Tag Archives: staff

Museum Week: Monday Theme – Day in the Life

It’s Monday – traditionally the most miserable day of the working week – when that long journey toward the weekend has begun all over again. Given that, it might not seem like the best day to be asking our staff some probing questions about their job – but it’s #MuseumWeek and today we’re looking at ‘Day in the Life’ so what better way than finding out what our staff get up to, from breakfast bagel to bedtime! (Complete with their very own #MuseumSelfies)

https://twitter.com/ltmuseum #MuseumWeek #DayintheLife

Me Sau-Fun Lyndsey Sam Wendy Saskia hannah Julie Eli Caroline Marilyn memet Noel helena2 Stuart Siobhan Harry Ed


Me

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Kirsten Riley and I’m the Web and Social Media Manager here at the Museum

How does your day start?
Around 6:30am. My Boxer dog wakes me up to be fed (I don’t need an alarm!) I have an espresso before heading out the door about 8am.

How do you get into work?
I live in the South-East in Lewisham so I get in via the Overground. Never get tired of the view from Waterloo Bridge!

Breakfast?
Porridge (even in Summer!)

What does a typical day look like?
I get in and have breakfast at my desk while I check email and open up our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter etc – and check for updates and questions. I then plan in my tasks for that day in between various meetings. Normally tasks include optimising images, updating web content, proofing marketing text, collating stats, and updating our various social media sites with content – messages and blog posts. At lunchtime I usually head to the gym so I can unwind (and not spend money in Covent Garden!)

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Being Omni-present. I have two computer screens as I have to watch social media streams while doing my other work so I am always jumping from task to task. It can feel a little maniacal. Right now we’re also developing our new website (due to launch in mid-April) so I have been managing this project while carrying out my business-as-usual role.

What do you love most about your work?
The fact that I get to talk directly to our fans and followers on Social Media (and the people I work with are immense!)

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get home at around 7:30pm and take the dog out a walk  – my partner works shifts so the dog isn’t left alone all day! I then make some dinner before kicking back to watch some TV or read a book – right now I’m reading The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth. I get to bed about midnight (after checking Facebook and Twitter one last time!)


Sau-Fun

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Sau-Fun Mo, Head of Design

How does your day start?
Alarm goes off at 5.30am, and once I’ve got myself ready, I put the supper on the automatic cooker ready for the children as soon as they’re back home in the evening.

How do you get into work?
The 6.50 train into Waterloo which tends to be quite busy

Breakfast?
Rarely

What does a typical day look like?
Back to back meetings and creatively directing anything from 20 to 50+ design projects all on the go at the same time. Best moments are when I am doing hands on design.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time management – ensuring that I am available to all departments as well as my design team.

What do you love most about your work?
Being the creative lead on all design projects and making everything gorgeous

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
By spending precious time with my hubby and children, and OK, maybe a cheeky glass of wine too 😉


Lyndsey

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Lyndsey Mclean and I organise public events at the Museum.

How does your day start?
After repeatedly hitting the snooze button on my alarm, I get up around 7.30am, and listen to the Today programme on Radio 4  and eat my breakfast.

How do you get into work?
I walk and take the bus.

Breakfast?
Absolutely! I love breakfast. I like a poached egg on toast, the more free range the better for a lovely deep orange yolk.

What does a typical day look like?
I get into work around 10am and check my emails, and the day and week ahead. I work out what I need to do for upcoming meetings as well as any on-going things on my to do list. The rest of the day is spent planning for events ahead – at the moment I am finalising the details of our next Friday Late for the opening of our new exhibition  on 16 May. So I am looking for suppliers and performers, and talking to them about what I want  them to do, as well as updating the information available about the event, and ensuring that I don’t go over budget. I am also responsible for the other events in 2014, so I spend time finalising the details of these, and attending meetings to discuss the overall programme of events, and how it is shaping up, as well as how it might contribute to other aspects of the museum

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Thinking about what will appeal to our audience, making sure it is affordable, and that it will generate enough ticket sales to pay for itself.

What do you love most about your work?
Getting to visit places that the public aren’t usually allowed, and  working out how to make them accessible. Also, the end of successful event is very satisfying.  

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I do an evening drawing class, which is great for not thinking about work, or I go for a drink with friends.


Sam

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Sam Clift and I’m the Volunteer Coordinator at the Museum.

How does your day start?
Alarm goes off at 6am (usually woken up at 5.30am by the radiators rattling with the heating kicking in), get washed and packed lunch ready to be out of the door by 7am.

How do you get into work?
A steady walk (or powerwalk if I’m running late) to Sutton station, jumping on the Southern train to London Bridge at 7.20am and a quick switch onto the South Eastern to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Porridge or bran flakes with lots of mixed berries thrown in.

