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Give a little service, by Gax, 1986

  • Published by London Buses Ltd, 1986
  • Printed by Chigwell Press,
  • Format: Double royal
  • Dimensions: Width: 635mm, Height: 1016mm
  • Reference number: 1989/77

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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 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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Most London Transport posters illustrate the destination rather than the journey, for obvious reasons. Featuring the mode of transport, whether bus, train or tram, offers less imaginative scope to the artist and has less appeal to the majority of customers other than enthusiasts. With a few exceptions, the posters where road vehicles or railway rolling stock dominate tend to be more literal and lack artistic creativity. The best often make good use of humour and photographic images manipulated into surreal juxtaposition.
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