Tag Archives: LTMuseum

Acton Depot Open Weekend Oct 2012 – It Couldn’t Happen Without Them

As promised I’m returning to the topic of the Acton Depot Open Weekend, but this time concentrating on some of the volunteer activities. Well, where better place to start than meeting and greeting? Maintaining a steady flow of new LTM Friends and volunteers is essential to the continuing work of the museum. So, strategically placed at the entrance to the Depot, I found volunteers Paul Fox and Eva-Maria Lauenstein giving no guest the opportunity to get in without understanding the many benefits of being more closely involved with the LTM. Before you run away with the impression of “running the gauntlet”, let me reassure you that it was done with great skill and the best humour, making for a very friendly welcome to the event.

Inside the Depot, having deposited bags and coats at the cloakroom, one of the first teams that one encountered was the signalling team, proudly demonstrating the newly completed Marble Arch signal frame installation. Whilst no expert, I think I can safely say from observation that our visitors tested to destruction the failsafe nature of the interlocking system.

Moving on, the handling trolley in the bus exhibits area soon came into sight, where volunteers Ken Healey, Ash Ketchum and David Berwick looked to be having a great time, with the Tickets Please! theme proving very popular with our younger visitors. The opportunity to have a genuine Gibson or Bell Punch ticket was obviously an immense draw…

Of course, an important role for volunteers on an open day is straightforward answering of visitor questions (most vital of all “Where are the toilets?”) and ensuring that guests respect the exhibits and cordoned off areas. Keeping an eye on the buses were Ian Dolby and Norman Argent, both long standing volunteers.

James keeping an eye on RM1’s timekeeping

Staying with buses, I mentioned last week that the opportunity to ride on RM1 was very popular. Helping the crew to marshal visitors at the rear platform I found James Wake, who was expertly handling of the crowds, who were, dare I say, not as skilled at boarding back loaders as Londoners were when RM1 first graced the capital’s streets.

I also found these volunteers lurking at the back of the depot, looking very preoccupied…

Dave Olney, Volunteer


Acton Depot Open Weekend Oct 2012 – First impressions of a new volunteer

As Sam Clift (Volunteer Coordinator) put it to me, what better way to ease my way into writing the volunteer blog than to attend the Acton Depot on the first day of the Open Weekend in October? So on Saturday 6th I reported at 10:30am sharp (having spectacularly underestimated how long it would take the Piccadilly line to deliver me to Acton Town), just in time for the volunteers’ briefing by Barry Le Jeune (Friends Chairman). I was surprised by the number of visitors already waiting for entry when I arrived, probably more than 50.

The amount of care and effort that had gone into the organisation of the event was impressive. I understand that these open days have been running for a few years now, which must help in their planning and execution. A large level of high quality volunteer activity was very obviously essential to the successful delivery of the Open Weekend, to the extent that this first blog post will concentrate on the overall feeling of the Open Weekend and next week’s will look more closely at some of the individual activities and contributions.


At 11 o’clock the doors opened, and immediately there was a rush on the LTM stand, not to mention the Friends’ stand and also quite a few of the other stalls as well. The better organised visitors obviously like to get their purchasing done early in order not to miss any rare items. Most noticeable was the large selection of A60/A62 stock artefacts and memorabilia for sale, and in the course of the day I saw many people carrying around luggage racks. Speaking for myself, I very nearly bought a destination screen unit, but consideration of how this might be received when I proudly unveiled it once back at home weighed against it in the end.

The depot soon started filling up with visitors, and by 12 o’clock it was looking really busy in some of the more popular areas. Obvious crowd pleasers were the bus rides, particularly (but not surprisingly) RM1, although RT1700 from London Bus Company also did sterling service; the taxi display and cab rides organised thanks to the significant presence and contribution of the London Vintage Taxi Association; the Acton Model Railway attracted a long queue of passengers as the day progressed, and the children’s activities on the mezzanine area was also noticeably busy.


Walking around the depot site I had the opportunity to speak to a number of volunteers and it immediately became apparent that they all have a great interest in the work of the museum, and a deep commitment to it. All were busy cheerfully dealing with the public, answering questions on every imaginable topic (I certainly surprised myself when I was able to help one man with his question about a Gardner bus engine). I’m quite sure that the unfailing helpfulness of the volunteers contributed greatly to giving the whole event its friendly and welcoming feeling – there was a great buzz in the air from start to finish.

Saturday was blessed with blue skies and warm sunshine, so many visitors ate outside at the back of the depot building in the rear yard, and a long queue soon developed at the hot snack van. I also saw several volunteers grabbing a quick tray of chips…!

