Collecting for 2013 – Women and the Tube

The role that women play at Transport for London, and in particular London Underground, was one of the themes the Museum wanted to explore during this year’s collaborative collecting project. TfL graduate trainee Laura Sullivan, who currently works in the planning department at London Underground, signed up to be one of the Museum’s community collectors for the LU150 project. Laura is a member of the TfL Women’s Staff Network Group and was keen to explore the ways in which the other members could contribute to the LU150 contemporary story for the Museum. We decided that attending the International Women’s Day celebrations on March 8th was an ideal opportunity to meet lots of the women, allowing us to capture their experiences of working for TfL.

Photographers Heather McDonough and Rod Morris came along, capturing beautiful portraits of around 30 members of staff. Everyone who took part was also asked two questions:

– what does working for Transport for London mean to you?

– what are your hopes for the future with regards to women’s roles at Transport for London?

The responses were varied and very interesting. They included:

” I love being part of something everyone in London has an opinion about – whether positive or negative – it means I am working on a railway that people care about, and I can make a difference.”

” TfL is such a key part of London and it makes me proud to be working for the organisation. I see myself as an ambassador for the organisation and if anybody criticises its services I give them the facts and figures, to make them understand the enormity of what we do.”

” I feel like I am part of something important. How rare is it that millions of people see the result of your hard work every day?”

” I think the future is very bright for women at TfL. We have the opportunity to contribute to making TfL a world class organisation that we can all be proud of.”

” That there will be no barriers, perceived or otherwise, to doing any job at TfL. I’m looking forward to the first female managing director!”

The Museum is going to add the portraits along with the responses to our permanent collection, as a record of what it’s like to be a woman at the Tube at 150 years.

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Paintings in Hospitals

The Paintings in Hospitals project, another strand of the Access to Art project, is a collaboration between the museum, the charity Paintings in Hospitals, Orleans House Gallery and Richmond Carers. As part of the project the museum recently worked with Richmond Carers and their families to use the poster collections as inspiration to make a soundscape.

This part of the project, which will take place over 3 separate sessions, examined 5 posters that are to be gifted to Paintings in Hospitals. The aim is to create a soundscape in response to one of them which will later be recorded at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

A group from Richmond Carers met at Orleans House Gallery in Richmond for the beginning of the project. The first element of the project was to think about what a soundscape is and how we were going to make one. Participants worked together to examine the posters by doing short creative workshops which included one participant describing a poster while another created a drawing based upon the description (below).

This was then followed up with an introduction to the microphone and what it does. This element of the day was led by sound engineer Rhys Beetham from Audiopost. He and the group explored how to create sounds and what things really sounded like when you listen to them more closely. Many of the sounds which surround us are not engineered to be listened to and therefore we often simply block them out. If we were to gain anything from this project it would be to notice more of the sounds around us and to gain a greater experience of the world by making better use of our senses.

In the workshop the participants listened to the sounds through headphones (above). They noticed that by moving the sounds first closer and then farther away from the microphone it created a sense of space using just sound. We wanted to use this technique when recording sounds for the soundscape to create this illusion of space.

Join us again to find out about how we get on at the Museum Depot in Acton.

By Laura Service

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design Poster Animation Project

As part of the Access to Art project, MA Character Animation students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design have produced a set of amazing animations based on our poster collection.  You can watch them now on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ltmuseumvideo

Storyboard from animation inspired by Betchworth by Noel Rooke, 1921.

On February 27 this year, 33 students received a brief from London Transport Museum: bring a London Transport poster to life in a 30 second animation.

The students visited the museum and study collection at Central Saint Martins to see the original posters and to learn more about their background.  All the posters had been produced by former students at Central Saint Martins.  Duplicate copies had been transferred from London Transport Museum to Central Saint Martins as part of Access to Art.

Students drew further inspiration from their visit London Transport Museum Depot in Acton Town. Museum volunteers led tours of the poster and artwork stores and showed them more work by former students at Central Saint Martins.

