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Hurry away for Christmas, by unknown artist, 1969

  • Published by London Transport, 1969
  • Printed by C J Petyt Ltd,
  • Format: Double royal
  • Dimensions: Width: 635mm, Height: 1016mm
  • Reference number: 1980/42/1

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London's calendar has always been full of public events. These range from large scale annual events and one-off festivals, for which thousands of Londoners take to the streets, to smaller exhibitions held at a variety of specific venues. Transport companies have always taken the opportunity to promote travel to such events through their posters. On public holidays, when there were no scheduled events to promote, posters encouraged Londoners to travel out into the countryside or to explore the city.
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Public holidays

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Public holidays meant that less people were commuting. Keen to fill empty seats on buses, trams and the Underground, London Transport used posters to promote the opportunity for leisure travel. Every Easter, Whitsun and August Bank holiday the public were encouraged to take outings to London's surrounding countryside, towns and villages or to explore the delights of the city. At Christmas many posters promoted shopping, while others simply offered their passengers festive greetings.
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London's transport system

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By 1914 the Underground Group ran most of the Tube lines, three tram systems and the main London bus company, the LGOC. The posters publicise all these transport modes. Outside the Underground Group were the Metropolitan Railway and London County Council (LCC) Tramways, which ran separate poster campaigns. All these companies were merged into London Transport (LT) in 1933. The four main line railway companies also used posters to promote their London suburban services. Transport for London (TfL) replaced LT in 2000 with wider responsibility including taxis, streets, river services and some overground rail.
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Most London Transport posters illustrate the destination rather than the journey, for obvious reasons. Featuring the mode of transport, whether bus, train or tram, offers less imaginative scope to the artist and has less appeal to the majority of customers other than enthusiasts. With a few exceptions, the posters where road vehicles or railway rolling stock dominate tend to be more literal and lack artistic creativity. The best often make good use of humour and photographic images manipulated into surreal juxtaposition.
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