Our visitors covered a diverse range, and a gratifyingly high number of families with children were present. It was very noticeable that in some the older family members were busy reminiscing, whilst in others, a youngster would be explaining an arcane point of detail to a bemused adult!

From about 4pm onwards visitors started to make their way home, the view along the entry road resembling the retreat of a victorious army as people carried home their prized purchases of all sorts, shapes and sizes. I had to remind myself that for many of the volunteers, the show would happen all over again tomorrow.

Dave Olney, LTM Volunteer

Art and poster tour guides visit Central St Martins

On the 4th July volunteers and staff from London Transport Museum went along to Central St Martins’ new building at Granary square (behind Kings Cross station) to see their printing facilities and learn about the process of making a poster, from art work to the finished print.

Our volunteers offer tours to the public of the art and poster collection at the Museum Depot on a regular basis, and to enhance their knowledge on the collection we decided to arrange this visit to give them an insight into the design and printing process.

Everyone was welcomed and given an insightful tour of the building by staff which included the new galleries and printing facilities (ranging from Macbooks to letter pressing machines).  Having the opportunity to view a collection of German posters was a big highlight and a chance to see how poster design in Germany influenced the development and graphic styles of London Transport advertising campaigns in the early 20th Century.  We also each had the opportunity to have a go at using a letter press machine to create a text print commemorating the visit.  It was a great experience and really showed how much manual work is involved in the process!

If you are interested in a tour of London Transport Museum Depot’s art and poster collection, contact Sam Clift at sam.clift@ltmuseum.co.uk


Map as Inspiration – Undergrounding London

In 2009, Antonio Cortés, an English language teacher from Colegio Cardenal Spínola school in Spain, got in touch with the Museum to tell us about his project ‘Undergrounding London’. Since our first contact, the Museum has kept in touch with Antonio and his students, working together to develop new themes for the ‘Undergrounding London’ project. So when we started developing our collection in preparation for the Mind the Map exhibition, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Antonio’s story to be captured for our collection. Hear all about the project and see some of the activities in action in their fantastic film:

Since taking part in the Map as Inspiration project, Antonio has continued to work with the Museum, including most recently when he and his students wrote some new labels for our upcoming poster parade ‘What is a Map’. We hope to continue working with Colegio Cardenal Spínola school into the future!


Map as Inspiration – ThinkQuest Japan

Another of the brilliant projects who took part in our Map as Inspiration project was that of Shota Kuroki and the ThinkQuest team from Kanagawa University High School in Japan. Shota and his team are interested in information graphics, and use Beck’s map as an example of how such a simple idea can have a massive impact on how information is communicated around the world. Their project won the ThinkQuest Japan award in 2011, and the Museum was delighted to have been able to work with the group.

Here’s their video:

After winning the competition, the team sent us some messages:

Hello, I’m Yuki Hirotsu and I took charge of the animation on the top page of our website. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to display our website and video at your exhibition in 2012.

We have been working on this project since last April and we managed to make a good website thanks to your cooperation.


The global exchange between you and us led to the championship.

We hope we go to London where is a beautiful city sometime in the near future.

Thank you very much!

Chiaki Matsumoto


My name is Ryosuke Matsuoka. We sent a video letter to your museum in December.

Thank you for sending ours various kinds of material such as the book, the poster, and so on for my preparation of website. This was the first time for ours to communicate with people in foreign countries without interpreter. I’m glad to send a mail to you again, because I want to let you know about my website. With your help, we won the highest award in the website.

Thank you so much and I`m looking forward to visiting the museum one day.


Map as Inspiration – Orchard Hill College

Orchard Hill is a special needs college cased in Carshalton, south-east London. The college caters for students with a range of needs, and has fantastic staff and facilities. Up until a couple of years ago though, the names of the classrooms and floors of the college were confusing and hard to remember, so the staff and students decided to take action. After a brainstorm with the students, it was decided that each floor should be named and colour coded as one of the Underground lines, with each room being renamed after a station on chosen line. The new scheme has been a great success – hear all about it from the students and teachers themselves:


Map as Inspiration – an introduction

This month, the Museum will be unveiling its exciting new exhibition, Mind the Map. The exhibition forms part of the Museum’s Stories of the World Cultural Olympiad programme for 2012.

Mind the Map not only celebrates the impact the Tube map has had on design and cartography, but also explores the international influence of the iconic diagram. During the planning of the exhibition, the Museum searched for projects which are taking place around the world, and which use the map as more than just a navigation tool.

