'A generation hence London will be completely transformed, some people will think nothing of living twenty or more miles from town owing to electrified trains'
– Charles Tyson Yerkes in 1900
From the mid 1850s, London’s rising population and growing street congestion were making urban transport a major problem, and so an innovative new transport idea was developed – the London Underground. The first line of this new system to be built was the Metropolitan Line, which opened in 1863 and ran from Paddington to Farringdon. The development of a system for digging deep-level railways under London offered the potential for expansion; and, by 1892, six proposals for new underground lines were put before Parliament.
The Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway Company was set up the following year with the intention of building an underground railway from Charing Cross to Heath Street in Hampstead. Due to lack of funding, however, this project was shelved until 1900, when American businessman Charles Tyson Yerkes bought the company.