Tag Archives: Poster Parade

Celebrating 150 years of the District line with our new Poster Parade

By Laura Sleath, Senior Curator

Throughout 2019, Transport for London and the London Transport Museum are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the District line. As part of the celebrations we are featuring twenty District line related posters from our outstanding poster collection in a new Poster Parade on display from 28 June to 19 September 2019.

Map of the District line in 1871

The District line opened in December 1868. Then known as the Metropolitan District Railway, it was the second underground passenger railway in the world after the Metropolitan line. Initially running only between Sloane Square and Westminster, seven more stations opened during the first year. The intention was to join up with the Metropolitan line at either end, forming an ‘Inner Circle’ linking all London’s mainline termini. However, rivalry between the two railways meant that the Circle wasn’t completed until 1884.

The District expanded its services to the western suburbs during the steam era to Hammersmith, Hounslow, Ealing and Wimbledon. But when the American financier Charles Tyson Yerkes first took an interest in the railway in 1899, it was in poor financial shape. Yerkes took over the District in 1901, and through his influence the Inner Circle and District were electrified.

The poster Light, power and speed by Charles Sharland features one of the new trains that were introduced during the electrification of the line. Electrification greatly improved conditions in the sections running underground, and the company promoted their new trains as offering comfortable, modern and technologically advanced travel.

Light, power & speed, by Charles Sharland, 1910

In addition to the District line, Yerkes’ Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) owned many other underground railways, including the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Hampstead (now part of the Northern line) and Central lines. To encourage off-peak travel the UERL used posters to promote destinations which could be reached by their expanding network. For the western section of the District line this meant attractions which are still popular today, such as Richmond and Kew Gardens. At the time Sudbury Town and South Harrow were promoted as rural destinations, easily reached in time to see a gorgeous sunset. Though originally served by the District line, these stations were transferred to the Piccadilly line in 1932.

Kew Gardens, by Irene Fawkes, 1923

At the eastern end of the District line, services from Whitechapel to Upminster opened in June 1902. The District Railway also ran through trains to the popular seaside resort of Southend. The Upminster Windmill and the Canvey Lady in Southend were both familiar local landmarks at the time, and whilst the Canvey Lady was pulled down after the Second World War, the windmill survives and is now a listed building. The process of electrification was slower at this end with Upminster served by steam until 1932, and Southend until after the Second World War.

Upminster The mill, by M A Carter, 1924

Today the District line is being transformed once again, with air-conditioned, walk-through trains introduced on the line in 2014, and the Four Lines Modernisation programme due to deliver a new signalling system by 2023.

Check out our online exhibit on Google Arts & Culture to learn more about the history of the District line, and visit the Poster Parade (28 June – 19 September 2019) at the Museum to see our stunning posters up close.

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.

they shout for joy
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?

Austincooperflags

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

North, South, East, West

This is the final instalment in our series of Poster Parades linked to the Mind the Map exhibition, curated by the Museum’s Young Consultants and installed by our wonderful interns Siggy and San. For this display we’ve mapped London through posters. From north to south and east to west, these posters present and promote some of the fantastic places and attractions that London has to offer.

Transport posters have been used for well over 100 years, transport posters to highlight London’s leisure hotspots – from cultural landmarks and fine architecture through to fantastic open spaces. Londoners and visitors alike have been encouraged and inspired to use London’s public transport network to explore the city and beyond.

Where do you like visiting most in London?

    

Celebrating the Olympics

Have you been to the Olympics yet? Come visit our current Poster Parade display! This display celebrates the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics by reflecting on the history and tradition of London’s sporting life. There’s some fantastic posters on display, from football and horse riding through to athletics and swimming. Also on display is the one poster commissioned by London Transport during the London 1948 Olympics, also known as the ‘Austerity Olympics’ during the tough economic times after World War II.

Posters have been used since the early 1900s to encourage travel to sporting events and activities. They also assisted in promoting off-peak sales on London’s public transport network, particularly as the popularity of mass spectator sports grew. Special events such as Wimbledon and cup finals bring the additional challenge of transporting thousands of extra passengers. TfL is currently facing one of its biggest challenges – informing and assisting spectators and participants in their experience of the London 2012 Olympics.

‘What is a Map’ – poster parade

The Museum’s current poster parade display was curated and installed by our amazing Young Consultants, with input from young people in both the UK and Spain.

