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This year, the Tube is celebrating its 150th birthday. The Tube was the world’s first underground railway, and made a huge difference to the way people travelled in London. Here are some London museums where you can find out more about the Tube’s history.
London Transport Museum
Your first stop for any transport-related tourism. At the London Transport Museum you can find out all about the world’s first underground railway, learn about its famous roundel logo and pick up Tube merchandise in the shop, from Tube map iPad covers to books about the Tube.
The museum is great for kids, with plenty of interactive exhibits, including vintage buses to climb on and a simulator giving you the chance to drive a Tube train. This year, the museum is hosting a special anniversary exhibition about poster art on the Tube and has a programme of special events to mark the 150th anniversary.
London Transport Museum Depot at Acton
If the London Transport Museum whets your appetite, head to the museum’s store in West London where you can see the rest of the collection which is not in display in the main museum. There are more than 370,000 objects here, including vehicles, signs, posters, uniforms and photographs. The depot is not open every day and can only be visited on a guided tour or during open weekends. This year’s open weekends are in April and October.
The Tube isn’t the only London icon celebrating a big birthday this year; the Thames Tunnel, which connects Rotherhithe and Wapping, turns 170. Built by Marc Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this is the oldest tunnel in London.
It was designed to carry cargo from one side of the river to the other, but that proved too expensive and so the tunnel opened instead as a tourist attraction in 1843, with visitors paying a penny to walk beneath the river.
In 1869, the first passenger trains ran through the tunnel. It was later used as part of the East London Underground line and is now part of the London Overground. Take one of the Brunel Museum’s excellent guided tours, where you can enter the Grand Entrance Hall of the tunnel.
Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands
At these two museums, you can learn about the Tube’s construction and how it affected a growing city. At the Museum of London’s People’s City gallery, which looks at the rapid expansion of the city between the 1850s and 1950s, you can find out how the Tube and new technologies in transport transformed the way people navigated the city.
Over at the Museum of London Docklands, the New Port, New City gallery examines how the docklands area has boomed in the past few decades, including the building of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). You can also see part of a DLR carriage on display.
Have we missed anything? Let us know where else you can learn about the Tube