The Blue Riband : The Piccadilly Line, Paperback

The Blue Riband : The Piccadilly Line Paperback

Part of the Penguin Underground Lines series

2.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Peter York, co-author of the 80s bestseller, The Sloane Ranger Handbook, charts the progress of the dream of grandeur and aspiration in London - part of a series of twelve books tied to the twelve lines of the London Underground, as Tfl celebrates 150 years of the Tube with Penguin.

It is also available in a boxset. "Authors include the masterly John Lanchester, the children of Kids Company, comic John O'Farrell and social geographer Danny Dorling.

Ranging from the polemical to the fantastical, the personal to the societal, they offer something for every taste.

All experience the city as a cultural phenomenon and notice its nature and its people.

Read individually they're delightful small reads, pulled together they offer a particular portrait of a global city". (Evening Standard). "Exquisitely diverse". (The Times). "Eclectic and broad-minded ...beautifully designed". (Tom Cox, Observer). "A fascinating collection with a wide range of styles and themes.

The design qualities are excellent, as you might expect from Penguin with a consistent look and feel while allowing distinctive covers for each book.

This is a very pleasing set of books." ("A Common Reader blog"). 'The contrasts and transitions between books are as stirring as the books themselves ...A multidimensional literary jigsaw". (Londonist). "A series of short, sharp, city-based vignettes - some personal, some political and some pictorial ...each inimitable author finds that our city is complicated but ultimately connected, full of wit, and just the right amount of grit" (Fabric Magazine). "A collection of beautiful books". (Grazia). Peter York is one of the UK's leading strategic researchers.

As Peter York, the writer, author and broadcaster on social styles and trends, he writes regularly for the Independent and other broadsheets.

His books include co-authoring the 80s bestseller The Sloane Ranger Handbook and Dictators' Homes.

His latest BBC documentary, 'The Rise and Fall of the Ad-Man', was shown on BBC2 in 2011.

He is a Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London.

His latest book Jim Lee: Arrested will be published in May 2012.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Architecture
  • ISBN: 9781846146794



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

For many first time visitors the Piccadilly Line is their introduction to the London Underground, as it is provides fast and easy transport from Heathrow Airport to central London. Service on the line began in December 1906, more than 43 years after the first sub-surface line opened in the capital, and it originally ran from Hammersmith in west London to Finsbury Park in Islington, north and east of the City. The Piccadilly Line passes through some of the most elite areas of the city, including Kensington, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Bloomsbury, and it stops at several areas popular with students and tourists, including Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Russell Square, close to the University of London and the British Museum. Since its creation the Piccadilly Line has been extended to Heathrow Airport and Uxbridge to the West, and Cockfosters to the east, and it is the fourth busiest line on the Underground.The Piccadilly Line was also the focus of the worst attack during the London terrorist attack of July 7, 2005. A bomb was set off on a train traveling from King's Cross St. Pancras station to Russell Square station, which claimed the lives of 26 passengers.In this book, one of 12 published this year by Penguin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, Peter York, a management consultant, broadcaster and newspaper columnist, primarily describes the areas served by the Piccadilly Line rather than talking about the line and its creation. True to his upper middle class heritage he focuses on the wealthiest areas and the people who live there, including well established families, business elites and the global rich, who he fawns over repeatedly. He is quite dismissive of the lower forms that live away from central London in areas such as Hounslow near Heathrow Airport, which he describes as "too poor, too ethnic" and Cockfosters, which is "too small and odd" for his taste. The 2005 bombing was also not worthy of York's attention, unfortunately.<i>The Blue Riband</i> is recommended for anyone who wishes to read about the moneyed classes of London, but those who want to learn about the Piccadilly Line, its lovely stations, such as the Russell Square station, and the Underground are advised to look elsewhere.

Review by

Peter York's contribution to the Penguin series of short books about the London Underground lines is enchanting.He doesn't attempt to describe or even comment upon every stop on the line (there are more than fifty of them, after all) but he does offer some startling insights into the different focal points of the line. I would have liked to have know more about him because many of his observations seem based upon his attempts to buy properties in many of the areas that he described. He has also garnered intriguing insights into London's financial world, in particular the private hedge funds centred around Mayfair and St James's.As a line the Piccadilly certainly covers some varied territory - high spots include Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Green Park and Russell Square, and Peter York has an ample stock of anecdotes about them all. One had the feeling that this small pocket-friendly book could quite easily have been expanded into a full-sized work without risk of depleting York's fund of stories.This little book pulled off the difficult trick of being both informative and entertaining.

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