New writing by Sarah Butler in collaboration with London Underground staff
Available to read online from September 2009
“The Central line draws an invisible line across London – connecting east to west, rising up like the edges of a smile at each end.” Sarah Butler
Writer Sarah Butler is drawn to cities and public spaces where chance encounters and unexpected connections are a daily occurrence. Art on the Underground commissioned Sarah to undertake a six-month residency on the Central line and to collaborate with London Underground staff in creating new writing.
With 45 Central line-managed stations from West Ruislip to Epping and over 183.5million journeys on the line each year, Central line staff have little opportunity to meet and engage with each other. Sarah’s challenge was to develop creative strategies to involve the whole line.
Central line staff guided Sarah, introducing her to their colleagues and recounting personal tales. These initial conversations highlighted a very human desire to communicate through story-telling.
Together these stories offer the reader a glimpse into the rich imaginations, cultures and experiences of the London Underground staff who you may well encounter on your next Central line journey.
Find our more about the project here
The collection of Central line stories publication is available to download here
There are four distinct texts:
Central line whispers: a tale written by 55 staff from 45 stations over five days
Across: 3. To search for (4): a story mirroring the shape of the Central line. The paragraphs can be read in any order and the story contains a puzzle, as the title suggests.
What’s in a name?
A collection of stories, in MP3 audio format, attached to staff names. A transcript of the below audio files are listed in the collection of Central line stories
These stories are all available on the Podcast page.
Meetings with drivers : two short stories inspired by Sarah’s conversations with Tube drivers which are available on the Podcast page.
We wish to extend our thanks to all the London Underground staff for their support and contributions to the project, including Francesca Alaimo, Terry Allan, Michael Barlow, Paul Bennett, Perry Bird, David Bowyer , Angela Breckenridge, Gary Brown, Steve Brown, Stevie Campbell, Trudy Campbell, Juan Carlos Castelo, Robert Carter, Andrew Cunningham, Kwasi Darko, Mark Davidson, Susan Dell, Barry Drew, Liam Doyle, Adeyemi Famujimi, Brian Farrow, Erica Ferreira, Richard French, Andy Fuller, Scott Grant, David Gething, Abul Hassan, Fuad Hassen, James Hislop, Neil Hood, Aquil Hussain, Mohbub Hussain, Jay Jagun, Diana Jordan, Mwara Kung’u, Erald Kuniqi, C. Lawrence, Matthew Lewis, Anthony Leonard, Newman Luke, Tricia Madge, Nichola Malcolm, Mufaro Mapanda, Lisa Massey, Winfield Maynard, Emile Mbeka, Sue McKenzie, Tony McCarthy, Ray McSharry, Guy Mead, Warren Melia, Agustin Mondragon, Elkin Neblett, Lloyd Nelson, Anthony O’Donnell, Ade Olukoya, Joseph Babatunde Osakue, Olubumny Ossai, Dave Osgerby, Banjo Oyewusi, , Matteo Paciletti, Bhupen Pandya, Alan Parkinson, Keith Pearce, Anthony Peltier, Declan Purcell, Stewart Potticary, Ishret Rashid, Colin Rayment, Stephen Rout, Aquil Sayeed, Patrice Scandlyn, Andy Sears, Jerry Semple, Minesh Shah, Kay Shatford, Mike Smith, Peter Starbuck, Alan St Hilaire, Alison Taylor, Charles Taylor, Peter Tollington, Colin Tovey, Seth Twum, Hafsat Usman, Bharat Vagani, Neasha Watts, Chris Weaver, Robert Weedon, Alan Williams and Wade Williams.
Audio stories read by Tessa Nicholson and recorded by Mick Ritchie, sound engineer.
Thanks to Spread the Word for guidance with the project. www.spreadtheword.org.uk
Just read the ‘Central line whispers’ story, thought it was really good; loved the twists, turns and intrigue – especially the ever-so-slightly risqué ending! Staff on the line are clearly an imaginative bunch! Congrats to all the staff and those involved.
I’ve just started to read these – this a wonderful idea, brilliantly executed. As a video artist working mostly with videoblogging, it inspires me all kinds of thoughts about how video could also be used to connect people underground.