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London memories; Kew Gardens, by Fred Taylor, 1918

  • Published by Underground Electric Railway Company Ltd, 1918
  • Printed by Avenue Press Ltd,
  • Format: Double crown
  • Dimensions: Width: 508mm, Height: 762mm
  • Reference number: 1983/4/715

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Underground posters and the First World War

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Open air London

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Londoners are very fortunate in having a large number of green open spaces, where they can escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Many of these were the former grounds of large houses or royal parks, whilst others were specially created as London expanded. The River Thames also offers Londoners a variety of day trips. Further outdoor attractions include London's public sculpture and historic sites like Highgate Cemetery. All these open air destinations have been promoted by London Transport posters.
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London's gardens have been extremely well promoted on posters for the Underground. The subject lends itself perfectly to bright, vibrant and eye-catching design. Many posters simply publicised the seasonal bloom, particularly bluebells, crocuses and daffodils. Others advertised travel to specific locations, such as Kensington Gardens. The world famous botanical collection at Kew Gardens has appeared on more Underground posters than almost any other subject. The gardens at Hampton Court were also promoted as an excursion from London by tram.
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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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First world war

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First World War posters often carried a direct propaganda message. Before conscription was introduced (1916), the Underground published recruitment posters urging men to volunteer. Another series, depicting rural England, was commissioned to send to British troops overseas as a reminder of what they were fighting for. Back home, posters advised Londoners of wartime regulations and what to do in the event of an aerial attack. Some posters continued to advertise day trips, until fuel shortages put an end to non-essential travel.
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