Category Archives: Exhibitions

Goodbye Piccadilly: Joe Clough’s Story

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Joe Clough (1887-1976) was not only one of London’s first Black  bus drivers, but he was also  among the first drivers of the  mechanised motorbuses that  replaced the horse-drawn buses.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1887, Clough worked for a Scottish doctor, Dr RC White. When Dr White came over to England, he brought Clough with him and after learning to drive as his employer’s chauffeur, he managed in 1910 to secure a job as a bus driver with LGOC. He drove the Route 11 between Liverpool Street and Wormwood Scrubs.

In 1915, Clough joined the Army Service Corps at Kempston Barracks and drove an ambulance on the Western front in France until the end of the War. Clough was a popular member of the Army Service Corps and he was the captain of the cricket team. Yet as one of few black soldiers, he was sometimes the victim of racism. Demobbed in 1919, he became a member of the Royal Legion and joined the National Omnibus Company at Bedford, where he lived with his wife Margaret. Between the world wars, Clough would drive an open-topped bus in Cambridgeshire every year on Remembrance Day.

Joe Clough’s story can be seen in a video made by a group of young people from the Theatre Royal Stratford East that features in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

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The story of London’s busmen at the front is also told in our new book by Dr William Ward, Ole Bill – Londons Buses and the First World War.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

How to Curate a Poster Parade

As we all (hopefully) should know by now, this is the Year of the Bus. It’s also the theme for the Museum’s next Poster Parade; a temporary museum exhibit showcasing posters from our collection. Normally, the curators choose the posters for each of these exhibits. However for this Poster Parade we want you to help us make our selection, in celebration of the London Bus! A simple search of the collection’s database reveals over 5000 potential choices. We’ve  narrowed this down to 30 and we need your help to reach the final 15 that will go on display.

You can vote by ‘Liking’ your favourite in our
Poster Parade Facebook Album

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Our extensive research (and much coffee!) resulted in a selection of posters which reveal some interesting historical developments and consistent themes in the life of the London bus. You might notice Shillibeer’s Omnibus and the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) – the first reliable motorised bus – as well as the B-type, appear in several of our choices. The discontinuation of the Routemaster in 2005 and the introduction of low emission fuel buses also feature, to name but a few. Bus posters do not necessarily reflect all these changes, however there were a number of themes emerging.

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Shillibeer’s Omnibus c.1829
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Two RM-type Routemaster c.1972

Themes include recruitment, leisure trips and sightseeing as well as competition between bus, taxi and tube travel. There are also a range of stylist differences across the decades. The eighties posters might ring a few bells for you; from a decade in transport which saw the introduction of night buses and bus passes! If you prefer bright, animated images, vote for ‘Hop on a bus’ or ‘The motor omnibus for all ages’. The colourful London General posters from the 1920’s might catch you eye; or you might prefer the mixed media styles such as ‘Busabout’ and Eckersley’s ‘See London by Bus’.

Either way, we hope you like the selection and vote for your favourite!

Goodbye Piccadilly: Charles Lee’s Story

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Charles Lee, c.1910

Charles Lee was one of the first bus drivers to volunteer for war service. In September 1914 he left his bus garage in Putney and joined the crews of 70 London buses sent to Dunkirk. The drivers were attached to the Royal Naval Division. Charles Lee’s unit drove soldiers from the docks to the besieged town of Antwerp.  Following the fall of Antwerp, the same buses helped evacuate wounded British soldiers and some were captured by the Germans.

For his services in the First World War Lee received four medals:  British War Medal 1914-1920, Allied Victory Medal 1914-1919, the 1914 ‘Mons’ Star and the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association medallion.

Other First World War stories feature in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

web-events-olebill

The story of London’s busmen at the front is also told in our new book by Dr William Ward, Ole Bill – Londons Buses and the First World War.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at: collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

The wheels of war

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The first London buses to arrive in France, September 1914

A specific chain of events led to the outbreak of war in 1914, but the international tensions behind it had been building for many years. As early as 1908 the army had tested the suitability of London buses for troop transport. It was recognised that reliable motor vehicles would be crucial in any future war, as horses had been in earlier conflicts. In 1912, the government assessed a range of commercial motor vehicles for potential military service, and came to an arrangement known as the Subsidy Scheme; in the event of war the government would pay civilian businesses for their lorries and buses. The London General Omnibus Company (LGOC), was one of the biggest contributors to the scheme.