What does a typical day look like?
Get to work by 8.30am, so time for a cup of tea and a chance to chill before the day begins at 9am. I switch my computer on and go through my mountain of emails and check my calendar, then start to prioritise my time for the day by putting a checklist together (which I really, really, really try and stick to but it never happens). I usually have one or two volunteers in the office, so they arrive around 9ish and I spend time chatting to them and discussing their work for the day before they get started. Then I get going with my to do list, which usually comprises of following up on event information/updates, forward planning for the week ahead, responding to email/voicemail enquiries (both from existing/potential volunteers. I head out for my lunch sometime between 12-1pm, when I usually have a walk around and find an interesting subject to draw (I’m working on a person drawing project at the moment). Then I spend the afternoon speaking to lots of staff and volunteers about events and volunteer requirements for various projects.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Its naturally a very sociable job, as I have to work with staff across all departments of the museum and manage 160+ volunteers. Time management is always a huge challenge, and making conversations constructive and relevant to the needs of the museum (whilst staying light hearted and sociable) has become a key part of my day to day.

What do you love most about your work?
Working with so many interesting and passionate people. I love the fact that our volunteers are generally so accommodating and relaxed in their manner, as it’s a breath of fresh air and reminds me why I love this job!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Seeing my little daughter when I get home, she always makes me smile.


Wendy

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Wendy Neville – I’m Head of Communications at the Museum

How does your day start?
Chaotically usually. Check work emails, grab papers for meetings, get ready, get train, get to work.

How do you get into work?
Overground to Charing Cross station

Breakfast?
Sometimes. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel if I do have it.

What does a typical day look like?
Back-to-back meetings; writing copy, checking copy and making things happen.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Managing so many priorities. Lots of deadlines and lots of people from in and outside the Museum needing attention and feedback.

What do you love most about your work?
I love the fact that we can be so creative with our collections. Yes, we are a Museum of transport so we’re big on buses and trains. But we use that to tell a much bigger story about London and design.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I go shopping. 😉


Saskia

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Saskia Webster-Zazzi and I’m the Venue Sales and Events Executive at the Museum

How does your day start?
With a piecing horn alarm from my iPhone at 7:15 followed by the snooze alarm at 7:35

How do you get into work?
Nice stroll to the tube station with a quick journey on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines

Breakfast?
On a treat days its Starbucks coffee and a bircher. Normal days I opt for Weetabix

What does a typical day look like?
Get in have my breakfast and start reading my emails the phone is usually buzzing and I may have a number of site visits during the day also.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Just making sure I remember everything, all clients have different requirements and needs and I just want to ensure I don’t let anything slip

What do you love most about your work?
A live event- seeing all the planning come to life and watching the client and their guests enjoy all the facilities of this great museum

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
A packet of Revels on the sofa with a channel four documentary


hannah

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Hannah Steele and I’m an Apprentice on the Young People’s Programme.

How does your day start?
My day is supposed to start at 6:30ish… I don’t allow myself to hit the snooze for more than 15 minutes

How do you get into work?
I live on the border of Essex, so it’s a 25 minutes train journey to Liverpool Street, Then about 20 minutes from there.

Breakfast?
I’m going through a juicing phase at the moment, so it’s normally a bright orange or green juice… nice and healthy; followed by biscuits or crisps… not so healthy, I like to think they balance each other out.

What does a typical day look like?
I get in and check my emails. I then go through the days tasks with Eli: another apprentice, we decide who’s going to take on what and which tasks we’ll handle together. At the moment we’re planning a project; taking on young volunteers to curate two new handling trollies for the museum, so a lot of the work we’re doing is focussed on recruiting the young people. At lunchtime I like to get out for some fresh London air.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Letting go of some ideas after a brainstorm as sometimes we have to let go of some really great ones; they can be quite outlandish.

What do you love most about your work?
I love working with other young people, it’s easy to get a lot done as everyone has great ideas to throw around; we manage to have crazy brainstorming sessions but end up with something succinct and creative. I’m really looking forward to getting the young volunteers on board and mapping how they develop through the process. I’m on the wrong end of the young person spectrum, so it’s cool to be with people that remind me that I’m still just beginning life.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Two days a week I lurk around after work and wait for my dance classes to start at Pineapple, handy that it’s round the corner. On other days it’s home and films or out with friends, I often sneak a cheeky shopping excursion in too.


Julie

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Julie Lynn, Venue Sales and Marketing Manager

How does your day start?
Usually my 5 year old wakes me up dressed in a superhero outfit, which I have to prise off him and change for his school uniform

How do you get into work?
I walk to school to drop the superhero off then get a train from Three Bridges to Waterloo.

Breakfast?
It used to be sausage buttie but I’ve gone all health conscious at the moment and so as from 4 weeks ago it’s been a banana and Orange Juice…

What does a typical day look like?
Emails, voicemails from clients who are hiring the venue for special events, marketing spend and budgets, spread sheets galore (its year end just now)

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Year end! Juggling full time job with parenting and 3 hour commute.

