Peter Burgess' "Tubular Fells" is an ingenious and playful Lakeland adaptation of Harry Beck's iconic map of the London underground, devised in 1933. Indicating all 214 of Wainwright's fells, and color coded to correspond with AW's seven "Pictorial Guides," Burgess' "Fells" map, upon first glance, might well be mistaken for Beck's London underground.
As reporter Henry Chu has noted, Beck's "simple yet elegant diagram of the 249-mile subway network is hailed as one of the great images of the twentieth century, a marvel of graphic design." An electrical draftsman, Beck was said to have been inspired by electric-circuit diagrams; he "straightened out the lines, drew only 45- and 90-degree angles and truncated distances between stations"-- the same principles applied by Burgess in "Tubular Fells." Of course, this map does not accurately represent either the relative distances between fells or their precise orientation to one another. Notwithstanding, it likely offers a more comprehensible instant grasp of the whole field of Lakeland's fells than the more accurate and detailed Ordnance Survey maps. As Chu remarks, "If the Tube is how people get around London, the Tube map is how many conceive of this sprawling city, their sense of its geography shaped--and sometimes warped--by the drawing's steamlined, reductive layout." Other cities--Sydney and New York, to name two--have found the London Tube map, with its pleasingly parallel lines, its interchanges and its local stations, useful enough to adapt to their own transit systems.
Watching Lakeland travel videos while exercising on the treadmill, I often glance aside at the "Tubular Fells" map on the wall to keep myself oriented. Sometimes I can even do this without falling off.
Larry B | Ventura, California | October 2018