As part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, Black Cultural Archives has partnered with Transport for London to launch a tube map celebrating the histories of Black people in the UK.

Black History Tube Map
© TfL, from the London Transport Museum collection
Joe Clough, 1887-1977

The reimagined map, replaces station names across the usual Tube map with notable Black people throughout Black British history, with the associated Tube lines renamed to link them together by common themes – Firsts and Trailblazers; Georgians; Sports; Arts; LGBTQ+; Physicians; Performers; Literary World and Community Organisers.

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Fascinating figures from Black British history can be found on the map, such as:

  • Princess Omo-Oba Adenrele Ademola was a Nigerian princess and nurse. She trained as a nurse in London in the 1930s living in Africa Hostel in Camden Town – an important social and political scene for West Africans in Britain.
  • Cecile Nobrega – an accomplished classical composer, poet, sculptor and educator who led a 15-year campaign to establish a monument in Stockwell Memorial Gardens, Bronze Woman, the first public monument to Black women to be on permanent display in England, who replaces St Paul’s station.
  • HMS Queen Charlotte’s sailor and ‘captain of the fore-top’ William Brown, the first Black woman to serve in the Royal Navy by disguising herself as a man, who replaces Barons Court station.
  • Norwich born Pablo Fanque, equestrian extraordinaire and hugely successful Victorian circus owner, immortalised in The Beatles song “Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!” who replaces Embankment station.
  • Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta OBE was a Nigerian-born pioneering novelist, based in the UK from 1962. After her husband burned the manuscript of her first novel, she left him, raising her five children alone – working at the British Museum by day and studying for a Sociology degree at night.
  • Claudia Jones, a feminist, political activist and pioneering journalist who was the co-founder of Notting Hill Carnival, who replaces Camden Town station.
  • Joe Clough, who made his first home in London and in 1910 Joe became London Transport’s first Black motorbus driver, who replaces Elm Park station.

Remembering Buchi Emecheta, OBE

Black History Tube Map
Black History Tube Map

The reimagined map visually shows how Black people have contributed to and been a part of British life for thousands of years. All 272 names and places featured on the Black History Tube map were researched by public historian Kelly Foster and Black Cultural Archives.

Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British History, conceived in 1981 to be a repository and museum of histories of people from across the African diaspora in British culture and history.

Speaking about the Black History Tube map, Arike Oke, Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives, said: “London’s Black history is deeply embedded in its streets and neighbourhoods. We’re delighted, as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, to use this opportunity to share new and old stories about Black history with Londoners and visitors to London. We hope that the map will be an invitation to find out more and to explore.”

Black History Tube Map
© TfL, from the London Transport Museum collection
Princess Ademola, 1916-unknown

While Marcia Williams, TFL’s Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent, said: “Black people have played a significant role in all aspects of British life for thousands of years. From civil rights, art, and transport to medicine and journalism.

“It is fantastic to see the true scale and breadth of this contribution commemorated on TfL’s iconic Tube map – a symbol so synonymous with London and the UK.”

The Black History Tube map will be available to buy as a poster online in person at Black Cultural Archives in Brixton and via their online shop.

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