What do you love most about your work?
Definitely the people I work with but also getting to meet so many people with interesting ideas for their events in our space and helping make it happen for them

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Eli

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Eli Bligh-Briggs and I am one of the Young People’s Programme Apprentices

How does your day start?
Waking up to ‘Wake Up’ (Rage against the Machine) and my dog, Ellie – bowties, braces, pocket watch I’m ready to go!

How do you get into work?
I stroll to the train station and walk further down the platform in the hope of getting a seat in a luggage area on the ever crowded Orpington-Charing Cross line!

Breakfast?
Today included Roundel Birthday cake, dolly mixture birthday cake and Cheerios at my desk in wonderful breakfast company 😉

What does a typical day look like?
Busy, fun and most of all stupidly exciting with my amazing colleagues and Hannah, the other YPP apprentice. We are working on a Young volunteer project at the moment, as well as curating a new display case. Hannah and myself take lunch usually in Actors Church Gardens as the weather is beautiful. We are also about to launch a new young volunteers project. Later today we have a meeting regarding the Carnival Late Event which sounds super exciting!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
My biggest challenge is my own confidence, but the training and HUGE amount of support here at LTM is crazy and it is growing day by day. ALSO trying not to eat cake is one of the most challenging things ever working here, I LOVE cake and there is ALWAYS cake!

What do you love most about your work?
I love why we are doing what we do, how we are doing it and how many doors it is opening and barriers it’s smashing down. I love the people I work with. And of course I LOVE MUSEUMS!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
On the train I check my project blogs, feeds and twitters, write/research for my paper and cuddle in front of the fire with Ellie


Caroline

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Caroline MacVay and I work at the Museum as a Curator

How does your day start?
To get to my desk I have to climb four flights of stairs, which wakes me up and saves on Gym membership.

How do you get into work?
In the morning I walk to Crystal Palace station, where I catch the train into London Bridge and then on to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Breakfast is often a banana, which I grab on my way out of the door and eat on the way in.

What does a typical day look like?
Typical days don’t seem to happen in this job, which is what I love about it. Today I am working at the Museum in Covent Garden. I will be answering enquiries about the collection, working with the Museum’s Apprentices and writing exhibition text for a new display.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging and pleasurable part of my job is to keep learning about London Transport and to find new ways to show off the London Transport Museum’s amazing collection.

What do you love most about your work?
I love taking groups around the poster and art store at the museum’s depot in Acton. Meeting new people is fun and you get to delight and amaze them with the collection. It’s also a great opportunity to learn new things from other enthusiasts.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I relax when I get home by watching really good or really bad TV, depending on how stressful the day has been.


Marilyn

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Marilyn Greene and I am one of the Public Programme Managers at the London Transport Museum

How does your day start?
I am usually woken up early by the light streaming in to my room but try to get back to sleep until about 7.30

How do you get into work?
Bus and tube or walk and tube if the weather is good.

Breakfast?
Coffee and two slices of toast normally with natural peanut butter or Marmite on

What does a typical day look like?
I have another coffee when I get to work and then I check e mails and my diary.  I organise events for adults so I am researching suitable activities often on line, researching images, timetabling events and liaising with event providers including curators and sometimes volunteers and with the Marketing and Operation teams about the content, advertising and the set- up of events.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Some of the work involves working on risk assessments for off-site events where nothing is straight forward.

What do you love most about your work?
The feedback from happy customers who have enjoyed the event and activities we have organised.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I’m often rushing to other meetings in my local community but otherwise I like to make sure I cook a quick meal and watch selected TV programmes and/ or talk to friends on the phone. (I don’t normally get to sleep before 12.30!)


memet

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Memet Bunyan and I am Retail Manager at the Museum.

How does your day start?
My 4 years old daughter is my alarm clock: without an exception, she always wakes up at around 6am!

How do you get into work?
W7 and then Piccadilly line from Finsbury Park

Breakfast?
School run dictates this. If I am lucky, some marmite on toast and an unfinished cup of tea.

What does a typical day look like?
My normal day starts with the previous days’ stats and then I go through my emails, then I make my way down to the shop floor.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Finding the killer product to sell in the shop!

What do you love most about your work?
Product development and numbers: I love numbers!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Unwinding: what’s that??


Noel

Who are you and do at the Museum?
Noel Coleman, Im the ICT Projects Manager at the Museum.

How does your day start?
It starts around 5:20am, train at 6:20 then exercise in a park near work starting at 7:30am for 45 minutes.

How do you get into work?
I live in South East London and get a national rail network train in to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Typically porridge, fruit and a protein shake

What does a typical day look like?
I get to work, having checked my emails on the way in. I line up which tasks need to be completed today. This generally involves lots of meetings, discussions and testing. I hit the gym at lunch time then get back to whatever tasks I’ve set for the day.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Adjusting to new technologies very rapidly, over the past few years and the advent of cloud computing technology and how it’s used moves significantly more rapidly than I’ve ever experienced.

