© Transport for London
Not available to buy
North Bank, South Bank, by Robin Mason, 1993
- Published by London Underground Ltd, 1993
- Commissioned by Art on the Underground
- Format: Four sheet
- Stylistic influence: Surrealism
- Dimensions: Width: 1016mm, Height: 1524mm
- Reference number: 1994/1258
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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Theatre & cinema
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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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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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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