Tuesday 5 October 2010

R.D.Blumenfeld on the Underground

Thursday, June 23rd, 1887

I had my first experience of Hades to-day, and if the real thing is to be like that I shall never do anything wrong. I got into the Underground railway at Baker Street affter leaving Archibald Forbes' house. I wanted to go to Moorgate Street in the City. It was very warm - for London, at least. The compartment in which I sat was filled with passengers who were smoking pipes, as is the British habit, and as the smoke and sulphur from the engine fill the tunnel, all the windows have to be closed. The atmosphere wa a mixture of sulphur, coal dust and foul fumes from the oil lamp above; so that by the time we reached Moorgate Street I was near dead of asphyxiation and heat. I should think these Underground railways must soon be discontinued, for they are a menace to health. A few minutes earlier can be no consideration, since hansom cabs and omnibuses, carried by the swiftest horses I have seen anywhere, do the work most satisfactorily.

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