Every day, millions of us enter our local station, scan our Oyster card, head down the escalator and jump on a train to work. Other than perhaps stopping to pick up a free paper, top up our credit, or check for service updates, most of us will whiz through our stations week after week without stopping to take in what’s going on around us.
As part of the celebrations for London Underground’s 150th anniversary, film maker Geoff Marshall and I decided to spend a day at Tooting Broadway station, from gates opening to close of play, capturing the comings and goings of life at an Underground station. Arriving at 4.40am to get some shots of the station with the gates still closed, we worked six shifts throughout the day, through the morning and evening rush hour, and capturing the last train leaving the stations and the gates being locked for the night. Staff at the station were fantastic, allowing us to access all areas of the station and explaining what was happening when, ensuring we got a real insight into everything that goes on in a normal day on the Tube.
The outcome of our day is a short film, entitled ‘On Broadway: A Day in the Life of Tooting Broadway’. It’s fantastic – Geoff did a wonderful job with the filming and edit, and I merely came up with the cheesy name! The film is to be added to the Museum’s collection and may even go on display at the Museum in the future. But for now we’ll aim to get the video up on here asap so that we can share it with you all! Watch this space…
Every few months, London Transport Museum installs a new series of 20 original posters from our collection on the first floor of the Museum. These poster parades are themed – sometimes by the season or a special event taking place, sometimes by temporary exhibitions happening elsewhere in the Museum, or sometimes to promote a project the Museum has undertaken.
Curators and museum technicians need to be in the Museum bright and early so that the installation can be completed before the doors open at 10am. This morning, a team installed 20 posters who represent some of the strongest and most iconic designs from our collection. The display showcases and celebrates our book ‘London Transport Posters: A Century of Art and Design’, which will be coming out in paperback in the coming weeks.
In 2013 the Underground will be 150 years old. London Transport Museum is busily preparing a year long programme of events, exhibitions and heritage train runs to celebrate the anniversary. We are also embarking on a new programme of work which involves collecting contemporary material, allowing us to bring our collection up to date.
Over the next few months, I will be undertaking a number of projects with Transport for London staff and members of the public. Whenever an interesting new object or story is collected, I will be sure to blog about it here. From oral history and digital stories, to contemporary art and participatory events, it’s going to be a great year for contemporary collecting!
And I welcome any suggestions you may have about what we should be collecting that represents the Underground today!
As part of the Collecting for 2013 project, I am keen to know what staff who currently work for London Underground think of our collections, and for them to offer their suggestions as to what we need to collect now. Last week, my colleague Simon and I took some Underground related objects to Windsor House, a Transport for London office, and installed a new display in their reception area. Objects include a modern Oyster card holder, an old tile from St James’s Park station, and a model of the first Metropolitan line trains.
We’re asking staff to let us know what they think we should collect for this significant anniversary, and we hope these objects will offer some inspiration.
Here are a few photos of us installing the display.
London Transport Museum has received a Stage 1 Development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the preparation of a Museum bid to the HLF for the restoration of our Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ First class carriage No.353.
The decision to restore the carriage will be announced later this summer. If all goes to plan we hope we will be able to include the restored carriage in the year-long series of exhibitions, activities and events to celebrate the anniversary – 150 Years of the London Underground
We are also supporting Quainton’s own restoration project for their Met 1 locomotive.
Exciting times ahead!
Please note that this is the full extent of information we have at the moment and therefore we’re currently unable to accept enquiries on this matter. Keep checking back for updates.
London Transport Museum has many different collections, from posters and signs to buses and trains, with so many other wonderful things in between. This week I was sent down to our drawings store at our Depot in Acton to do some research for an upcoming restoration project. I rather ashamedly had never entered the drawings store before (and can I confess I barely knew of its existence…) – it’s one of those sides to our collection that you only really explore when you really need to. Unlike our beautiful posters, which are often requested for books or exhibitions, or the vehicles which are so dominant in our stores, the drawings are kept neatly tucked away for safe-keeping, meaning I’ve never stumbled across them until now.
A majority of the drawings are made on a linen-type material, which means they don’t rip or crease in the same way that paper does. They are also well used so are looking their age, but they are still of incredibly high value for understanding the vehicles in our collection, and London Transport stock as a whole. Getting the opportunity to delve into the drawers and search through the vast array of drawings was quite the experience, and a decent work-out – the large drawings weigh a tonne!
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.