TfL has on Tuesday launched a reimagined version of the Tube map featuring the names of trailblazing women to mark International Women’s Day.
In addition to well-known figures such as Florence Nightingale, Amy Winehouse and Emmeline Pankhurst, the map also invites Londoners to celebrate women from TfL’s history such as Hannah Dadds, the first woman to become a Tube driver, and Jill Viner — the first female London bus driver.
The project is the brainchild of Reni Eddo-Lodge, author of best-selling book Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, and actress Emma Watson, who were inspired by a similar project in New York by Rebecca Solnit.
Reni Eddo-Lodge said: “As a Londoner, I’ve walked the streets of this city for decades, not conscious of the fact that so many of the city’s place names have a fascinating etymology. These iconic places are named after pubs, and parks, gates and members of the monarchy, but I was excited to give the map a feminist refresh. Our map switches the focus to women and non-binary people, contemporary and historic, who have made indelible marks on the city’s trajectory. I hope it helps you think about your surroundings differently!”
In addition to the reimagined Tube map, TfL has also launched a six-week exhibition at Victoria station featuring portraits of some of the women who work to keep London’s transport network moving.
With the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day being “break the bias”, TfL has said it hopes the exhibition will inspire more women to consider a career in transport.
The poster display will be available to view as passengers move between platforms at Victoria station.
Oxford Circus is renamed Evelyn Mary Dove. She was a singer and actress. Between 1939 and 1949 she worked for the BBC, starring in many radio shows, and in the late 1950s she appeared on television and starred in a number of West End musicals.
Euston Square is renamed Noor Inayat Khan. She was also known as Nora Baker, and was a radio operator and special operations officer for the British Forces during World War II. Noor spent much of her childhood in Paris, the child of Hazarat Inayat Khan, a Sufi religious teacher, and his wife Ora Ray Baker. With the onset of the Second World War, her family were forced to flee to Britain. Noor enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and trained as a radio operator, using the name Nora Baker to disguise her Indian parentage. Under the codename Madeleine, Khan was flown to occupied France in June 1943 with a false identity and cover story. In July of that year her network was compromised, and Noor was arrested and later executed at Dachau. She received posthumous honours including the French Croix de Guerre, an MBE and the George Cross.
Warren Street is renamed Virginia Woolf. She is recognised as one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century. A novelist and prolific writer of essays, diaries, letters and biographies, she is also known for being a central member of the inter-war Bloomsbury Group. Her writing explores many of the central ideas of modernism — the fast-changing world of the 20th century, the city, time, memory and the subconscious mind.
Goodge Street is renamed Mary Prince. She was a freed slave, writer and abolitionist, who became the first black woman in Britain to write an autobiography, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, published in 1831. Born enslaved, Prince was brought to England by final owner, John Adams Wood in 1828. She emancipated herself in 1829, leaving the Woods’ household and engaging with the Anti-Slavery Society. She was then employed by Thomas Pringle, who helped her to publish her autobiography. Prince’s life after the publication of her book is unknown; however the story provided an important black female perspective within the abolitionist movement.
Tottenham Court Road is renamed Elizabeth Jesser Reid. She was an abolitionist, philanthropist, and founder of Bedford College in Bloomsbury. Reid was the daughter of a wealthy Unitarian ironmonger. In 1821 she married John Reid, a physician, who died thirteen months later. Her husband’s death left her with a substantial independent income, which she used for charitable purposes. She knew many American anti- slavery campaigners, attending the General Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840, and was friends with Sarah Parker Remond, the first Black woman to undertake a lecture tour on the subject of slavery in Britain. In 1849 she founded Bedford College, the first higher education college for women in Britain.