April Fool: Revelations Stun Map Historians (Again)
This didn’t turn up on MapHist until April 2, but I think there’s an even chance that you’ll enjoy it all the same. It’s a riff on Peter Trickett’s claim that the Portuguese discovered Australia, and it apparently comes to us from Imago Mundi picture editor Damien Bove:
Revelations Stun Map Historians (Again)
Previously only known about by a handful of map historians, the so-called “London Underground Map” has never attracted much attention. Although in the past it has been the subject of speculation among academics, its obscure origins and purpose have remained a mystery.
Among the more outlandish theories, there have been suggestions that it is a map of Atlantis, or of the passages inside one of the pyramids. In fact, many of the theories assume the coloured lines represent some sort of tunnel network (possibly in London), but no one has been able to provide any supporting evidence. Academics dismiss wilder speculation, and accuse the authors of these works of “just trying to sell books” [something most academics would never dream of!].
Evidence has emerged, however, which has shaken the foundations of the cartographical history world-and rattled not a few feathers! Professor Bovlomov from www.Quals_4_Less_University.com has unearthed evidence which sheds new light on the real purpose of the “London Underground Map”. The Professor claims that he stumbled upon what may be an early version of the map, astonishingly, while “searching for coins down the back of a bus seat”. After literally minutes of research, followed by some painstaking computer modelling (five minutes in Photoshop), he can now reveal that the map must have been made by Columbus after his discovery of Australia.
By rotating the “LU” map by 180 degrees from its previously accepted North/South Axis, and then stretching some parts while squashing some others, it becomes obvious that the “LU” map perfectly “fits” [a technical term!] the outline of Australia.
Captain Columbus set sail from Whitby in the ‘Beagle’ soon after he had routed the Armada at Trafalgar, in 1215, and reached Australia a few months later. It is thought that he had the map drawn for him, by one Harry Beck, to remind him where he had buried the treasure. Not wanting the map to lead other explorers to find the loot, should the map have fallen into the wrong hands, he instructed Beck to insert all kinds of fictitious roads and placenames — even airports!
In Beck’s hands, Port Philip is renamed Watford — presumably in an attempt to deter would-be looters — Botany Bay is renamed Uxbridge, Perth: Upminster and Albany: Epping. Mystery still remains about the purpose of the zonal markings, but Professor Bovlomov speculates that they might indicate the friendliness — or hostility — of the natives. The Professor believes that Beck may have included a coded message within the map to identify the location of the treasure. ‘Bank’ is dismissed as “too obvious”, and is probably intended to lead the unauthorised holder of the map to a certain death. West Finchley, though, may prove to be the site of the hidden treasure because, as the professor says: “It is obviously a made up name, and was probably invented by Beck as a kind of joke. No one would ever think of going to such a place, let alone living there!” When asked to comment, other experts said it was Barking.