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"It’s a bit odd that the greatest British invention of the 19th century – the railway – was largely housed in mock-medieval stations. St Pancras and the neighbouring Midland Grand Hotel are marvellous buildings, but how strange that they’re designed like a 13th-century cloth hall in Ypres. John Betjeman pointed out that Liverpool Street Station was even built on the plan of a Gothic cathedral – with the canteen where the altar should be.
Something different happened with the London Underground, which celebrates its 150th birthday next year, commemorated in a new book, Underground: How the Tube Shaped London by David Bownes, Oliver Green and Sam Mullins. We British aren’t usually much good at anything avant-garde, but the Tube’s designs were utterly modern. Even though the old infrastructure is creaking, the union demands outdated, and the carriages packed, Tube style remains astonishingly fresh."