February 14th, 2010

Blackout: More Gripes

"5p" was not a feasible price to charge in England until 15 February 1971 when "p" was introduced as an abbreviation for new pennies after decimalisation of the currency. Willis's heroines in 1940 have problems with the Victoria and Jubilee lines being unavailable, which they blame on the Luftwaffe. This is a little unfair, because the Victoria line opened in 1968 and the Jubilee line opened in 1979, so they'd have had quite a long wait for their trains even without the Blitz. Even more impressive, one of them manages to catch a Circle line train, seven years before it appeared on Tube maps and nine years before it had any formal existence. There are no circumstances in which a feasible route from Daventry to London by train goes via Hereford. I do not believe (but can't find conclusive evidence) that tokens were used in Underground turnstiles in 1940. I am also dubious about the notion that you could make a blazer out of tweed, but again can't find anything conclusive.

London is not as big as Connie Willis thinks it is. Bomb damage causes one character to have to walk two miles from Stepney to find a bus -- but Stepney is less than two miles from the City, and is also less than two miles from at least a dozen Tube stations on several different lines (even lines that actually existed in 1940). Furthermore, there is no way that the Blitz could disrupt public transport enough for a healthy 24-year-old in a hurry to take three hours getting from Euston to a department store on Oxford Street -- because it takes less than half an hour to walk it.