Harry Beck

0604 NPG 209 Harry Beck

Harry Beck (4 June 1902 – 18 September 1974) was a graphic artist and map designer. An engineering draughtsman at the London Underground Signals Office he began working on a new map of the Underground in his spare time. Inspired by an electrical circuit diagram his stations and interchanges were correctly positioned in relation to each other and a unity created using only vertical and horizontal lines and those at 45 degrees. Ignoring geographical accuracy the central area was shown larger than the outer areas and station names were clearly readable. It was an instant hit when published in 1933 with 700,000 copies; it was reprinted one month after. Beck updated the map regularly but later fell out with Underground management over updates.


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