Students then worked in small groups to plan, design, animate and edit their short films, using animation techniques including stop motion, digital cut-out and 3D computer modelling.

For more information about how the students tackled their briefs, visit their course blogs at http://myblog.arts.ac.uk/groups/ma-character-animation-at-central-st-martins

The teams presented their finished animations on March 13th.

Thanks to the students and tutors for all their hard work on this exciting project.  Enjoy the animations and please remember to tell us what you think!

Written by Ian Coles

Final call for contributions to The Land of Hopeful Commuters!

Again, a big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to Agnès’ artwork, ‘The Land of Hopeful Commuters’! We now have almost 550 responses to the question ‘Where do you hope to be?’ – brilliant.

Our ‘Sense and the City’ exhibition has now finished and staff have been busy removing the exhibits, leaving space for us to embark on the ‘Mind the Map’ exhibition installation. Yesterday I met with Agnès to look at the space where her artwork will be displayed, to take into account any final adjustments that will need to be made before the work goes to print.

If you’d like to be part of this amazing artwork then it’s not too late to contribute – we’ll be collecting responses for the rest of the day. You can complete the questionnaire online at: http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/landofhopefulcommuters

Collecting for 2013 – Oyster card holder swap shop

What does your Oyster card holder mean to you? Did you get it for free, buy it especially, or receive it as a gift? Do you use it as a wallet or just to keep your Oyster card safe?

Oyster wallets come in all colours, patterns and styles, from simple plastic holders to fancy leather and fabric cases. Companies across the capital have created their own holders as forms of advertising, with wallets being handed out all over the city every week.

As part of the LU150 celebrations, and in partnership with Andy Wallace from Transport for London, we went out to Acton Town earlier in March to find out more about what people store their Oyster cards in. If they were willing, we asked members of the public to swap their current holders for a new one, collecting the story behind the significance of the ones they donated.

Some of the stories were great, from wallets people have had since Oyster started in 2001, to pretty ones given as gifts, as well as holders purchased overseas. We’ve so far collected around 70 wallets for the Museum’s collection, all with their own great stories and anecdotes attached.

If you’d like to donate your Oyster card holder to the Museum, get in touch!

History of Met 353 (1974 – 1980s)

  

Whilst the restoration is on-going at the Festiniog Railway further research is being undertaken into the history of Metropolitan Railway carriage 353. Acquired by London Transport in 1974, several colour images have recently come to light showing the transportation of the carriage from Shrivenham and its subsequent storage at Ruislip depot.

Using a Central Distribution Services (LT) lorry the carriage was collected from Knapps dairy farm (located just off Shrivenham high street, Oxfordshire) in August 1974. It had been kept in the corner of the farmyard for over 34 years, but now required rescuing due to planned redevelopment of the farm site. Although exposed for many years to changing weather conditions, the carriage remained structurally sound and when inspected was found to be in surprisingly good condition for its age.

On arrival at Ruislip depot the carriage was moved undercover and added to London Transports historical relics collection. Various restoration options were explored over the following years including the idea of sectioning one compartment for public display. Thankfully the carriage was preserved intact, and after 37 years in storage is finally being restored to operational use.

Central St Martin’s students visit the Art and Poster Collection

On the 1st March we were delighted to welcome students from Central St Martin’s University to our Museum Depot for the day as part of our current Access to Art collaborative course with the University.

Volunteers John Dodd, David Burnell, Tom Cavanagh and Stephen West were on hand to offer a number of in depth tours of our Art and Poster stores.  As part of the course our Museum curators have highlighted ten posters in the collection which are to be transformed into short animations; though not all the posters were accessible, volunteers were able to speak about a range of posters/artworks in the collection by the same artists, which really helped the students put their posters into context both with artists other works and the imagery and trends of the period.  The outcomes of the project will hopefully be revealed in a few weeks’ time…

In the meantime you can see some of the photographs related to the project on our Flickr Photostream: Access to Art: Central Saint Martins Animation Project – Students work

London Commuters – We Still Need You!