Have you ever used a map to learn a new language? Or how about to name rooms and floors in your workplace? People all over the world, from Spain to Japan, as well as here in the UK, are using the Tube map in innovative and fascinating ways. All of these projects have changed the way we at the Museum have viewed the amps in our collection – it’s been an amazing journey for us all.

Three of the projects we came across have been captured on film for the Museum’s collection, and are now online via the Museum’s YouTube channel for you to enjoy. They are also featured on the blog as individual posts: Undergrounding London; Orchard Hill College; and ThinkQuest Japan.

What do you use the Tube map for? Share your stories here!


Collecting for 2013 – The end of the A Stock

Over the past couple of years, brand new snazzy trains have begun to appear on the Metropolitan Line. These S Stock trains are gradually being added to the London Underground system, replacing the 50 year old A Stock trains. The A Stock are being removed from the network at a rate of two trains per week, and by the end of 2012 will be no more.

The transition from A Stock to S Stock has been an exciting turning point for some drivers, but the end of an era for others. Capturing the workings of the old trains in operation was identified as a priority for the LU150 anniversary project, so yesterday myself and film-maker Geoff Marshall boarded an A Stock at Harrow-on-the-Hill and accompanied driver Richard Griffin on his journey up and down the Metropolitan line for the day

Having never had the opportunity to ride in a Tube cab before, the experience was incredibly exciting! Stations, tracks and other vehicles look so different from the front of the train, and is was fascinating to see Richard operating the train, stopping at signals, making announcements and following the timetable.

Geoff captured lots of footage on camera, which will be edited into a short film and added to the Museum’s collection. As soon as it’s done I will share it up here, but for now here are a few pictures from my ride!


Collecting for 2013 – Caledonian Road station’s whiteboard artist



It’s not every London Underground worker who has a song written and recorded about her, but that’s what has happened to Kim Kalan.

The bubbly customer service assistant at Caledonian Road station, on the Piccadilly line, has been brightening up the ticket hall with her intricate whiteboard drawings  – with an accompanying cheerful message for passengers.

As well as being praised by customers, Kim’s colourful drawings were noticed by local musician Eoin Quiery. He was so impressed he decided a write a song about her, which has been recorded on the latest album made by his acoustic rock band, Burning Wheel.

Called Kimmie Song, it can also be found on YouTube and other social networking sites.

It all began in a small way,” said self-taught artist Kim. “When we used to display notices to the public about delays or other problems, I started to put little drawings on them to brighten them up.”

She then moved on to the whiteboard drawings, working on them in her breaks and often coming in early before her shift begins.

Using white board markers she covers a wide range of subjects, ranging from the Mona Lisa to the World Cup and Armistice Day, always coming up with something special to mark Christmas, Easter and other seasonal occasions.

“I do it purely to make the day better for my customers,” said Kim, who affectionately refers to them as “my lovelies.”

She added: “What’s important to me is the positive effect my drawings and messages have on people; I’m not after any sort of recognition.”

Passengers regularly praise her drawings, including a local professional artist who said he could not do what she does with the white board markers. Other passengers have asked her to draw portraits of them.

Asked what she thought when she found out that Eoin Quiery had written a song about her, she said: “I was very surprised. How often do people get a song written about them?”

Kim, whose mother Sandra works in the station’s ticket office, also writes science fiction in her spare time. Her first fantasy book is complete and Kim is currently waiting for an agent.

My ambition is to become a full-time writer,” she said. “In the meantime I will continue with my ticket hall drawings and am so glad that they have met with such a brilliant response from customers.”

You can check out more of Kims work at www.kimistic.co.uk

Words and photos by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend


Collecting for 2013 – Oyster card holder swap shop

What does your Oyster card holder mean to you? Did you get it for free, buy it especially, or receive it as a gift? Do you use it as a wallet or just to keep your Oyster card safe?

Oyster wallets come in all colours, patterns and styles, from simple plastic holders to fancy leather and fabric cases. Companies across the capital have created their own holders as forms of advertising, with wallets being handed out all over the city every week.

As part of the LU150 celebrations, and in partnership with Andy Wallace from Transport for London, we went out to Acton Town earlier in March to find out more about what people store their Oyster cards in. If they were willing, we asked members of the public to swap their current holders for a new one, collecting the story behind the significance of the ones they donated.

Some of the stories were great, from wallets people have had since Oyster started in 2001, to pretty ones given as gifts, as well as holders purchased overseas. We’ve so far collected around 70 wallets for the Museum’s collection, all with their own great stories and anecdotes attached.

If you’d like to donate your Oyster card holder to the Museum, get in touch!