Poster of the Week – The Swiftest Way to Pleasure

The swiftest way to pleasure; Whitsun joy wheel – Charles Sharland, 1913
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It’s a bank holiday weekend again and hopefully you’ve got some fun plans. But if you haven’t decided what you’re up to yet then why not take a look at our events calendar for some exciting ideas, including some fantastic steam runs!

For this week’s Poster of the Week we wanted to share with you one of the older posters in our Poster Art 150 exhibition The Swiftest Way to Pleasure (1913) by Charles Sharland. He was one of the in-house designers at Waterlow and Sons, one of the main printers of Underground posters, from the 1900s to the 1920’s. Although little is known about Sharland’s family background or artistic training he designed over 122 posters for London Transport. You can view most of these posters on our online collections site.

Bank holidays were a great focus for promoting off-peak travel and in this poster Sharland is advertising the diverse leisure destinations accessible by Underground. The Underground ‘bull’s-eye’ symbol in the centre was part of the Underground’s corporate identity and it was not until 1916 that the calligrapher Edward Johnston was asked to adapt his typeface to fit in a new roundel logo; the logo we know today.

Joy Wheel
© National Fairground Archive Collections

Sharland has shown the ‘bull’s-eye’ as a ‘Joy Wheel’ – a popular fairground contraption from 1910 until the late 1920’s consisting of a slightly conical polished disc that spun riders around and around until they fell off. The Joy Wheel rides were more commonly found at seaside resorts and accounts suggest that they were just as much fun for the spectators as they were for the participants! In the poster, Sharland’s characters are falling towards the different out-of-town destinations served by the Underground.

As part of the exhibition, the Siemens Poster Vote seeks to find out what your favourite poster is…

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