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LGOC buses converted to ambulances, 1914

On 1 August, 30 of the LGOC’s new B-type buses were requisitioned, and converted into ambulances on the home front. In September the first buses went to France as part of a hastily arranged Royal Naval Division mission to relieve parts of Belgium. Some arrived with their original destination boards and adverts still intact. Soon afterwards the first of the green Army Service Corps B-type buses arrived, followed by hundreds more buses and their drivers, mobilised to transport troops and supplies to and from the trenches of the Western Front for the next four years.

Find out more about London buses at war and the effects of the conflict at home at our current exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front

The Day Before the War

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Underground Day, Charles Sharland, 1914

The brightly coloured poster above by Charles Sharland was issued to promote the August bank holiday of 1914. It declares 3 August as ‘Underground day’ and encourages passengers to make their choice of what to do and where to go from the many destinations available by tube and bus.

However, when the day came, festivities were overshadowed by the threat of Britain becoming involved in the war on the Continent. By the end of the following day, on 4 August 1914, Britain had declared war on Germany.

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Bank Holiday, artist unknown, 1919

The poster for the 1919 bank holiday reflects on the changed circumstances. The ‘short’ war had turned into a four year conflict with millions of lives lost, and many more changed forever. For the first time there had been a home front, with Londoners at risk from aerial bombardment.

The subdued design gently invites passengers to enjoy holidays once more. The emphasis of the trains, buses and trams being at the service of Londoners reminds us of the important role that London transport staff and vehicles played in the war.

Did you know: Originally the bank holiday in August was the first Monday of the month, as dictated by the Bank Holiday Act (1871). This was until the Banking and Financial Dealings Act (1971) decreed a century later that it would fall, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the last Monday of the month. Why? One suggestion was that as the latter half of August is cooler the roads would be less busy with the crowds that thronged to the seaside, getting drunk and causing all sorts of mid-Summer mischief!

Find out more about London and World War 1 at London Transport Museum’s current exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Homefront to Western Front

Posters and Propaganda

To tie in with our First World War Exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly we’ve focused our current Poster Parade on the use of Propaganda in posters, specifically those used on the Homefront. The 20 posters featured reflect advertising campaigns during both the First and Second World Wars.

The term ‘propaganda’ is not easy to define and all of the posters featured can be interpreted differently. Propaganda messages during this time were included, often surreptitiously, in advertising and other public messages.. At the beginning of the First World War, we can identify an emphasis on encouraging leisure travel and shopping. During the Second World War, we see greater use of patriotic and politically charged imagery. Posters also served to boost morale and provide safety information to the general public. However propaganda is defined, the posters produced in wartime were designed to influence thoughts and promote specific action.

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They shout for joy, they also sing – Flags of Allied Nations, 1944, Austin Cooper

Austin Cooper, a Canadian born artist, moved to London in 1922 and began producing posters for London Transport. Cooper is mainly known for his colourful, abstract style and in the pre-war years produced posters promoting travel by underground to places of heritage and the museums in South Kensington (http://tinyurl.com/cnspj9)

The poster‘They shout for joy, they also sing – Flags of Allied Nations’ (1944) is strikingly different to his other works. The central flags of The Republic of China, The United States of America, The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and Great Britain represent the super powers of the time. The white star and blue background at the top of the poster is reminiscent of the League of Nations, which was formed after the First World War. Is its inclusion intended as a symbol of unity?

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We had difficulty identifying all of the flags, but fortunately Cooper designed a key to illustrate them!

If you want to learn more about propaganda posters during the First World War, why not attend the talk by David Bownes, Assistant Director of Collections at the National Army Museum, at London Transport Museum on Tuesday 2 September.

Written by Hayley Jedrzejewski, Collections Assistant

Goodbye Piccadilly: World War 1 Facts

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The B-type bus was surprisingly easy to adapt for military use. Many buses were used to transport troops into battle. However the London bus chassis was versatile and could be adapted into a range of specialised vehicles, from ambulances and messenger pigeon lofts to anti-aircraft gun carriages and freight lorries.

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WE’RE CROWDFUNDING!

Can you help get ‘Battle Bus’ to the Western Front? You can get involved and back the project for free by becoming a project Cheerleader and sharing it with friends and family or make a pledge from as little as £20 and in return for your support you’ll receive some exciting and unique rewards!

