Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837-1905)
If one had to elect the person who has had the single most influence over the shape of London's Underground system, there would be a strong argument for this man from Chicago.
Yerkes owned one of the larger art collections in the United States and was reputed to buy ‘old masters’ as others would buy books. The combination of his mastery of financial manipulation and his love of the arts, was instrumental in bringing together this unlikely partnership on a railway network.
London was ripe for the skills of Yerkes at the turn of the century with the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway virtually moribund in 1901 when its own financiers, the London & Globe, went into administration. Yerkes soon formed a holding company, the Underground Electric Railways of London Ltd, and the Bakerloo was soon joined by, what are now, the District and the then unbuilt Piccadilly Line and west end branch of the Northern Line (the Hampstead Tube).
See Pre-Yerkes Underground Map >>
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