Looking at the various resources we have about London Underground is a good way of demonstrating the different ways Special Collections can be approached.
Maybe you’re interested in secondary sources on the history of transport in London, or the Underground, or one particular part of it? For that The East London Line and the Thames Tunnel: a brief history could be the pamphlet for you. Don’t forget that we have related primary sources, such as a diorama of the Thames Tunnel (currently on display in the Eastern Gateway Building) and some personal letters from Gilbert Blount, who worked on the building of the Tunnel. Many of the maps of the London area in Special Collections feature the lines of the Underground too.
Or perhaps you’re looking for more information about construction and engineering techniques? Cassell’s Railways of the World (1924) includes details on the invention of the Greathead Shield, which made construction of the deep level tunnels possible. It is still known as the Tube because of the circular nature of those tunnels. Our home railways has a feature on the history and use of electricity on the Metropolitan line (the oldest tube line and the first underground railway in the world). How the Underground works is a small book containing a lot of information about the basics of operation, including construction, track, signalling, power supply, staff and stations. As part of the Channel Tunnel Association Archive, we also have advertising from tunnelling and construction companies.
If politics is more your thing, then the pamphlet Funding London Underground: financial myths and economic realities (2000) published by a campaign on behalf of the London Underground Unions, is worth looking at. Or primary sources, such as a Bill for purchase of land in Camden and Islington around King’s Cross station.
These aren’t the only approaches you could explore. We haven’t discussed creative writing here, as we already have several blog posts about creative writing using Special Collections.
More information about using Special Collections for your dissertation research is also available.