All posts by Girl Nextdoor

Poster of the Week: Poster Art 150


Poster Art 150 (Old East London Line Top) Brightest London, 2013

Vote for your Favourite Poster

As part of the exhibition, the Siemens Poster Vote seeks to find out what your favourite poster is. There’s now only a few days left to see our Poster Art 150 exhibition – so come along before 5 January and don’tforget to vote for your favourite!

Vote Now

This poster is one of six designed as a series to promote London Transport Museum’s fantastic exhibition, Poster Art 150 exhibition – London Underground’s Greatest Designs, a key part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the world’s first  Underground railway. Each poster comprises ‘teaser’ elements of some of the poster designs to be found in the exhibition. To help bring more clarity to the selection of images, the exhibition has six themes, Finding The Way, Capital Culture, Away From It All, Keeps London Going, Love Your City, and this poster depicting my favourite exhibition grouping, Brightest London.

The poster has been very cleverly designed by the Museum’s Head of Design, Sau-Fun Mo,  and fully represents the largely Art Deco flavour of this exhibition theme, without giving any substantive view of the posters on display. Highly colourful, it attracts attention and subliminally invites people to visit. As is often the case with such intelligently designed posters, the image has been a commercial success; Poster art can still attract great attention as well as function as exemplary marketing. Long may this survive.,. This poster and the other five in the series  can be purchased at our Covent Garden shop and also online – along with other exhibition themed gifts.

There are only a couple of days left to see the  Poster Art 150 exhibition as the last day is Sunday 5 January 2014. You can vote for your favourite in the Siemen’s Poster Vote until midnight the same day. We’ll be announcing the winning poster the following week.

Have you voted for your favourite poster yet?

Vote Now

Poster Art 150: Top 10 posters…so far!

As part of our blockbuster Poster Art 150 exhibition we asked you the public to vote for your favourite poster in the Siemens Poster Vote. With only weeks left until the exhibition closes on 5 January 2014, we thought we’d reveal the current top 10 posters. We’ve mixed up the order a little bit here so the leading poster is not revealed quite yet…so, in no particular order;

4-Underground; the way for all
Underground – the way for all (1911) rosetteVote Now

112-Or take the Tube
Or take the Tube (1987) rosetteVote Now

29-The Tate Gallery by tube
The Tate Gallery by Tube (1986) rosetteVote Now

61-For the zoo book to Regent's Park
For the Zoo (1921) rosetteVote Now

2-Brightest London is best reached by Underground
Brightest London is best reached by Underground (1924) rosetteVote Now

27-Map of the Underground
Map of the Underground (1933) rosetteVote Now

144-London 2026 AD; this is all in the air
London 2026 AD (1926) rosetteVote Now

21-The lure of the Underground
The lure of the Underground (1927) rosetteVote Now

58-London Zoo
London Zoo (1976) rosetteVote Now

33-The quickest way to the dogs
The quickest way to the dogs (1927) rosetteVote Now


Are you surprised by any of the posters in this Top 10? Disappointed that your favourite hasn’t made the grade? Well you can change the Top 10 by voting for your favourite, or any of the other 140 posters in the exhibition, now…before it’s too late!

Vote Now

Met 1 and the Golden Age of Steam

This weekend you can once again experience the golden age of steam with the return of the newly restored Metropolitan Steam Locomotive No. 1 to the Metropolitan line. A number of journeys will be taking place between Amersham and Harrow-on-the Hill as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations.

In this post we revisit the significance of that first journey in 1863.

London was the largest city in the world by the 1840s, but this rapid growth brought with it serious congestion problems.  The inner city streets were narrow and crowded and the railways could only bring people and goods in to the outer edge of the Capital. A range of proposals to improve matters were rejected until Charles Pearson, City Solicitor, came up with a politically acceptable and commercially viable solution in 1854 – the Metropolitan Railway. The lithograph below shows just one of the rejected proposals – an elevated railway in which carriages would run along the tops of extended verandas attached to buildings at first floor level. Pedestrians and horse-drawn traffic can been seen in the street below.


The world’s first underground railway opened to the public on 10 January 1863.  The short 3½ mile line connected the mainline stations at Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross to Farringdon, at the edge of the City.  The ‘Met’ was a great success and extensions to both ends of the line soon followed.


