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London Pride exhibition, by unknown artist, 1940

  • Published by London Transport, 1940
  • Printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd,
  • Format: Double royal
  • Dimensions: Width: 635mm, Height: 1016mm
  • Reference number: 1983/4/5441

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London Transport Posters and the Second World War

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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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A wide variety of exhibitions in London have been promoted by posters. They range from large annual events, such as the Motor Show at Olympia, to cattle and dairy shows at Royal Agricultural Hall. Exhibitions have also been held in Underground stations. From the late 1920s to the mid 1960s, a variety of exhibitions were held in the booking hall at Charing Cross (now Embankment). Since 2000, Platform for Art has also exhibited work at stations, particularly on their designated platform at Gloucester Road.
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Wartime London

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The Underground Group, and later London Transport, produced a wide variety of public information posters during the First (1914-18) and Second (1939-45) World Wars. The majority of wartime posters advised staff and passengers on emergency rules and regulations. Others were more overtly patriotic, often focussing on the valuable war work undertaken by transport employees. Some First World War Underground posters even urged onlookers to enlist with the armed forces. During the Second World War, posters were also used to explain tube 'etiquette' to the vast numbers of war workers and servicemen using the underground for the first time.
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There was a marked difference between 'propaganda' posters produced by the transport companies during the two wars. Those published by the Underground Group in the Great War (1914-18) presented the conflict as an idealised struggle and urged men to enlist. LT's war posters (1939-45) stressed the individual's role in helping the war effort at home, reinforced with examples from history and the Blitz In both cases, the approach taken reflected the wider poster campaigns of the British government
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