As we celebrate Prep’s 134th birthday, we’d also like to celebrate one of our Old Andreans who achieved remarkable things in his lifetime. In fact, there is even has a statue as a tribute to his brilliance in London – one of the only three statues of South Africans (Nelson Mandela and Jan Smats being the other two). James Henry Greathead was a civil engineer renowned for his work on the London Underground railway. He is also the reason that the London Underground is colloquially named “the tube”. Born in Grahamstown on August 6, 1844, James was schooled at Prep. After graduating, Greathead studied Mechanical Engineering and in 1873, became resident engineer on the Hammersmith extension railway and the Richmond extension of the District Railway. But his greatest contribution was when he resumed his involvement in tunnelling, being engaged as engineer on the London (City) & Southwark Subway, later the City & South London Railway which was, when it opened in 1890, the world’s first underground electric railway. A mechanical shield that Greathead had invented made tunnelling deeper, cheaper and safer for the army of workers building the London Underground.