At the Museum Depot in Acton Dilwyn Rees and David Clark regularly accession ephemera into the Museum’s collection. Their main focus is on tickets – from bus, rail and tram to trolleybus tickets, spanning the decades as far back as the early 1900’s. Recently we caught up with them to find out what they were working on:
“Just thought our readers would like to know that we have recently selected in route number order, Gibson long and short tickets for Central bus including Trolleybus and Country bus that Graham Page (volunteer sadly passed away in 2010) had put away for safe keeping. Where there is more than one route number we select the best copy, finishing up with two bundles – one for accessioning which includes checking for size and then mounting in plastic sleeves, and duplicates which are for disposal to the LTM Friends stall. We did find an example which was issued from a special batch of Gibson held at Epping Garage which had provision of the issue of return tickets and inclusion of date. We are still in the process of selecting Bell Punch tickets between 1949-1951, which is on-going at present.”
On Thursday 10th May some volunteers at London Transport Museum went to have a look around the TfL Lost Property Office. You would not believe what some people leave behind on London Transport!
Can you believe these are all mobile phones? Last year, there were 25,450 left on London Transport. One of the most unusual things left behind was a coffin – thankfully it was only a prop for a play! If you have lost something on a bus, tube or in a taxi, and it gets handed in, it will be kept at the Lost Property Office for 3 month (longer if found in a taxi).
And they keep hold of everything, even if it would cost less to replace it than to pay the handling charge.
Written by Freddie Still, Volunteer
Photos taken by Richard West and Freddie Still, Volunteers
London Transport Museum has organised a community volunteer programme called the Happy Museum which aims to create a more inclusive Museum environment. The 7 volunteers working on the Happy Museum programme will develop a Handling Trolley which will be used as part of the museums Mind the Map exhibition.
The Volunteers Perspective
At the start of the project we discussed why we wanted to volunteer and what we wanted to achieve as volunteers. As a group we wanted to meet new people, gain work experience, and learn about the history of transport as well as be able to use Museum resources and work with Museum staff. We wanted to make use of our free time and for our contribution to be recognised. Last but not least we wanted to enjoy our time at London Transport Museum.
What we have done so far as a group is take a tour of both the Acton Depot and the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden. The Museum curators gave us a briefing on what the Handling Trolley is for and its role as an active exhibit. We also had a tour of the library, which will enable us to research and get a better understanding of the collection.
To see more photos from the Happy Museum volunteers see our Flickr set.
Written by James Murphy and Bryan Fulton, Volunteers
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…
At the Museum Depot we have a fantastic team who regularly work together to restore and maintain some of our signalling equipment that we have acquired, such as the York Road and Marble Arch signal frames. They are currently working on restoring Marble Arch back in to working order, and have gone through a long journey of acquiring parts and the right skills and input. Bill Collins from the signalling team has proved an update on their current progress, and how 2012 looks for them:
“We are currently wiring up the two frames (Eastbound & Westbound) that will go into the equipment cabinet that will allow us to control Marble Arch frame. We then need to connect the equipment cabinet via multicore cables to the frame & diagram plus train description and miscellaneous items to the frame.
We have all the items we need and are making good progress towards March 10th (Our next Depot Open Weekend). I’m not yet convinced that we will have all up & working by then but we do have the computer side of things already done and tested. This allows us to test our items but most importantly allows us to ‘produce’ trains, and then via the Signalling frame allow them to run through the station or terminate and reverse west to east via the siding.
There are also all of the train descriptions to manage along with operating the frame. Naturally we will have to test all of the above if we are to have things working by then, but whatever happens, I believe we will be able to demonstrate some ‘life’ happening with Marble Arch by then!”
On Wednesday 30th November one of our esteemed volunteers, John Campbell, gave a tour of the museum’s Depot in Acton. The tour was given to a group of students who are using our collection as a starting point for learning English and improving their confidence with travelling on London Transport. Having given tours on the museum’s collection for a number of years, this was the first time John had given a tour to a group to whom the majority had English as a second language. This made the tour quite different from the usual, as John became quite animated in describing the history of some of the vehicles, and regularly asked questions to the group to keep them engaged. The group became so comfortable with the tour that it turned very quickly into a Q&A session led by the group!
