London underground cars become creative space
Village Underground is socially driven, a charitable organisation and environmentally conscious. Commercial uses directly support the production of new creative work and emerging cultural practitioners. This essential balance allows us to act as a stage – facilitating a vibrant and diverse cross section of creative endeavour, cultural hybrid and artistic collaboration.
Now my first reaction to this image was “But those are new cars” which is just me betraying my age. Any underground train that has been introduced during my lifetime seems new to me, since when I started using it some of the cars were then well over 40 years old, and clearly betrayed the American origins of their first owners. Because the London Underground was financed in the early 1900s by Charles Tyson Yerkes of Chicago – which is also why they are still called “cars” in the American style and not carriages.
But London’s Undergound is never referred to as a “subway” (which is what Spacing Toronto does) – which is what the English call the short passages constructed to take pedestrains underneath the road to cross the street.
The dimensions of these aluminium cars are small because the tube tunnels were made as small as possible to keep construction costs down. The first Underground Railway was built by cut and cover (now known as the Metropolitan, Circle and District lines) and the cars on those lines are closer in size to conventional trains. I suppose that the project just had to take what was available, but the re-use seems to have made the most of the limited headroom. It certainly seems to be a creative use and arguably, in my mind, better that they be inhabited by people than fish.