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Notes from underground

The underground is ethnically diverse, and we like to believe that we all get along. But after I was accused of racism, the bigots came out of the woodwork

By Dan Kuper   December 2005

In the 1950s, London Underground took an enlightened step in multiculturalism and opened a recruiting office in Barbados. Perhaps it was more self-interested than enlightened, since a combination of low wages and postwar full employment had depressed staff recruitment, but the underground did blaze a trail of sorts. A Jamaican high court judge, quoted in Christian Wolmar’s recent Subterranean Railway, says, “I must give credit to London Transport because it was one of the first corporate bodies in England to reduce the barrier to promotion for immigrants.”

Even without actually encouraging immigration, the underground has long been a popular employer…

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