Hot In The City

By Rob Last edited 155 months ago
Hot In The City

So it's hot. You may have noticed.

London Underground certainly have as they've rolled out their annual "Beat the Heat" message, encouraging passengers to carry a bottle of water with them or not use the tube if they're feeling unwell.

Sound advice, but certainly no substitution for a permanent cooling solution, the absence of which must fall squarely on the shoulders of us, Joe Public.

In July 2003 London Mayor Ken Livingstone challenged the public to come up with innovative ways of keeping the Tube cool, with a total prize fund of £100,000 for the winner or winners.

We failed them.

There were over 3,500 entries, none of which met London Underground's criteria, or as they put it:

"Unfortunately, no one has come up with a practical, workable solution beyond anything we have already examined or were working on. What this demonstrates is that cooling the Tube is a very complex issue that will not be resolved easily or quickly. We're investing more than ever before and continue to examine ways of cooling the Tube, within the limitations of the infrastructure we inherited."

Now is it just us, or is that kind of, you know, really, really, patronising?

"Nobody told us anything we didn't already know, you might think there's a simple solution but it's not that easy, and by the way, not our fault, it was like this when we found it."

Last Updated 23 June 2005


It's incredibly patronising. It's even more insulting to scientists and engineers. And just what did they expect us to come up with that they "hadn't already looked into"?

"Hi, I have been developing a supercooling process in my front garden (sorry about the mess, number 14) that can bring the temperature of water down to -38 degrees without it reaching dynamic arrest. Oh, and it's rat-powered. Just couldn't think of an application before I saw your contest. Here's the patent." Twats.

Kevin Laurence

Canada is a cool place. Perhaps the London Underground should consult this Canadian engineering student: Can't Afford an Air Conditioner? Make One (

But then again, perhaps they did! (


I notice London Underground carefully avoid mentioning money in their statement. What the public failed to do for them was to provide a cheap solution. They should at least be open and honest about that.