A LYMM history enthusiast has created maps detailing the ‘underground’ network of Cheshire towns.

The novelty designs, by self-confessed ‘map nerd’ and history enthusiast Mike Cochrane, meticulously link streets and landmarks in the style of Harry Beck’s iconic ‘London Underground’ linear map.

The colourful designs are so well-researched – with each map taking around a month to formulate – that Mike has regularly had to tell customers that they are not, in fact, real representations of a secret Cheshire tube system.

The 50-year-old HR expert from Lymm said: “Map nerds like me are interested in the London Underground map because it’s a design classic.

“I did one of Lymm about two years ago, and thought I might do a few more. I ended up selling a couple of hundred, so then I realised that they were only going to sell in Lymm. My next step was to do football maps – I would rejig it and put players and trophies on it.

“I do artisan markets as well, so wherever I go – to make it a bit more relevant and interesting – I do geographical ones for that area.

“It’s all a bit of a laugh but because it’s an iconic design that’s why people like them.

“I have always been interested in maps, like a lot of blokes are I suppose. I “It’s not something I would be prepared to admit down the pub but it’s true. That, combined with an interest in sport, was a good way to get started and put it all together.”

With Knutsford and Wilmslow now firmly ‘on the map’, Mike has also charted the histories of Manchester City and United – with all variations for sale at his online store tubeart.co.uk as well as at Makers Markets.

Having kick-started the venture during his spare time while freelancing two years ago, the business has now gone full-time with Mike – of no trained artistic background – quitting his job to focus on researching and designing.

He said: “They do well. I do it full-time now, and there is a never-ending supply of teams of towns so I have always got stuff on the go.

“I had been thinking idly on it for years but always thought people wouldn’t want to look at them.

“I went for it and it’s turned out well.”

  • Keep up with his work at tubeart.com