A second underground railway company, the Metropolitan District Railway, opened in 1868.  The intention was that the two companies would work together to form an ‘Inner Circle’, linking all London’s mainline termini.  They soon fell out however, and the Circle was only completed in 1884, after government intervention.

The two companies did co-operate in planning for electrification, but the plans changed when a powerful American businessman, Charles Tyson Yerkes, took over the District.  Under Yerkes, the Inner Circle and District were electrified along American lines by 1905, powered by a new generating station at Lots Road, Chelsea.  Independent as ever, the ‘Met’ built its own power house at Neasden.  Metropolitan electric services reached Harrow in 1908, and extended t Rickmansworth in 1924.  Electrification to Aylesbury was planned as part of the 1935-40 New Works Programme, but the work was interrupted by the Second World War and steam passenger services continued beyond Rickmansworth until 1961.


Metropolitan Railway Locomotive No.1

Met No. 1 is an E-class engine, designed by T F Clark for use on the Metropolitan Railway’s extension lines’ north of Baker Street.  It was the last Metropolitan loco to be built at Neasden Works in 1898.


The engine was re-numbered London Transport L.44 after 1933, sharing duties on the Chesham branch. It worked the last steam service on this line in July 1960, and the last steam-hauled passenger train in regular service between Rickmansworth and Amersham in September 1961.  After the Metropolitan Centenary celebrations at Neasden in 1963, L.44 was sold to the Quainton Railway Society as a working engine and repainted No.1 once more.

In 2011 London Transport Museum and Buckinghamshire Railway Centre formed a partnership to have Met No.1 overhauled at the Flour Mill Workshops, Gloucestershire ready for the 150th anniversary of the Underground.

IMG 204 -Finished interior - Carriage 353
Finished interior – Carriage 353

Metropolitan Railway Carriage No.353

Met carriage No.353 was built in the 1892 by Craven’s of Sheffield.  It is the only surviving example of a Metropolitan Railway first class four-wheeled ‘Jubilee’ carriage.  Withdrawn from service in 1905, it was sold to the Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Light Railway in Somerset.  After the Second World War the carriage was used as a clubhouse for American servicemen.  It continued to have an eventful life, being used as a low cost home, an antiques shop and finally a farm outbuilding.  Thankfully the carriage survived long enough to be acquired for the London Transport collection I 1974.


With financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Friends of the London Transport Museum, Met carriage No.353 has been fully restored to operational condition at the Ffestiniog Railway workshops.

Don’t forget to join in the fun this weekend at Amersham where you can once again experience the golden age of steam!

Project X – Ms. Claymore

Following on from our first Project X blog post about the show character Lady T, we thought we’d introduce the second female character in the production.


Ms. Claymore doesn’t exactly come out of the same stable as Lady T. Like Lady T she is strong, attractive and dominant as a character but her role is more functional.  As a child of, and believer in, the power of ‘The Administration’ she dresses in the utilitarian uniform befitting a parole officer.  Only her killer heels and tight fitting top hint at the dominatrix that may well lurk behind the rigid force of her beliefs.  She is not a lady to mess with.

Costume Designs created by Kevin Freeman. For more information on Project X, including videos and how to buy tickets, go to:

Project X – Lady T

We saw a lovely fashion photograph recently in the Mail on Sunday You magazine which rather reminded us of the costume that Lady T wears in Project X, which was designed by Kevin Freeman. But hold on, what exactly is Project X…and who is
Lady T?

Well, Project X is an interactive immersive theatre experience in which you have to solve clues, find characters and walk around. It’s a clever mix of time travel, murder and cryptic clues which combine with mysterious characters in covert locations who help you to unravel strange secrets! The Project X production is the result of a collaboration between the museum and tradesecrets, a company that specialises in producing immersive interactive theatre pieces. The experience itself takes place in the heart Covent Garden so Costume Designer Kevin’s brief for all the costumes was to place theatrical characters in an area that is populated with all sorts of wonderful brightly dressed people – some actors and some just hanging out and passing by.

Lady T is one of the many characters in Project X. She is a non-conformer and does not fit into the repressive future of 2101. Instead she is a tough, straight talking marketer who, having landed in 2012, fits comfortably into the more flamboyant aesthetic of Covent Garden where she is free to celebrate her individuality. We therefore wanted Lady T to evoke a quirky Dickensian street-seller feel. In doing so Kevin has managed to tap into current A/W 2012 fashion trends…maybe we can see into the future after all!

