A message from Billy Brown to conductors, by David Langdon, 1941
- Published by London Transport, 1941
- Printed by The Baynard Press, 1941
- Format: Panel poster
- Stylistic approach: Cartoon
- Dimensions: Width: 248mm, Height: 368mm
- Reference number: 1983/4/10486
The Underground Group, and later London Transport, produced a wide variety of public information posters during the First (1914-18) and Second (1939-45) World Wars.
The majority of wartime posters advised staff and passengers on emergency rules and regulations. Others were more overtly patriotic, often focussing on the valuable war work undertaken by transport employees. Some First World War Underground posters even urged onlookers to enlist with the armed forces.
During the Second World War, posters were also used to explain tube 'etiquette' to the vast numbers of war workers and servicemen using the underground for the first time.
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Rules & procedures
Wartime conditions called for new posters advising passengers on changes to the transport system. Hans Schleger ('Zero'), James Fitton and David Langdon produced designs during the Second World War concerning the blackout, air raids and anti-blast window netting on buses and tubes.
Other regulations related to the threat of gas attack and the use of public transport to evacuate children and others from the city.
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Second world war
LT's war posters used modern design to convey essential information to passengers and staff. Thoughtful passenger behaviour was encouraged in the humorous cartoons of Fougasse and David Langdon. More direct appeals for co-operation, or advice on sheltering and the 'blackout' were expressed in easy to read layouts.
Other posters celebrated LT's contribution to the war effort and London's resilience. These included the striking series of images produced by Fred Taylor (1942), Walter Spradbery (1944) and Eric Kennington (1944).
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London's transport system
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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