathy May

      do the oldest ones and work forward? :)

    • al

      Enjoyed this, but you can’t really claim it to be every station on the Victoria line then can you? No Tottenham Hale either?

    • Philip

      Metropolitan! Loved the video, can’t wait to see more.

    • Simon Saunders

      Operationally speaking, I thought it was a drain that had been re-purposed but not renamed. 😉

  • Richie

    “Only tube line to run entirely underground” – Waterloo & City anyone?

  • Kathy May

    very interesting, never knew what the tiles, but not think i will have a closer look! thanks for sharing Geoff!!

  • pat86

    What are the directions for the Kings X Victoria line shortcut please? I always get the Northern Line instead because there’s a shorter walk than that long walk down the tunnel from VIctoria line platform to exit. Looked in the video like you follow the signs for the Northern Line?

  • Vix Proctor

    What happen to Oxford Circus and Vauxhall??

    • MattFromLondonist

      As Geoff says above, he’s saving them for when he covers other lines.

      • Lee Hunter

        Vauxhall isn’t on any other tube lines. Can you people not even check the most basic facts? Have you any idea how infuriating it is when people set themselves up as expert representatives of our beloved city and then CAN’T DO THE JOB? You should rename yourselves Londonish because if you were genuine you couldn’t possibly not know this stuff.

        • MattFromLondonist

          True, but he specifically explains why he cut Vauxhall from the mix. “It should be noted that Tottenham Hale and Vauxhall got cut from the final edit or it would have been too long. I did have facts about the but they’re not the best.”

          • outraged

            How much is too long? cant be more than 10 seconds per section, are Londonist Readers supposed to have to short an attention span? Pimlico is covered on the dodgey basis of a light and least used and omit one of the busiest interchanged. Come on try harder! There must be something, from the bus station, the arches, the old pleasure gardens (the new eh hem pleasure gardens, secret tunnels to MI6 ?

          • Neil Evans

            Who’s deciding that something is too long? Did we have to suddenly cut to newsnight or tonight’s Eastenders? No… no, we just had a youtube video on a website, an additional 20 seconds wouldn’t as far as I can see made any difference – well unless some ‘social media expert’ at londonist is desperately trying to keep all londonist content under a specific time to manage page dwell times so all of us with our apparently ludicrously short attention spans don’t wander off and miss some important adverts for coffee or whatever else Londonist is being sponsored by that week.

            Your content is usually so good, it shouldn’t need to be shaped and edited at the expense of the edit promising more than it delivers…

          • Geoff Marshall

            Hey Neil, nothing to do with Londonist holding me back – it’s my own editorial decision to try and keep them to sub 5 minutes, as the internet/youtube age tend to have a short attention span. Note though that when we did the Piccadilly one, we broke our rules and made it 6 mins long!

            there will be a DVD thought later this year with all the extra bits put in that didn’t make the original cut. Hope you’re liking the series though, and watching them all…

          • Neil Evans

            Hi Geoff, thanks for getting back direct – glad to hear it’s not a londonist thing, there’s way to many good blogs/online mags going down the tube, (awful pun), while they click-bait people into dumbed down content!

            DVD sounds awesome, best of luck with that – let us know when it’s out!

  • Iain

    Pat86 – be at the front of the Victoria train coming southbound (or rear northbound) then there’s an exit to your left. Take this then turn right (if coming from the southbound) and then a few yards down on the right is the small staircase Geoff mentions. At the bottom you have the Piccadilly to your right and a short escalator down to the Northern

  • Iain

    just re-read and I wasn’t clear – Northern escalators to your left

  • Stephen Middleton

    Specially loved the tile colour change at Green Park.

  • Kris in Hawaii

    Next time I go I’m heading straight for the Oyster free gate.

  • Onionwoman

    I thought thus was a very interesting and informative video. Next time I am in London I will look out for these tiles.

  • straighttogold09

    Could you still say what the facts were for Tottenham Hale and Vauxhall?

    • Geoff Marshall

      I could, but .. they’re now going to appear in the extended version which we’ll be bringing out on DVD later this year – so you’ll to wait until then!

  • Tom

    Nice one Geoff! Though the 1904 building at Highbury became disused in 1968 as the Victoria Line opened, not 1975.

  • milesaugust

    Loved this, more please….

  • Sue Sparks

    I love these videos. I knew most of this as I have used the Victoria Line for many years. The tip about King’s Cross is true, I discovered it myself after several irritated walks following the official route. There’s another route march at Bank from the DLR to the underground that can be avoided by going the opposite way to the signs. I live in Hong Kong now and I used to think the interchange between the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines at Green Park was a long walk but it’s just a short stroll compared to the distances you have to walk to change lines here!

    • Geoff Marshall

      thanks Sue! have you watched the rest of the series? we’ve made 8 in total so far now, will do all the lines eventually …

      • Sue Sparks

        Yes I have. Gives me a London fix when I’m homesick, though I expect people will think it’s crazy to miss the Underground!

  • Jazz For Hire

    Thank you so much for that short cut advice at Kings Cross – I often have to carry my digital piano down those ridiculously long tunnels, so that really helps! If there’s a quick way to avoid that long tunnel at Green Park, please share – I do that one twice a week!

    • Geoff Marshall

      Yes. Use the escalators up to the ticket hall as if you’re exiting, and then back down to the line that you want. It’s just as quick as walking along the corridors!! and you can stand still whilst holding your heavy keyboard …

  • Soraya Qassem

    Love the videos! I am a London girl living abroad and can’t tell you how much these videos bring a great taste of home and my beloved London. The only piece of feedback I have is that the text that appears on screen with some interesting facts if never there long enough for me to read it, and I’m a fast reader! Keep up the great work, I am glad to know that there are others who are as passionate and interested in the tube as me, as mostly you just hear people complaining.

    • Geoff Marshall

      thanks Soraya. yeah – we try and keep the videos to under five minutes to maintain the interest of the ‘Youtube generation’ which doesn’t leave a lot of time for the captions, we admit! Love that you identify that we do it to recognise that there is a lot more to our system than just complaining about it – one of the things we have tried to do with this series. thanks! Geoff.

  • Chris Walsh

    I took photos of the tiled seat recesses at every station on the Victoria line. See them here (please do – I nearly fell on the tracks taking the shot at Highbury & Islington!):
    I’ve now got a beautiful horizontal poster on my wall featuring all the pictures side by side!

  • Spot

    “Finsbury Park station is the busiest station on the underground, in terms of passengers”. More people through it than Holborn, Oxford Circus, Waterloo, Kings Cross? Hard to believe.