© london transport museum collection
Our heritage Series; Nelson, by Robert Sargent Austin, 1943
- Medium: Gouache
- Dimensions: Width: 559mm, Height: 781mm
- Reference number: 1987/128/2
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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Second world war
LT's war posters used modern design to convey essential information to passengers and staff. Thoughtful passenger behaviour was encouraged in the humorous cartoons of Fougasse and David Langdon. More direct appeals for co-operation, or advice on sheltering and the 'blackout' were expressed in easy to read layouts.
Other posters celebrated LT's contribution to the war effort and London's resilience. These included the striking series of images produced by Fred Taylor (1942), Walter Spradbery (1944) and Eric Kennington (1944).
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