Harry Beck, 1902-1974
Simple name : Person: staff
Collection : People
Reference number : 1996/7354
Henry Charles Beck
Henry C Beck, H C Beck
Preferred name :
Harry Beck is best known as the designer of the London Underground diagrammatic map.
He was born at 14 Wesley Road, Leyton, on the 4th June 1902, to Eleanor Louisa Beck (nee Crouch) and Joshua Beck.
Beck, worked as a draughtsman for London Transport and submitted a new design to illustrate the Underground system in 1931. At first it was rejected, but he resubmitted with minor revisions a year later.
In 1933 Frank Pick gave the design a trial printing. The map simplified the layout of the lines enlarging the central area in relation to the outlying districts and using only vertical, horizontal and 45 degree diagonal lines. Interchange stations were also highlighted. The diagrammatic representation proved to be popular and easily understood by travelers on the Underground. Research into contemporary newspapers has unearthed no comment on the map, indicating that it was widely accepted.
Over subsequent years Henry Beck refined the map as can be seen by the numerous versions in the collection of the London Transport Museum.
Beck also designed a small number of posters for London Transport, and produced sketches and cartoons for the staff magazine.
Henry Beck married Nora Beck, 1933. He started work as a tutor of typography and colour design at the London School of Printing and Kindred Trades in 1947, where he stayed until his retirement. He died on the 18th September 1974 in Southampton.
Date of birth :
Date of death :
- Designed maps and posters for the Underground Group and London Transport : 1931-1949