A call to arms, by unknown artist, 1914
- Published by Underground Electric Railways Company Ltd, 1914
- Format: Panel poster
- Dimensions: Width: 458mm, Height: 178mm
- Reference number: 1983/4/8158
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
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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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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