A Bizarre Map Of 'The World's First Clockwork Underground'

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 36 months ago
A Bizarre Map Of 'The World's First Clockwork Underground'
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You've probably never seen a map of the Chesham Underground—the world's first clockwork-powered train network. That's because artist Mark Cowie just made it up.

So when Cowie says the Clockwork Underground opened in 1759, that it was discovered buried deep in the Chiltern Hills, and that it worked by having a group of 'winders' employed at every station, he's, er, winding us up.

Take everything Mark Cowie says with a pinch of salt.

How did he come up with this off-kilter concept? "It was essentially a lockdown project. Sit watching endless TV, or create a fictional clockwork railway," Cowie tells Londonist.

We admire the barmy annotations and non-sequiturs, such as the, ahem, "fact" that the average commuter wore bicorn hats en route to the office, and that trains featured an à la carte dining menu, subject to food rationing.

That's almost as fast as the Bakerloo line

Cowie has previous form with these kooky illustrations; we've covered his mischievously misleading histories, and fake news football maps claiming that Martin Clunes used to play for QPR (I mean, we assume that's not true).

The artist is now working on a London version of the Clockwork Underground, which we can't wait to see. In the meantime, you can buy A3 colour prints of this map and others for £20 plus delivery. Contact the artist on his Instagram @tonyhantz, or email cowieandhantz@gmail.com. Zone 9 residents get free delivery.

Last Updated 15 September 2020