John also spent time showing the group our extensive art and poster collection, which everyone was very keen to see. As part of their course the group were studying a number of our posters, so it was a great opportunity for them to get a first-hand view of the works whilst being able to ask their guide any questions they had about the collection.
On Saturday 19th November two of our volunteers, Tom Cavanagh and John Dodd, delivered the first official tours to the public on the museum’s art and poster collection at the Acton Depot. Visitors had the opportunity to take a peek at the extensive collection of works held in the art and poster stores, and learn all about how many of the works were made, why they were commissioned and how they came to be in the London Transport Museum’s collection. The art and poster stores are usually closed off to the public, and can only be accessed whilst either being supervised by staff or as part of a tour. Access to the Museum’s art and poster collection has been growing steadily this year, with a number of Poster Parade exhibitions at the museum in Covent Garden and regular features on the museum’s blog. And now we have tours of the collection too!
Throughout this year a number of our volunteers have spent many days being trained by our Safety and Citizenship, Visitor Services and Curatorial staff. One of the great things about volunteering with London Transport Museum is that our staff have a very hands on attitude, which allows our volunteers the opportunity to work closely alongside staff giving them a great insight into any tasks and projects they get involved with. Our volunteers have worked very hard researching their content, practising delivering and ironing out any small creases to the point they are feeling very comfortable with giving tours to willing visitors. Our next scheduled tours will be in January 2012, so make sure to book a ticket while you still can!
On Thursday 3rd November volunteers were present at the LTM Depot in Acton to assist the curatorial department with sorting and accessioning ephemera material to add to the collection. The Museum receives a vast amount of material through public and private donations, and volunteers are on hand on a regular basis to help out.
Fred Ivey assisted with checking bus timetables for duplications which had recently been donated to the museum, with timetables ranging in production dates from 1965 through to 2005, so there was plenty to keep him busy with. Brian Hawkins meanwhile took on the task of adding timetables to the collections IMS system, so that they could be officially logged and searched for by our curators to assist with future queries and museum research.
On the 8-9th October London Transport Museum opened its doors to the public at its Museum Depot in Acton. Each year the Museum opens its collection up to the public for two weekends in March and October. Each weekend is themed, and this time the focus was on highlighting our Engineering collection. As part of the theme talks, tours, film screenings, rides on the miniature railway, as well as demonstrations by TfL’s Emergency Response Unit, were all offered to the public.
Throughout the weekend we had over 30 volunteers on hand to support the event. Some were able to put their specialist knowledge to good use by giving talks to visitors on specific engineering objects such as the Manor House sub-station control panel from Wood Green control room. The miniature railway team is made up completely of volunteers, who manage and maintain and the railway throughout the year in preparation for large events such as this. Over the two days over 800 rides were offered to visitors, which definately kept the team on their feet!
Volunteers were also on hand to educate visitors in learning about some of London Transport Museum’s handling collection. The theme Tickets Please!’ is a regular feature at Open Weekends and provides visitors with the chance to engage with knowledegable volunteers, as well as handle some of the museums ticketing items and learn about life on the buses. Across the two days volunteers engaged with a whopping 500 visitors, which just proves how popular the theme is and how valuable working knowledge from our volunteers can be in educating visitors.
London Transport Museum benefits a great deal from voluntary support in all manner of areas, and without it we would not be able to achieve anywhere near as much and offer what we are able to offer without it. This was recently evident when a handful of volunteers stepped in on Wednesday 14th September to assist cleaning the RM1 vehicle at the Museum Depot at Acton in preparation for the upcoming Open Weekend in October.
Ron Bristow, Malcolm Bowers, Fred Vincent and Gerry Pratchett were on hand to assist Robert Excell in getting the bus into ship shape both inside and out. With it being one of the most popular vehicles in our collection, it always receives lots of attention from the public, particularly at the Open Weekend when it will be ferrying passengers from our Depot around the local area.