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Roll of Honour, by M Greiffenhagen, 1915

  • Published by Underground Electric Railway Company Ltd, 1915
  • Format: Panel poster
  • Dimensions: Width: 305mm, Height: 458mm
  • Reference number: 1983/4/8193

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Underground posters and the First World War

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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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Staff

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Staff have featured in posters in different ways over time. They have often been included in campaigns to publicise London Transport's commitment to service and customer care. At times of staff shortage, particularly in the 1950s and 60s, there were a large number of recruitment posters, especially for operating staff. During the war many posters were morale boosters, reassuring the staff that they were doing an important job in difficult circumstances.
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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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