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Pictures and illustrations of the London Underground (plus one horse-drawn omnibus) in the 1890s.

For all of us who every now and then happen to wonder why, while the London Underground is mentioned several times in Doyle’s stories (and one of its first stations was located in Baker Street), there is not a single episode in which Holmes and/or Watson appear to use it for their travels through London, always preferring cabs, instead.

The London Underground is actually the oldest in the world, its first line having opened in 1863. Until 1890, all the trains were pulled by steam locomotives, and even after that year, when the first electric trains made their appearance in the first deep-level tube line, steam locomotives stayed in use on some of the lines for several years more, till the beginning of XX Century.

As you can see from the pictures above, some of the carriages were uncovered. But even the enclosed ones couldn’t protect very much their passengers from the really bad atmosphere which lingered in the galleries notwithstanding the ventilation gaps.

So people who could afford cabs generally - and understandably - preferred to keep travelling above ground as much as possible…