What do you love most about your work?
For a local authority museum we’re considered pretty cutting edge technology wise. We’re just about to move all of our desktops to virtual desktop platform, I gather we’re one of the first museums in the country to do this.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get in around 7-8pm and watch a few episodes of whatever TV program I’m currently watching, currently Game of Thrones.


helena2

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Helena Callow and I am one of the Youth Travel Ambassador Coordinators based at the museum (the noisy lot on the 4th floor).  I cover the whole of south east London, which includes 8 boroughs and 25 schools.

How does your day start?
Wake up at around 6:30am, eat breakfast, shower and normally end up running to the station because I leave too late, literally leaving 2 minutes earlier would make such a difference

How do you get into work?
Depending where I am first thing, I would usually get the train to the office, but I often bus it if I’m at a school.

Breakfast?
Porridge and a cup of tea…same every day, just change the flavour of the porridge

What does a typical day look like?
It really depends where I am. If I am office bound I struggle all the way up to the 4th floor and then recover for a few minutes. I get the lap top out go through my emails and then do all my follow up work for each of my schools.  However the majority of the time I am travelling around south east London visiting the YTA students in each of my schools, running workshops and facilitating them through the project.  In between schools, if I am too far away from the office, I find myself setting up my own mini office in a Starbucks (other coffee shops are available) somewhere. In this job I am always on the go, but I love it!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The constant travelling and dealing with so many different people – from students, to teachers, to borough officers to my own colleagues.  It can get very confusing at times juggling all the different projects.

What do you love most about your work?
Working with young people and being about to see them grow with confidence throughout the project.  I get to work with so many different schools giving me a wide spectrum of young people to work with.  I love that I am not office bound all the time.  Of course, my colleagues are great too J

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get home at around 6:50pm, have some dinner and watch TV.  Most people may think having caffeine before bed is silly, but I need my 9:30pm cup of tea to unwind.


Stuart

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Stuart Umbo, I’m the Schools and Families Officer. I manage the events for schools and families

How does your day start?
With great difficulty. The hardest thing I have to do all day is claw myself out of bed

How do you get into work?
Public transport of course! I work for London Transport Museum! 91 bus followed by a short ride on the Piccadilly Line.

Breakfast?
Canned fruit at my desk. Minimal preparation. Maximum vitamins

What does a typical day look like?
A strong coffee and breakfast at my desk whilst I reply to emails. No one day is like the next in my job. It might be checking in with our workshop developers to see how they’re getting on with producing the next event for the school holidays, developing resources for visitors with special educational needs or helping write exhibits for our latest exhibition

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time! There’s just not enough of it

What do you love most about your work?
I love London. And I get to discover something new about it every day. Working with the LT Museum’s collection is a real honour.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Depends on what type of day I’ve had. Occasionally I might take out some frustrations on the squash court. But more often I can be found frequenting one of the pubs of North London


Siobhan

Who are you and do at the Museum?
My name is Siobhan Ion and I am the Marketing and PR Executive.

How does your day start?
My alarm usually wakes me at about 8am. It usually takes me a couple of attempts to get me up though. I’m definitely more of a night owl!

How do you get into work?
I jump on the Piccadilly line in from Finsbury Park which generally allows me to have a bit of time to read one the many books I have on rotation.

Breakfast?
I eat breakfast at my desk – muesli, yogurt and fruit. That is usually done around 11am after I have got into the swing of things for the day.

What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different here – I spend my days doing things such as writing and editing copy, working on the e-newsletter, making and answering advertising enquiries, sending images, talking to media, and going to various meetings – the list is endless.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping track of everything. With so many things going on I have so many lists!

What do you love most about your work?
LTM is such a dynamic place that there is always something new and fun happening.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I try and get to a dance class or the gym after work then will usually catch up with friends, cook dinner, do a bit of reading and then fall into bed around midnight.


Harry

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Harry Young and I’m an apprentice working on the Battle Bus project that the museum is running through 2014

How does your day start?
Wake up 7:15 and ram my breakfast down, make sure I’m ready and then head out to the station at 8ish.

How do you get into work?
I get the train from Dartford to Charing Cross and then walk along the strand to Covent Garden.

Breakfast?
Nice big bowl of cornflakes and a cup of tea.

What does a typical day look like?
I usually get into the office around 9:30, check my emails and my schedule for the day and then get to work on whatever I need to do. Break times are usually spent at Denmark St. or around Covent Garden as I like to get some fresh air.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Currently I’m planning the talks, tours, the display vehicle and the volunteers activities that will go with the Battle Bus, so it’s mainly having all these great ideas, but trying to make them work.

What do you love most about your work?
I work at London Transport Museum and that’s pretty cool all on its own. But I would say seeing the Museum in full swing full of people is nice to see too.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I usually get home around 7 but to unwind I usually sit back and play my guitar whilst watching my favourite YouTube personalities.


