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Pantomimes and Circuses

© london transport museum collection

Pantomimes and Circuses, by Bernard Cheese, 1951

  • Medium: Gouache
  • Dimensions: Width: 316mm, Height: 265mm
  • Reference number: 1995/4057

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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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Circuses & fairgrounds

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Circuses were a popular form of family entertainment in London, particularly in the 1930s. They were advertised on small panel posters inside Underground trains and occasionally on full size posters. At Christmas and New Year, circuses often featured on the same poster as seasonal pantomimes. Travel to fairgrounds in and around London was also promoted by the Underground. Hampstead Fair was particularly popular and the subject of several posters.
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Theatre & cinema

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London's West End was often promoted by the Underground for its numerous theatres and cinemas. Posters encouraged passengers to travel there in the evenings and weekends. Others encouraged commuters to watch a film or see a show after work, rather than travelling home at rush hour. Theatres on the outskirts of London, such as Kingston and Hammersmith, were also occasionally advertised. At Christmas, London Transport issued posters specifically to promote seasonal pantomimes. These were particularly popular in the 1950s.
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