A blue plaque for Harry Beck

Harry Beck, designer of the iconic Tube map, is to be honoured with a blue plaque at his birthplace in east London.

Harry Beck
The blue plaque at 14 Wesley Road

The English Heritage blue plaque is being unveiled at 14 Wesley Road, Leyton, the house in which Beck was born in 1902.

Beck is believed to have lived in the Leyton house for around two years before his family moved to Highgate, where he was educated.

He started working as an engineering draughtsman for London Transport in 1925, and developed the first design for a diagrammatic map in 1931. The map was first published in 1933.

The 1933 London Underground map, by Harry Beck
The 1933 London Underground map, by Harry Beck

This year marks both the 80th anniversary of the first public appearance of Beck’s Tube map, and the 150th anniversary of the opening of the London Underground.

The inscription on the plaque is in the New Johnston typeface, which is used throughout the London Underground system.  New Johnston has also been used on blue plaques for other London Underground figures including Frank Pick, who commissioned design work for the Tube, and Edward Johnston, who developed the Johnston typeface.

Harry Beck
Harry Beck

English Heritage says it has temporarily closed its blue plaque scheme for new applications while it catches up with a ‘backlog’ of installations.

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