Ed

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Edward Currie and I’m Museum technical support

How does your day start?
Woke up by my daughter usually wanting to play

How do you get into work?
C2C from Southend then walk from Fenchurch Street if sun is out. If not, District Line.

Breakfast?
Porrige and coffee

What does a typical day look like?
Repairing faults in gallery setting up AV for clients

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Fault finding resolving problems that occur

What do you love most about your work?
The different jobs not always the same thing and the people you work with

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Watch In the night garden after daughters bath then falling asleep on the couch

Station Staff Make Wood Green Open Day A Success

To add to the many special events taking place this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, staff at Wood Green station on the Piccadilly Line organised a highly successful Open Day on Saturday, August 31.

The Open Day, the first to be held at the north London station, proved extremely popular with visitors of all ages who were taken by staff on an hourly guided tour covering both the outside and inside of the building.

wood green 1resized

Designed by Charles Holden, Wood Green station was opened on September 19, 1932 as part of the first section of the Cockfosters extension from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove. It is now a Grade II listed building.

After learning about the design features of the exterior facade and the spacious booking hall, visitors went down to the platforms and then into restricted areas not normally open to the public. These included a narrow maintenance tunnel which runs between the Eastbound and Westbound platforms and the machine room housing the vital escalator mechanisms.

wood green 4resized

At the end of the tour visitors were treated to coffee and biscuits in an upstairs rest room, where staff had displayed old photographs showing the construction and development of the station. They were also given an illustrated book on the history of the Piccadilly Line extension.

The success of the Open Day was due to all the enthusiasm and hard work shown by the station staff team consisting of supervisor Ombretta Riu-Tubl and customer services assistants Nigel Buckmire and Jane Bennett. They were assisted by Steve Dagsland, supervisor at nearby Manor House station which held its Open Day – believed to be the first on the Underground network – earlier in the year.

wood green 10resized

“We decided to hold the Open Day because we wanted to show off all parts of this historic station to our many customers who regularly use it,” said Ombretta. “The staff were very keen on the idea and on the day Nigel turned out to be a first class tour guide despite his initial nervousness.”

Following the popularity of the Wood Green and Manor House Open Days similar events may now be held at other stations along the Piccadilly Line.

Written by Stephen Barry, Volunteer

Collecting for 2013 – Women and the Tube

The role that women play at Transport for London, and in particular London Underground, was one of the themes the Museum wanted to explore during this year’s collaborative collecting project. TfL graduate trainee Laura Sullivan, who currently works in the planning department at London Underground, signed up to be one of the Museum’s community collectors for the LU150 project. Laura is a member of the TfL Women’s Staff Network Group and was keen to explore the ways in which the other members could contribute to the LU150 contemporary story for the Museum. We decided that attending the International Women’s Day celebrations on March 8th was an ideal opportunity to meet lots of the women, allowing us to capture their experiences of working for TfL.

Photographers Heather McDonough and Rod Morris came along, capturing beautiful portraits of around 30 members of staff. Everyone who took part was also asked two questions:

– what does working for Transport for London mean to you?

– what are your hopes for the future with regards to women’s roles at Transport for London?

The responses were varied and very interesting. They included:

” I love being part of something everyone in London has an opinion about – whether positive or negative – it means I am working on a railway that people care about, and I can make a difference.”

” TfL is such a key part of London and it makes me proud to be working for the organisation. I see myself as an ambassador for the organisation and if anybody criticises its services I give them the facts and figures, to make them understand the enormity of what we do.”

” I feel like I am part of something important. How rare is it that millions of people see the result of your hard work every day?”

” I think the future is very bright for women at TfL. We have the opportunity to contribute to making TfL a world class organisation that we can all be proud of.”

” That there will be no barriers, perceived or otherwise, to doing any job at TfL. I’m looking forward to the first female managing director!”

The Museum is going to add the portraits along with the responses to our permanent collection, as a record of what it’s like to be a woman at the Tube at 150 years.

Collecting for 2013 – North Acton’s Station Garden

Two supervisors at North Acton station have created an award-winning garden that provides all-year-round colour to the delight of passengers.

The Central Line station’s glorious displays scooped first place in the Cultivated Garden category, as well as coming runner-up in the Best Overall Garden section, in last year’s annual Underground in Bloom contest hosted by TfL.

The man-made flower beds are the work of supervisors Terry Murrell and Bharat Vagani, built with the help from other station staff including contract cleaner Abraham Soubair.

It all began in a small way back in 2005 when Bharat, a veteran of 22 years with London Underground, put up some hanging baskets on the platforms to brighten up the dingy surroundings.

When Terry Murrell, with London Underground for five years, transferred to North Acton from Embankment, Bharat persuaded him to share in his vision of bringing a lot more natural colour to the station forecourt.

Months of hard work followed. Working by hand, they brought in around 15 tons of soil to create the extensive raised beds, which are edged with railway sleepers. All of the work was done in their spare time, including days off and during annual leave.

