Londoners Reni Eddo-Lodge and Emma Watson are collaborating with author Rebecca Solnit and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro to reimagine London’s classic Tube map, in partnership with The WOW Foundation. The new public history project City of London Women will redraw the classic London Underground map by naming each stop after a woman, non-binary person or a group.
The project is inspired by Solnit and Jelly-Schapiro’s acclaimed book Nonstop Metropolis, in which they reworked the New York City subway map to celebrate women who had made their mark on the city. The map then became an iconic poster and sparked numerous conversations about public space, history, gender, feminism, and memory. In 2019, the independent publisher Haymarket Books released a new version of the map with a revised list of station stops. Writing about the second edition of the map, Solnit said:
"How does it impact our imaginations that so many places in so many cities are named after men and so few after women? What kind of landscape do we move through when streets and parks and statues and bridges are gendered … and it’s usually one gender, and not another? What kind of silence arises in places that so seldom speak of and to women? This map was made to sing the praises of the extraordinary women who have, since the beginning, been shapers and heroes of this city that has always been, secretly, a City of Women. And why not the subway? This is a history still emerging from underground, a reminder that it’s all connected, and that we get around."
Now Solnit and Schapiro are partnering with London residents award-winning writer Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race) and actor and activist Emma Watson to create the City of Women London, using Transport for London’s iconic Tube map.
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The creators of City of Women London will work with the WOW community, historians, writers, curators, community organisers, museums, and librarians, as well as crowdsourcing ideas from the public, to create the final map. Haymarket Books will publish the design later this year.
So many remarkable women and non-binary people have made their mark in the greater London area, the list of possible station names is dizzying: Ada Lovelace, April Ashley, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Amy Winehouse, Bushra Nasir, Claudia Jones, Hannah Dadds, Jackie Forster, Jayaben Desai, Jenny Sealey, Jung Chang, the Match Girls, Mary Prince, Mary Seacole, Mary Wollstonecraft, Noor Inayat Khan, Paris Lees, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Sophia Duleep Singh, Tessa Sanderson, Virginia Woolf, Yvette Williams, Zadie Smith, and beyond.
We will never think of the Tube — or public space — the same way again!
Help us produce a map worthy of the city's countless women heroes by leaving your suggestions in the form here.