Find out more: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/battlebus

Navigating Eros in 1919

1  1998-88554 Piccadilly Circus traffic scene dominated by B-type buses. Copyright TfL.
Piccadilly Circus, 1919. In the background the Pathé film, J’accuse, directed by the influential filmmaker Abel Gance (1889–1981) is showing at the Pavilion. It was a spectacular success throughout Europe, using innovative filming and editing techniques and real soldiers as actors.

Recently we’ve received a great deal of feedback on the photograph above which seems to show buses ‘circling’ Eros in Piccadilly Circus the wrong way.

Our Curators were as intrigued as you and decided to take a closer look. Upon further investigation it became apparent that the size and layout of the island in the middle of Piccadilly Circus  – not to be confused with a traditional roundabout – has changed several times since Eros was unveiled in 1893. Before the Second World War there was a more complicated road layout with two-way traffic (in 1919 there were not enough vehicles on the road to warrant traffic lights!). In the photograph this gives the illusion of traffic moving the ‘wrong’ way around a roundabout.

Goodbye Piccadilly: Florence Cordell’s Story

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Florence Cordell in 1916

Florence Cordell was one of the first women to work as a bus conductor in Britain. She, along with hundreds of other women, worked as a ‘conductorette’ for LGOC during the First World War, replacing the men who had left their jobs for war service. Before the war, Cordell worked for Faraday and Son making luxury lampshades but as fighting  continued it became clear that such luxuries were no longer appropriate and she knew her job was in jeopardy.

In 1916 Cordell began training as a bus conductor, taking medical, IQ and maths tests to determine her suitability. She was based at varying locations including Willesden, Twickenham, Turnham Green and Highgate Archway garages. Women conductors earned five shillings a week less than men and they went on strike to demand equal pay.

As with all women who worked on the buses during the war, the end of the fighting in 1918 meant Cordell lost her job as she was replaced by the returning men.

Florence Cordell’s story features in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

web-sidepanel-batlebus

WE’RE CROWDFUNDING!

Can you help get ‘Battle Bus’ to the Western Front? You can get involved and back the project for free by becoming a project Cheerleader and sharing it with friends and family or make a pledge from as little as £20 and in return for your support you’ll receive some exciting and unique rewards!

Find out more: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/battlebus

Poster Parade – I Love London

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Summer outings by private bus, Verney L Danvers (1925)

This year London Transport Museum is celebrating the Year of The Bus and to mark the centenary of the First World War the Museum is restoring one of the last surviving B-type buses. At the beginning of the War over 1000 operational B-type London buses were commandeered for transporting troops to and from the Western Front. They were also used as ambulances on the front line and even as a mobile pigeon lofts. Once restored to full working order, our Battle Bus will act as the centrepiece for a programme of commemorative events and displays.

Our latest Poster Parade I Love London features 20 posters specially chosen by staff here at the Museum that demonstrate what they love about living and working in London. Included in the poster parade is Summer outings by private bus by Verney L Danvers (1925).

In order to maximise profits at weekends from the late 1920s up until the early 1960s London transport offered many of their vehicles for private hire at a fee. Often these busses were hired out for leisure to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and venture out into the country.

This delightful poster was designed at a time when London’s population was continuing to grow in the early decades of the 20th century and the city expanded rapidly through suburban development at the outskirts of London and into the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey.

Time to indulge in leisure activities was becoming more widely available, not least day trips to the beautiful London countryside of the Home Counties. In London days out by bus were promoted by the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) and included private bus hire as illustrated in the poster.

The excursionists are wearing their Sunday best outfits ready to enjoy a delicious picnic in the bucolic setting of a bluebell wood. Country walks were marketed as a healthy antidote to a week spent in an office or factory. Longer distance ‘rambling’ became particularly popular during the interwar years. The shadows on the pathway show that it is a brilliant sunny day and the image communicates blissful tranquillity and leisure, giving no hint of the undercurrents of the famous General Strike which took place the following year.

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The London bus companies also laid on transport for the thousands of Londoners who went to the Epsom Derby every year. Buses hired out for use at The Epsom Derby, June 1931 showing people sitting eating at a table on board the top deck of B-type bus.

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The Underground Group also organised many such trips on buses and trains to take children all over London.  The charitable outings, often for underprivileged London children, also generated positive publicity for the transport services.

Children’s outing arranged by Dalston bus garage, here the K-type motor buses have been hired out for an underprivileged children’s outing on 17th of August 1927.

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Post written by Chloe Eden Winter Taylor, Assistant Curator