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Date updated: 30/07/2020

From lost rivers to underground railways, deep shelters to sewers, the sprawling network of tunnels and spaces under London are a subject of fascination and fear. They support our life on the surface, keeping us moving and providing essential services, and yet we know comparatively little about the extent or depth of the city that lies beneath us.

Image showing the Chralton Chalk Pit sewer in the mid twentieth century
Charlton Chalk Pit sewer, 1964

Under Ground London at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) explored our relationship with the subterranean capital, exploring hundreds of years of documents, images and plans to tell the story of the underground city, as well as some of the enduring legends that have risen from the darkness down below.

Explore more images of London Under Ground

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of London’s less celebrated heroes, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the exhibition uncovered the system of sewers he designed to save London from the Great Stink. It explored the first tunnel under the Thames, the development of the first ‘underground’ railway and the first tube line, which might not be quite what you expect.

Under Ground London dug into the collections at LMA and revealed what lies beneath the capital, presenting original documents, maps, images and films which record the development of, and our relationship with, the subterranean city.