It was a true labour of love as the station has no vehicle access and all the soil had to be brought down a long slope from the nearby road.

As well as nurturing the flower beds and hanging baskets, Terry and Bharat grow up to 24 different varieties of vegetables in pots.

They receive a small annual ‘gardening’ grant from London Underground but contribute their own money to buy additional plants and garden tools.

Their hard work has not gone unnoticed. As well as winning numerous Underground in Bloom awards the green-fingered duo has received several commendations on the TfL website.

They have also been filmed for The Tube, a six-part documentary on the activities of London Underground staff, being shown on BBC Television.

Passenger response has been extremely positive. “Customers often take photos of the gardens, while one woman recently offered us a job looking after her garden,” said Terry.

“Another elderly lady, who uses the station twice a week, said the flowers reminded her of the displays she saw at suburban stations 40 years ago, and has helped make her feel safer when travelling.”

He added that their efforts have spurred one regular customer to tackle his own small garden, which he had neglected for years.

“It has been very satisfying to plan and create the gardens and to know that our customers appreciate all our efforts,” said Bharat.

“We are doing it for them, so that they feel happy when they come through every day and see splashes of colour, whatever the season.”

Words and photograph by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – Finchley Central’s Platform Garden

Mark Kirwin, a supervisor at Finchley Central, has created a colourful, award-winning garden on one of the station’s platforms.

Practically single-handed he has transformed a derelict piece of ground into an oasis of colour that regularly scoops top awards in London Underground’s annual Underground in Bloom competition.

It all began in 2008 when Mark decided to do something to ‘green’ the suburban Northern Line station.

“I decided to tackle a piece of waste ground about the length of one-and-half tube carriages on the southbound platform, as it’s an area that gets the sun most of the day.”

With help from his partner, Ian, who is extremely knowledgeable about plants, the pair first had to prepare the ground. Working in their spare time, they dug out the area, put down a plastic membrane, covered it with shingle, ballast and stones and brought in 300 bags of soil.

“I started with a blank canvas with the intention of creating a country-style flower garden right here in London, which I think we have achieved,” said Mark.

A wide selection of colourful flowers have been planted out, including annuals and perennials so as to give colour all year round, with pots filled with bedding plants in the summer.

“I had a plan for the garden right from the start and have generally followed a colour scheme using shades of orange and purple,” said Mark.

For three years from 2008 the garden came second in the Cultivated Gardens and Tubs category in the Underground in Bloom competition. In 2011 it received the contest’s top accolade by being awarded the Dennis Sanger Chief Operating Officer Special Award, beating off competition from stations across the Underground network.

Mark said: “I was absolutely delighted to receive the top prize after picking up three second prizes in previous years.”

The country-style garden regularly receives praise from passenger, with children appreciating the animals and other small sculptures that are hidden amongst the plants.

“One woman told me that she always comes to the station at least 15 minutes before she needs to get a train, “ said Mark. “This is so she can walk up and down the platform to smell and admire the flowers.”

Mark has put in an irrigation system so that when he is on leave the other station staff just have to turn on a tap to water the plants to prevent them from drying out.

Text and photo by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – Oval Station’s Thought for the Day

Passengers using Oval station on the Northern line have come to appreciate the ‘Thought for the Day’ quotations put up by station staff in the main concourse.

The innovative project began in 2004 and has been taken up by several other stations on the Underground network.

It’s a team effort, started by station supervisor Anthony Gentles and looked after on a daily basis by station assistant Glen Sutherland.

Anthony Gentles said: “We are here to provide a service to our customers, not just to sell tickets. We like to provide a happy and relaxed environment, which is why we have classical music playing at all times.”

The idea behind ‘Thought for the Day’ was to give passenger’s something inspirational to think about during their journey.

Written on a whiteboard near the ticket office, a typical quotation on display has been: “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory,” penned by American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Glen Sutherland, who has taught himself calligraphy so as provide clear handwriting on the whiteboard, finds many of the quotations from a specialist app on his mobile phone.

He also uses a book of quotations given to him by a passenger, who inscribed it with the message, ‘From a satisfied customer’.

“The quotations we pick are pretty general so that they appeal to all station users, who come from a variety of backgrounds and ethnic groups,” said Anthony.

Glen often chooses something topical, such as on Mother’s Day. When rioting affected the area in August 2011, he put up a quotation from Che Guevara: ‘We must not let these harsh times destroy the warmth in our hearts.’

“Often customers come up to say how much they appreciate the day’s quotation,” said Anthony. “They ask staff who put them up, with the most common comment being that it has made their day. Some passengers even go out of their way to use the station so that they can to see the day’s message. Others have suggested quotations for us to use.”

One regular passenger who works in a local office has set up a discussion group to discuss the day’s quotations during coffee breaks, while a local teacher uses them in her lessons.

