© london transport museum collection
Heart of the Empire, by Fred Taylor, 1923
- Medium: Watercolour
- Dimensions: Width: 1270mm, Height: 1016mm
- Reference number: 1995/534
- Event: Art for All
This artwork featured in the 1949 Art for all exhibition - Go to film section »
Open air London
Londoners are very fortunate in having a large number of green open spaces, where they can escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Many of these were the former grounds of large houses or royal parks, whilst others were specially created as London expanded. The River Thames also offers Londoners a variety of day trips. Further outdoor attractions include London's public sculpture and historic sites like Highgate Cemetery. All these open air destinations have been promoted by London Transport posters.
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The River Thames has always offered Londoners a variety of day trip destinations. London Transport posters have subsequently marketed the river in a number of ways. The depiction of a bustling port celebrates the river's historic importance as an artery and hive of industry and commerce. Picturesque scenes have publicised the river's more tranquil reaches and historic sites. Recent posters, depicting the South Bank, have promoted the Thames as a site for culture and entertainment.
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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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Buildings & monuments
A historic city such as London has many important buildings and monuments. The iconic image of the Houses of Parliament or Nelson's Column often appeared in London Transport posters. Some encouraged travel to those specific landmarks, others were to promote conducted tours. Lesser known buildings and monuments in and around London were also publicised. As well as traditional buildings and monuments of historic significance, new architectural developments in London have also been celebrated in posters.
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