© london transport museum collection
Centenaries; 1970, by Peter Roberson, 1969
- Medium: Mixed media
- Dimensions: Width: 524mm, Height: 802mm
- Reference number: 1987/153
The range of entertainment on offer in London provided countless vibrant and enticing subjects for transport posters. Rather than advertising specific venues or events, posters usually promoted general activities such as shopping or going to the theatre. Many aimed to encourage travel to the city in the evenings and at weekends. Others encouraged regular commuters to stay in the city after work, rather than travelling home at rush hour. In the 1930s, posters were also issued with listings of specific events scheduled for that week.
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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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Posters were often issued to mark significant anniversaries in the history of London's transport. These include the opening of Underground lines and stations, as well as the start of London bus services. Occasionally, other historical anniversaries were remembered in posters, such as the Fire of London. From the late 1950s to the mid 1970s, centenary posters were issued annually to commemorate the lives of interesting people associated with London.
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From its first pictorial poster in 1908, the Underground and then London Transport have promoted sightseeing in the capital. Posters encouraged visitors and Londoners alike to either take a conducted tour or to explore the city themselves. Well known landmarks such as Nelson's Column and Buckingham Palace featured the most frequently, although lesser known places of interest were also publicised. Many posters focused on a specific sight, others simply encouraged visitors to 'See London by coach' or 'See London in summer'. Green line coach and country bus services allowed sightseeing to extend beyond the city.
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Literature & history
Many sightseeing destinations in London have been promoted for their historic or literary associations. Posters depicted famous figures connected with towns or buildings as a way of encouraging passengers to visit them. These ranged from former Kings and Queens being used to promote associated royal palaces, to the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin being used to encourage travel to Hounslow Heath.
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