© london transport museum collection
Hampton Court, by Charles Paine, 1922
- Medium: Gouache
- Dimensions: Width: 504mm, Height: 703mm
- Reference number: 2005/1487
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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London's gardens have been extremely well promoted on posters for the Underground. The subject lends itself perfectly to bright, vibrant and eye-catching design. Many posters simply publicised the seasonal bloom, particularly bluebells, crocuses and daffodils. Others advertised travel to specific locations, such as Kensington Gardens. The world famous botanical collection at Kew Gardens has appeared on more Underground posters than almost any other subject. The gardens at Hampton Court were also promoted as an excursion from London by tram.
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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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Royal buildings & palaces
The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace were the most popular royal buildings to appear on sightseeing posters. However, lesser known sights such as St James's Palace and Kensington Palace also featured. Travel to royal buildings just outside London, in particular Windsor Castle and Hampton Court, was also promoted by coach, bus or tram.
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