The display coincides with the Museum’s ‘Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography’ exhibition. ‘Mind the Map’ features an incredible variety of maps, from those that help you get from A to B through to decorative maps, maps as publicity along with some amazing contemporary artworks that explore notions of ‘personal mapping’ and ‘journeys’. The poster display invites you to consider what a map is and can be and explores the many creative approaches to mapping London, its transport system and passengers’ journeys.

This display features labels written by members of the public. We asked young people to give their personal response to the posters on display. Along with involvement from young people in London, we were also lucky enough to work with the wonderful students from the Colegio Cardenal Spinola school in Spain, whose teacher Antonio Cortés has been using the Museum’s collection as a tool to spark discussion during his English language classes.

Each label features a response that reflects a personal journey or experience, bringing very new and insightful perspectives to the Museum’s collection.

Here’s a sample from people’s amazing contributions:

‘This poster reminds me of those nights where the sky is black and the stars light up and you are with someone you love and tell him to count the stars and you love him as much as there are stars in the sky.’
– Eva López, age 15, Cardenal Spínola School, near Seville, Spain

‘This poster reminds me of my journey and paths I have taken toward a life in performance. The bright lights of the signs welcome you into this surreal world that you never want to leave!’
– Gloria Gaspard, age 20, student and LTM Young Consultant, Highams Park, London

A big thank you to everyone who took part!

Behind the Painting by Numbers Poster Parade

On the 6th January curators and museum technical assistants spent the early morning installing the new poster parade ‘Painting by numbers’. The display shows posters which creatively adopt facts and figures to celebrate the increase of efficiency, reliability and progress of London transport operators but also offer solutions to problems faced by commuters on their journeys.

Selecting the posters for display was a tough decision, and was heartbreaking to see some excluded from the final 20. Two artworks from 1953 by Tom Eckersley (above), one of the leading poster designers, were found on our catalogue but could not be included in the exhibition as our aim is to show posters rather than rough sketches and drawings.

Interestingly the design stage of the artworks didn’t go further than the drawing board, so their design was never taken forward and seen by the public on the Underground.

Another poster which was unearthed on the catalogue dates back to 1912, and is by an unknown artist. It’s a nifty design which shows a bar chart comparing the speed of different modes of transport. The poster promotes the use of the Tube by claiming it is the quickest and easiest way to get around London. If you look closely you’ll be able to see a snail at the bottom of the chart as one of the comparisons!

For the final 20 selection come and see the display which will be up until the 22nd March 2012.

“Children’s London”

London Transport Museum is currently hosting a celebratory event of the transport related work of John Burningham in its new poster parade “John Burningham: Journeys of Imagination”. Along with his historic commissions created for London Transport and other travel companies, visitors can see an entirely new commission created by John Burningham.

The poster was originally commissioned by London Transport in 1968 but was never completed because of John’s work on “Around the World in Eighty Days” … until now. London Transport Museum re-commissioned the poster entitled “Children’s London” and a team of curators and technicians arrived at the Museum early this morning to ensure the poster was on display in time for the Museum opening at 10am. The poster which is currently on display in the Poster Parade can be seen until the exhibition closes on 1st December. Reproductions are also available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

We think it was definitely worth the 40 year wait and can’t wait to hear your comments.

The Museum is also running a Flickr project based on the theme of Children’s London and we would love to see your submissions. The best entries will receive admission to the Museum and a signed Burningham book. Add your entries at:
www.flickr.com/groups/childrens_london

Installing the New Poster Parade: Engaging Londoners on the Move

The Seen, by James Fitton, 1948

Buy Poster

Every few months London Transport Museum installs a new Poster Parade which showcases 20 posters from our collection of over 5,000 different poster designs. Curators and Museum Technical Assistants have to arrive at the museum early to make sure the display is ready for when the museum opens.

The poster parades are usually themed. This can be to showcase the highlights of our collection, mark the change of seasons or even to support another exhibition featured in the museum.

This month’s poster parade has been sponsored by CBS Outdoor, a major supporter of the Museum, who have selected and interpreted the 20 posters that are currently on display. CBS Outdoor are the advertising company responsible for the London Underground, bus, tram and rail networks.

The poster parade can be found on Mezzanine Level 1 of the Museum.