Lady T’s look is quite hard to miss – look out for her on Saturdays and Sundays – she might just, you never know, have something to sell…

For more information on Project X, including videos and how to buy tickets, go to:


Debate: Shock the System – Between Public and Private

On Wednesday evening the Museum held a stimulating public debate on the issues surrounding our increasing adoption of technology for enhanced mobility, safety and communication, and the equally increasing sacrifices we make for such conveniences, namely our right to privacy.

Sam Mullins, the Museum’s Director, opened the debate with an introduction to our current temporary exhibition Sense and the City: smart, connected and on the move, which explores how technology is changing the way we interact with the city.[i] Broadcaster and author, Robert Elms[ii] chaired the panel which included the London Mayor’s Director of Environment and Digital London Kulveer Ranger,[iii] the Evening Standard’s Comment Editor Andrew Neather, [iv] the  and award-winning documentary filmmaker David Bond.[v]

Robert opened the debate with a summary of the ways in which we are surveyed in the UK today, noting that we are monitored by over 1.8m CCTV cameras, evaluated through our use of store loyalty cards, identified through face recognition and followed by satellites. On average we make 68 CCTV appearances a day, making us quite literally one of the most watched societies in the world.

Such surveillance has today thrown us headlong into what Kulveer Ranger termed a ‘Wild West’ of data, where the sheer volume creates a chaotic digital cacophony that is almost impossible to make any sense of. Despite this the desire by companies, organisations and government bodies to obtain this data is increasing exponentially. This is unsurprising as the collective accumulation of such data is slowly painting a picture of our digital psychology. Its value therefore can be equated with the California Gold Rush, with our information bargained for, sold-off and eventually melted down. In this metaphorical world, it will be the Social Media ‘merchants’ and not the Organisational ‘miners’ who will reap the greatest rewards.

During the debate it seemed evident that we must, willingly or reluctantly, handover such data and thereby sacrifice parts of our privacy in return for society’s benefits. But what do we sacrifice and what do we retain as sacred? This was the question which encompassed two main areas of discussion – ‘Dataveillance’, focussing particularly on CCTV, and Social Media.

Dataveillance can be broadly defined as ‘the systematic monitoring of people’s actions or communications through the application of information technology.’ (Clark, 1988) Such surveillance is typified by the use of CCTV. One American member of the audience at the debate noted our obsession in the UK with the CCTV camera, viewing its presence as the prognosticator of an Orwellian state ominously over-obsessed with security. Indeed, it was discovered in 2009, through a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC to local authorities in the UK, that both the Shetland Islands Council (Scotland) and Corby Borough Council (England) had more CCTV cameras than the San Francisco Police Department, despite being among the smallest local authorities in the UK.  In London the borough which boasted the highest number of CCTV cameras was Wandsworth, with just under four cameras per 1,000 people – a number which exceed those of the police departments of Boston Massachusetts, Johannesburg and Dublin City Council combined. While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that London has just under 8,000 CCTV cameras, which seems to put Paris’ count of just over 300 to shame.

But why this obsession? Is it because the British population, for the most part, still trust their governing body? David Bond noted in the debate that in Germany, due to its relatively recent experience with a dictatorial and ruthless state, the people are much more sceptical about relinquishing their privacy in return for assumed security. We do not have such a history and therefore view ‘dataveillance’ as intrinsic to our very security. Our level of trust is both variable and debatable however the truth may be that we are no more accepting of Big Brother than any other society or culture, but rather have allowed ourselves, as Kulveer noted, to simply ‘sleep-walk’ into the current system which has become invisible through ubiquity.

Social Media
Social media and privacy seem somewhat mutually exclusive terms, and yet in no other area has the defence of privacy (at least in recent times) been so highly fought over. One need only recall the various scandals to have plagued Facebook when it decided to change its privacy settings on the site, thereby affecting the visibility of users’ ‘personal’ information.