‘The Land of Hopeful Commuters’, Agnès Poitevin Navarre’s anecdotal map of London, is progressing nicely. We so far have almost 500 responses – thank you London! Some really beautiful/sad/funny/quirky contributions towards an artwork that will be a very different and insightful addition to the ‘Mind the Map’ exhibition, mapping the hopes and aspirations of London’s commuting public.

We’re still collecting responses so if you haven’t had a chance to contribute yet then it’s not too late. Agnès is looking to get responses from people all over London. At the moment, we’re particularly keen to hear from residents in:
Harrow
Ealing
Barnet
Hounslow
Enfield
Redbridge, and
Newham

You can contribute to ‘The Land of Hopeful Commuter’s’ by completing the questionnaire online.

Collecting for 2013 – North Acton’s Station Garden

Two supervisors at North Acton station have created an award-winning garden that provides all-year-round colour to the delight of passengers.

The Central Line station’s glorious displays scooped first place in the Cultivated Garden category, as well as coming runner-up in the Best Overall Garden section, in last year’s annual Underground in Bloom contest hosted by TfL.

The man-made flower beds are the work of supervisors Terry Murrell and Bharat Vagani, built with the help from other station staff including contract cleaner Abraham Soubair.

It all began in a small way back in 2005 when Bharat, a veteran of 22 years with London Underground, put up some hanging baskets on the platforms to brighten up the dingy surroundings.

When Terry Murrell, with London Underground for five years, transferred to North Acton from Embankment, Bharat persuaded him to share in his vision of bringing a lot more natural colour to the station forecourt.

Months of hard work followed. Working by hand, they brought in around 15 tons of soil to create the extensive raised beds, which are edged with railway sleepers. All of the work was done in their spare time, including days off and during annual leave.

It was a true labour of love as the station has no vehicle access and all the soil had to be brought down a long slope from the nearby road.

As well as nurturing the flower beds and hanging baskets, Terry and Bharat grow up to 24 different varieties of vegetables in pots.

They receive a small annual ‘gardening’ grant from London Underground but contribute their own money to buy additional plants and garden tools.

Their hard work has not gone unnoticed. As well as winning numerous Underground in Bloom awards the green-fingered duo has received several commendations on the TfL website.

They have also been filmed for The Tube, a six-part documentary on the activities of London Underground staff, being shown on BBC Television.

Passenger response has been extremely positive. “Customers often take photos of the gardens, while one woman recently offered us a job looking after her garden,” said Terry.

“Another elderly lady, who uses the station twice a week, said the flowers reminded her of the displays she saw at suburban stations 40 years ago, and has helped make her feel safer when travelling.”

He added that their efforts have spurred one regular customer to tackle his own small garden, which he had neglected for years.

“It has been very satisfying to plan and create the gardens and to know that our customers appreciate all our efforts,” said Bharat.

“We are doing it for them, so that they feel happy when they come through every day and see splashes of colour, whatever the season.”

Words and photograph by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Spoken Word Workshop – by The Young Consultants

After a lot of planning and organising we hosted our very first event, Spoken Word, on March 3rd. The day was delivered by the two talented artists Dean Atta and Laila Sumpton.

We began with the amazing Clive Birch from the Royal College of Art delivering an introductory presentation. He began with his historical involvement in transport then led us into an insight of the Sense and the City exhibition. Finally he left us on an inspirational note of what transport will look like in the not so distant future.
With our creative juices flowing, we dived into several activities that drew out some amazing poetry and free writing from the participants. This continued into the afternoon where we finally created our group performances.

With the support from the Museum, we had members from the Young Volunteers programme as part of the audience that were also kind enough to give wonderful feedback.
Overall it was inspirational workshop that exposed the talent and creativity of young people in London.

With connections from Dean and Laila with Keats House we were invited to showcase the work we had created as a part of the Young Poets Forum open mic, taking place the following day. A few went along and had the confidence to perform alongside other artists.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the two days and are so grateful for all the participation and help from everyone involved.

Written by Gloria Gaspard and Izara de Nobrega (Young Consultants from LTM)