London's amazing underground infrastructure revealed in vintage cutaway maps

Londonist's roundup of cutaway maps — many from the outstanding Transport Museum in Covent Garden — combines the nerdy excitement of hidden tunnels with the aesthetic pleasure of isomorophic cutaway art, along with some interesting commentary on both the development of subterranean tunnels and works and the history of representing the built environment underground in two-dimension artwork.

The cutaway diagram has its roots in the Renaissance, where illustrators sought to explain subterranean mining through printed works. Those simple drawings became ever more complex as our technology and our places became harder to explain. It was in the 20th century that cutaways became most popular, as demand for education and explanation of transport networks and technology rose.

London, having such an incredible array of transport infrastructure — much of it below ground — has therefore yielded a remarkable quantity of cutaway diagrams. They have been produced for children, for professionals, for the public, for government — each with a different objective in mind.

London's Hidden Tunnels Revealed In Amazing Cutaways
[Tim Dunn/Londonist]

(via Dan Hon)