While many Facebook users – around 845 million of them – have several hundred ‘friends’ to whom they freely reveal their private lives, others see Facebook as a potential window to the world of employment. David Bond noted that Harvard graduates he spoke to did not tell the truth about their lives on Facebook for fear such information could be used against them, the ‘truth’ being of course that we are all flawed and make mistakes. Of course, the Harvard graduates here are not exceptional. We all ‘brand’ ourselves in some way within our own social media spheres, projecting a more refined, cultured or intelligent self. We want to believe – as much as we want to convince others – that we are indeed better than we are. However those who do choose (through naivety or for catharsis) to reveal such truths may grow to wish they hadn’t. Bond commented that he was able to outgrow his own youthful political beliefs and strange haircuts in a way his children will most likely be unable to.

With regards to how social media defines our information stream, Andrew Neather commented that the current Levenson inquiry would likely result in regulatory conditions which would curtail the freedom of the press, thereby making Twitter – unfettered by such ethical restrictions – a dominant force in news coverage. Attaining ‘the highest ethical and professional standards’ (as stated on the Levenson inquiry website) will likely not provide us with the meaty information we so desire and lead to the atrophication of traditional press coverage as we know it. As Lewis Carroll said ‘The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.’

Has the very notion of privacy now become synonymous with the more ominous notion of secrecy and, if so, will those wishing to maintain their privacy be increasingly viewed with suspicion…after all, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear, right?

[i] This debate was part of a series of events to support the Sense and the City: smart, connected and on the move exhibition which looks at our past conceptions about what the future would look like, and asks questions about how technology might change our lives in years to come. The exhibition closes on 18 March 2012.

[ii] Robert Elms presents a long running radio show on BBC London 94.9.  The show features reports, discussions, and call-ins about Greater London, the history, architecture, geography, city planning, and language of London. He is also the author of several books including, The Way We Wore, which charts the changing fashions of his own youth during the 1960s to 1980s, linking them with the social history of the times.

[iii] Kulveer Ranger oversees a portfolio of responsibilities encompassing quality of life (including greening London, air quality and energy efficiency) and supporting the development of the hi-tech business sector across the capital on behalf of the Mayor of London. He is also responsible for cycling, including the cycle hire scheme. Kulveer was previously the Mayor’s Transport Advisor between 2008 and 2011, sitting on the board of Transport for London and chairing the Mayor’s River Concordat. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, Kulveer spent ten years in management consultancy. He is also a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party and was an advisor to two Shadow Cabinet members in Opposition.

[iv] Andrew Neather has been the Comment Editor, chief leader writer and wine critic of the Evening Standard since 2004. He writes especially on London, transport and environmental issues. He was formerly civil service speechwriter to prime minister Tony Blair and to home secretaries David Blunkett and Jack Straw. Prior to that he worked as a writer and editor for Friends of the Earth, the Labour Party and the US United Auto Workers. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Duke University, North Carolina, from where he obtained a PhD in US history. He lives in south London and tweets as @hernehillandy

[v] David Bond is an award-winning director, producer and writer of documentary, commercial and short film projects. He graduated from the Met Film School in 2004 and since then has completed various film projects exploring social and political themes.  Erasing David is David’s first feature documentary, and explores how much information is available about David and his family in the public domain.David put himself under surveillance and attempted to disappear, going on the run and hiring two private detectives to track him down. The results forced him to contemplate the meaning of privacy – and the loss of it. David co-runs production company Green Lions with his creative partner Ashley Jones.

Sense and the City – Get Involved!

Runs until  18 March 2012

This summer a new exhibition about London will open at the museum – and you could be part of it!

Sense & the City explores the powerful new forces that are shaping the way we live, work and travel in the city.  GPS, pervasive wireless, sensing, near field communication, multi touch surfaces, open data, smart phones and a blizzard of new Apps are combining to redefine our urban relationships.  Data visualisation is beginning to work with these digital riches to help us make deals, be sociable, navigate and network in powerful new ways. There is a wind of change in London – Sense & the City will harvest straws in that wind and test which of them have most significance for the future.

