Mapped: The whole of underground Manchester

I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden tunnels and chambers beneath our streets and Manchester has more than its fair share. I bought the book Underground Manchester a few years ago and thought it pretty comprehensively covered this secret world most of us know nothing about. However, a recent article in the Manchester Evening News shows that the city has many more stories to tell.

Mancunian enthusiast Mark Crossfield has spent the last few years putting together Hidden Manchester – a site dedicated to his love of the Manchester Underground. The MEN article contains a few good examples, but I thoroughly recommend a look at the site as it is packed with information.

Cartographically, it is not very exciting – just a push-pin overlay on a satellite basemap – but all the features have popup information with links for further reading. There isn’t any attribution on the basemap (I think it’s Google) and it doesn’t seem to be possible to switch to a vector map instead of imagery or turn on a street labelling layer either, but this map is definitely more about content than presentation. The sources page is full of interesting links and is probably worth the price of admission alone. There is certainly enough here to keep me quiet for some time.


Tubular Fells

Spotted in the window of a Keswick bookshop:

Wainwright map

‘Tubular Fells’: All 214 Wainwrights on one colourful poster!

There is an endless amount of recycling in popular culture, from tv and movie remakes, to pop bands covering and re-covering old hits, to “Keep Calm and Carrry On” (which seems to be everywhere), to Harry Beck‘s famous tube map.

Often the imitators are of a lower quality or completely miss the point of the original. For example, the ‘Keep Calm’ poster’s great strength is not only its simplicity, but the choice of font, Gill Sans. Some of the reproductions use a different font, so don’t have the same impact.

There have been many reworkings of the tube map, and one of the earliest (and I think most successful)  was Simon Patterson’s ‘The Great Bear’. Stations were renamed after famous people and lines given themes such as explorers, philosophers, comedians, etc. The artist has obviously put a lot of thought into these, as some people fall into more than one category (for example, Gary Lineker was at the intersection of footballers and artists).

A little less thought has gone into the Wainwright poster though. The map is nicely and simply laid out, and I like how the Lakes have been generalized into rectangles, but I’m struggling a bit with the map’s actual purpose. I haven’t looked at a Wainwright book for a few years, but as far as I remember, each book contained a number of different walks over the peaks in a certain area (with the exceptions of the Cumbria Way and Coast to Coast of course). I don’t think each book showed just one continuous route over every summit, which is where the tube map analogy falls down.

Then again, maybe I’m just finding fault where there isn’t any. It’s certainly a lot better than this “map”:

Direction map

I think I’d need another map just to work out where it is. Oh well, at least they’ve given the postcode, so you can put it in your satnav…