“Being close to the Oval cricket ground, when there is a county cricket game on I often pick a classical quotation as many spectators are a highly educated bunch,” said Glen.  He added that Surrey and England player Mark Ramprakash always stops to chat about the day’s ‘thought’ when he comes through the station.

Often passengers take photographs of the quotations, while one regular who works in a restaurant notes them down and prints them on the menu.

“I once saw a man studying a quotation intently before disappearing down the escalator,” said Glen. “He came back up 25 minutes later and told me he had been thinking about it all that time and now understood it.”

The staff’s efforts have been featured in several national newspapers and on the BBC. Glen has taken advantage of social networking to set up a Facebook page and the ‘thoughts’ have a growing following on Twitter.

“Customers have said that the quotations really cheer them up. If I miss a day and the board is blank, people ask why?”

Anthony said: “It has been a real team effort on behalf of the staff. We are very proud of what we have done, and knowing that it has encouraged other stations to follow our lead.  It has helped us to connect with our customers, who now see station staff more as individuals. It is definitely worthwhile if we can send passengers on their way with a smile on their face.”

Text and images by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – Clapham North’s Thought for the Day

Tube staff that put up ‘Thought for the Day’ messages at Clapham North station say the project has been an overwhelming success.

“Our customers really love them,” said station supervisor Gary Dorrithy, who was prompted to follow a similar scheme introduced at the nearby Oval station, also on the Northern line.

“Lots of peoples take photographs of what we write and many of them tell us they post the ‘thoughts’ on their Facebook or other social networking web sites so that others can enjoy them.”

He said that staff had received numerous letters and notes of thanks from regular customers since the scheme began, usually saying how much they appreciated the daily messages of inspiration. Many of the letters are along the lines of, ‘I was having a really bad day but the ‘thought’ you put up made me feel so much better.’

“The quotations or sayings can often be very therapeutic and it makes the station staff feel good to know that we have put a smile on a passenger’s face.”

The high level of appreciation shown by station users has led to Clapham North receiving a London Underground Customer Commendation for its high level of service.

Customer services assistant Dave Walcott said: “We try to put up a new message in the booking hall every day, using the Internet to find something suitable.”

“Regular customers look out for the day’s message and we soon get reminded if we don’t put up a new message every day. Some customers even choose to travel from here rather than from another station on the line because they look forward to reading them so much.”

He added that passengers often stop and suggest to a member of staff something suitable they can use in the future. “There’s a centre near here which is visited by lots of theatrical people and they give us useful quotes from Shakespeare and other famous writers.”

It’s not only passengers who are cheered up by the thoughts. “Occasionally a member of staff will say that a specific message has really hit home and helped them during a particularly stressful time,” said Gary Dorrithy.

“One of the first things we do after opening up early in the morning is to write out the day’s message,” he added. “It has become part of our regular routine and something that all the staff is keen to help out with.”

Text and images by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – Hampstead’s Hidden Garden

Green-fingered staff at Hampstead station have transformed a derelict piece of wasteland into an award-winning garden.

Hampstead is the deepest station on the Underground network, with platforms 192 ft deep, 310 steps and the longest spiral staircase on the network.

A long-neglected concrete area behind the station’s street-level ticket hall contained waste bins and was covered in rubble.

After deciding to improve the space, hours of backbreaking work carried out by station supervisor Neeta Patel and her colleagues have turned it into a colourful garden full of fruit and vegetables.

Initial work involved building a series of raised beds and filling them with around 80 bags full of soil, with the pathways between them covered in bark.

A wide variety of fruit and vegetables was planted in the first year, among them strawberries, herbs, courgettes, gooseberries and peas, with the bins hidden behind barriers.

After entering Underground in Bloom – the Tube’s own annual gardening competition – for the first time in 2010, the garden scooped the Dennis Sanger Chief Operating Officer ‘Special’ award for the team’s efforts.

The garden was then enhanced with a variety of flowers, many taken from cuttings in Neeta’s own garden, and colourful hanging baskets. This led to Hampstead winning the fruit and vegetable category for growing a variety of edible treats in a challenging environment in the 2011 competition.

“It was a double surprise to win two top prizes in our first two years of entering the competition,” said Neeta. The prize money went towards buying more plants and garden equipment, including a small greenhouse and a garden seat.

The garden now has an olive tree and a peanut bush, with seeds for some of the more exotic herbs and vegetables brought back from Neeta’s family home in India.

There is even a wormery bin, providing rich environmentally-friendly liquid fertilizer to help plants grow.

All of the work is done by station staff in their own time  They include station assistant Mary Fisher, station supervisors Stephen Ryan, Bernard Bradley and Naresh Patel, and cleaner Abbey Bola.

“It’s a great place for us to relax during our break or after a stressful shift,” said Mary Fisher. “Looking after the garden has given us something different and fun to focus on all-year-round.”

“Creating and caring for the garden has really boosted staff morale,” said Neeta. “It’s a true working garden, with all of the harvested crops used by staff in the station’s kitchens. It’s very satisfying to have created something out of nothing and just a pity that our customers can’t see it.”