How can you help?  If you or your company has an App or a visualisation you’d like to showcase then please get in touch with us.  There are several sections to the exhibition but we’d particularly like help with an area with eight 32” touch screens for which we have designed a GUI fronting a Content Management System. We’re focusing on urban movement and connection. The topics we’re covering on the screens are:

  • Re-seeing the city – The beautiful and instructive world of data visualisation
  • Open data – What does the ‘democratisation’ of data mean? And how do we deal with privacy and protection concerns?
  • Real time – How does real time information from the Capital’s systems change urban behaviour?
  • Fluid payment – Contactless easy payment systems change much more than financial transactions
  • Mobility – Will crowd sourced transport become real? What is the future for autonomous personal vehicles?  Is there a ‘cycling tipping point’ when machine powered vehicles naturally give way to human powered ones?
  • Sociability – How is social media changing the way we use London?  How are new markets opening up?  Is the future of business more social?
  • Navigational signage – Sensing and information carrying surfaces are changing the information provided to travellers – how far can this go?
  • Blue Sky – How might we live, work and create in London of the Future?

The interface allows us to show a range of visualisations – we are focusing on movement systems and London.

How to get in touch
In the first instance email us with information about your work – pointing to your site, linking to Vimeo clips and any App store links. We are not definitely promising that you’ll be in the exhibition but we’d like to hear from you.  If we like what we see and it fits then we’ll be back in touch.

For any questions about the exhibition contact the Curator for the show Stephen Feber at:

For any technical questions abut the exhibition contact Charles Dodgson at:

Thank you!

60 Second Interview with…Heatherwick Studio

Thomas Heatherwick

In January 2010, Heatherwick Studio joined the team leading the design of a New Bus for London. The project marks the first time in more than 50 years that TfL has commissioned and overseen the development of a bus built specifically for the capital. Read More…

Thomas Heatherwick established Heatherwick Studio in 1994. Thomas is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from four British universities – Sheffield Hallam, Brighton, Dundee and Manchester Metropolitan. He has won the Prince Philip Designers Prize and in 2006 was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry.

Here we talk with Heatherwick Studio about their work on the New Bus for London.

What inspired the design of the New Bus for London?
It has been more than fifty years since someone was last commissioned to look in a comprehensive way at the design of London buses. Heatherwick Studio has been given this task and has developed a new design that reflects the functional requirements and challenges of making a new better bus for London. The bus is particularly special because the design is specific to London. For the first time the ‘look, feel and styling’ of the bus has been designed holistically.  Some of the refinements of the design have resulted in the softening of the form, a return to a more calm and naturalistic usage of materials that echo qualities also identified with the Routemaster. The studio has also been keen to retain a sense of heritage in the design.

What was your biggest challenge in designing the New Bus for London?
The requirements of the new bus make for a slightly longer vehicle than current double deck buses. The studio’s main challenge was how to balance the design requirements with the practical and functional needs. To do this, the exterior form was carefully shaped to make a less box-like object.  The most distinctive aspect of the design is the asymmetric ribbon window with its glass that wraps around the vehicle, expanding at the front to provide the driver with clear kerbside views, and following the two staircases as they rise upward to follow movements of a passenger.

What is your favourite aspect of the bus?
The studio has been keen to ensure that the new bus would be an integrated piece of design with exterior and interior working harmoniously. As a result, there are many details which we took a lot of time getting right. For example, we designed a ‘New Bus for London’ moquette. The pattern is derived from the sculpted typography of the seat, a bit like a map; the contour lines are derived from the undulating shape of the seat.  The resulting rich pattern clearly denotes the individual seating positions whilst effectively masking day-to-day wear and tear. We also paid a lot of attention to the cab, and the driver experience too.  We have tried to give the cab a sense of specialness whilst also providing a highly functional working environment.

The old Routemaster was on the road for 60 years. How do you envision bus design in the next 60 years?
The studio wouldn’t want to begin to predict how a bus might look in 60 years time bearing in mind the technological advancements of the last 60 years. However, it would be safe to say that future technology will impact on any future aesthetic design in the same way the most innovative, latest hybrid and environmentally friendly technology has been taken into account in the current design which will be of great benefit to all in London.

Welcome to the London Transport Museum Blog (Beta)

There are a lot of interesting and exciting things that go on at London Transport Museum, but in truth only a fraction of it is ever actually seen by our visitors. All the bustling behind-the-scenes activities that result in wonderful exhibitions, events, gallery displays and community engagement are often overlooked. This is a shame, because it’s not only interesting but informative too! So this blog has been set up to address the overlooked aspects of our work – documenting and preserving those daily activities for you to discover.