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History of the roundel

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History of the roundel - page 3

The organisation's change of name had to be reflected across all the Board's transport divisions. An unsuccessful attempt had been made to introduce LPTB to roundels representing the Underground, General, Tramways and Green Line. This was soon superseded by positioning 'London Transport' in the white space above and below the bar of each fleet roundel.

Tramways fleet roundel on map, November 1933.
Reference number: 2002/3816


Roundels for the road

London Transport took over a number of independent bus operators in the 1930s, including those covering the Country Bus area. Bus services were unified under a single organisation, whilst retaining distinct operating divisions for Green line coaches, the red central buses and green country buses. A combined stop flag was developed in 1935, bearing the London Transport roundel.

London Transport bus stop flag, 1933/ 1934.
Reference number: 1983/209


The graphic designer Hans Schleger was commissioned to redesign the bus stop in 1935. His simplified roundel consisted of a plain bar and circle in silhouette form. It retained the colour coding of operating services, but removed the outlined. Schleger's stop flags were introduced throughout London, providing the basis for the bus stop signs in use today.

Bus stop flag designed by Hans Schleger, 1935.
Reference number: 1995/2254


First sign manual

In an attempt to standardise station signage in 1938, the first illustrated sign manual was drawn up, based on the Carr-Edwards Report on the standardisation of signs. The manual was, in effect, the formalisation of the basic principles on which Holden developed his signage system in the early 1930s. Holden's blue canopies and exterior mounted silhouette bullseyes were retained. The manual also included guidelines for the use of the roundel on platforms, escalators and ticket offices.

Page from Standard Signs Manual, 1938. Reference numbe: 1995/410


Post-war signage

London Transport was nationalised in 1947. Harold Hutchison, who was appointed Publicity Officer, sought to simplify and standardise all signage. All letters displayed on the bar of the roundel became the same size and the key lines, or hyphens, were removed. Hutchison also recommended that the name 'London Transport' should replace 'Underground' at the centre of the roundel.

Post-war leaflet bearing the words 'London Transport' on the roundel, c1950.
Reference number: 1997/14154


Hutchison's vision for simplified signage was in keeping with contemporary graphic design trends. It was also a response to the post-war economic climate. To reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs at this time, name plates were produced on solid enamel sheets. This was a far more economical process than using Holden's silhouette or bronze framed roundels.

Enamel station name sign, c1955.
Reference number: 1998/79333


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