Text and photos by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – High Barnet’s Station Garden

It’s not every station on the Underground network that has an award-winning garden complete with sculptures, hanging baskets, fruit trees and a pond!

Nevertheless this is exactly what staff have created in their spare time at High Barnet station, on the northern tip of the busy Northern line.

The driving force behind the gardening project consists of duty station manager Marc Jones, supervisor Darren Brown and customer service assistant Eric Alflatt, all keen and knowledgeable gardeners

Marc began the greening of High Barnet in a small way in 2007 with help from the group manager’s assistant Lisa Sainsbury. They started out by planting flowers on a small plot of ground, but soon became more adventurous.

“There was a large area of derelict land on some sloping ground by the side of the station which we decided to turn it into the main garden,” said Marc.

Other members of the station staff became involved and they all chipped in to help transform the bare site.

Using discarded used railway sleepers to help create terracing, the garden features lots of flowers, apple and pear trees, attractive hanging baskets, with large wooden sculptures donated by a local sculptor.

“We have planted lots of evergreens to keep the garden looking attractive all year round and put in various seasonal bedding plants,” said Marc. A small lower garden area features a pond.

The station receives a small annual gardening budget from London Underground, with the staff contributing in terms of buying plants.

We do all the work needed to maintain the garden in our spare time, either during meal breaks, staying late or on our days off,” said Darren.

High Barnet was one of the winners in the 2011 Underground in Bloom the Tube’s own annual gardening competition, coming third in the Hanging Basket category.

The station has also won quite a few other Underground in Bloom prizes over the years, plus picking up top awards in the Barnet in Bloom and London in Bloom competitions.

“We know from customer reaction that the colourful displays we have created make the station more welcoming and attractive,” said Marc. “We have had a great deal of positive customer feedback, with some regular passengers donating plants for us to use.”

In 2011 over 70 stations, depots and service control rooms took part in the Underground in Bloom competition.

Text and photos by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend

Collecting for 2013 – Angel station’s Thought for the Day

Staff at a busy London tube station who display humorous ‘Thought for the Day’ quotes have followed it up with a popular web site – and can boast of being featured on Japanese television!

It all began in 2011 when Customer Station Assistant (CSA) Ken Walters, who works at Angel Station on the Northern Line, heard about a suburban station where passengers dropping off their partners in the morning were banned from kissing them goodbye.

Apparently it was causing traffic holdups in the station car park,” said Ken. “I thought this was quite funny and wrote on our ticket hall whiteboard that ‘Kissing is allowed at this station’. As it seemed to make our customer smile, after talking to colleagues we decided to continue to put up regular light-hearted quotes. The aim is to get customers to stop and smile when they pass through the station, as they are often in a rush and feeling stressed.”

Helping Ken with his daily dose of ticket hall wisdom are fellow CSA’s Devika Webb and Rathees Kadadcham.

One of the first jobs for whoever’s on duty to open up the station to passengers each day at 5.40am is to put up that day’s thought.

“We sometimes get them off the internet or we make them up,” said Devika. “Regular station users are so used to seeing them now that they tell us off if we don’t change them every day.”

The jokey quotes also appeal to schoolchildren as well as adults and many travellers, including tourists, take photographs of the day’s offering.

The Angel trio has put up a comment box in the ticket hall where people can leave their own quote suggestions, which usually go on display within a couple of days.

“Lots of people who don’t even use the station come in off the street just to see what’s on the board that day,” said Ken.

Rathees is the trio’s computer wizard who knows his way around the internet.

He has set up the ‘Thoughts of Angel’ web site (www.thoughtsofangel.com), billed as ‘your daily dose of fun, laughter and thought’.  It features images of each day’s message and is seen by around 300 people daily.

Every image is archived and visitors to the site can vote for the message they like best. The site is linked to Twitter and Facebook, increasing its exposure, and several hundred people subscribe to its email newsletter.

The site has been picked up by blogger Annie Mole and is featured on her ‘Going Underground’ blog, which takes an irreverent look at aspects of the London Underground network. It also features on the Time Out and the islingtonpeople blogs.

“Annie, who lives locally, takes a picture of the ‘thought’ every day and downloads it onto her site, which has a link back to our site,” said Rathees.

Internet exposure led to the station being featured on Japanese television.

“NHK, their national broadcaster, found out about our web site and sent a crew to interview us and also some customers,” said Rathees. “The item featured in a documentary they made about the world’s underground systems, where we are described as the ‘human face of the underground’.”

“Feedback from passengers about the whiteboard ‘thoughts’ has been very good,” said Ken.  “Many of them stop to thank us for brightening up their day, and we now get presents at Christmas. What I think it has done is to make us more human, not just uniformed, faceless staff they rush past every day. I’m really glad I started with the quotes. It’s so nice to be able to put a smile on people’s faces.”

Text and photographs by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend