No doubt that if you have taken a trip on the London Underground, you will have noticed the amount of information posters around. Over the years this has become more main stream advertising, but London Transport posters have been around for 100 years. Promoting the service, encouraging etiquette, warning of dangers and supporting events through the decades. They have been part of the London Transport and London Underground heritage.
This blog shows a
Collection of London Underground Posters over the years.
There are just 100 (yes there are lots more!) but these show the excellent artwork used over the decades of London Transport posters & London Underground posters.
Listed in [around] date order, which is your favourite?
1 – 1911
Underground The Way For All by Alfred France – With fine travelling attire, this lady points to the message ‘The Way For All’.
2 – 1912
Eclipse of the Sun Nothing can cast a shadow over the underground advising the nearest stations if you wished to witness the spectacle of the Eclipse of the Sun. Design by Charles Sharland.
3 – 1913
Sights of London by Underground highlighting various attractions, opening hours and the nearest London Underground station.
4 – 1913
The Swiftest Way To Pleasure – depicting the Joy Wheel during Whitsuntide 1913 in London. Sadly we lost the ‘tide’ bit and now it’s just Whitsun. Design – Charles Sharland
5 – 1913
Underground for Business or Pleasure. We’re not quite sure who out of this dapper bunch is dressed for business and who is displaying the more pleasure attire.
6 – 1915
By Underground To Fresh Air by Maxwell Ashby Armfield. Perhaps the design made more sense in 1915.
7 – 1915
Speed by Alfred Leete. Is that Sandra Bullock driving the bus through the streets of LA? No, it’s your 24 mph Underground carriage.
8 – 1916
All Yours For A Ticket On The Underground – A very pretty colourful design by P Cottingham
9 – 1920
International Advertising Exhibition at the White City November 29th to December 4th 1920 by Frederick Charles Sherrick. Is that me, or is that the Michelin Man smoking a cigar?
10 – 1921
The Boat Race 1921. Book to Hammersmith, Chiswick Park or Putney Bridge. A particlurly serene design by Charles Paine
11 – 1921
For the Zoo, book to Regent’s Park or Camden Town. We do like the typeface used in this design, showing two different ways of producing a double O, the normal way in ‘book’, but with interlinked characters in ‘zoo’. Design by Charles Paine.
12 – 1921
Uxbridge by Charles Paine. The one worded design made for a calm and colourful poster for your busy journey.
13 – 1922
Winter Sales are best reached by the Underground – designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer. Almost adds a touch of Mary Poppins to shopping in central London.
14 – 1924
Brightest London and Home by Underground – A wonderful colourful design by Horace Taylor. It’s the type of design that the more you look at it, the more you see. The Pet Shop Boys would be proud of those hats!
15 – 1924
Figures for 1923 a factual detail poster for London Transport by Chalres Shephard. 809 miles covered, with 25,953 staff, 18.8 million gallons of fuel used, 137 tons of rubber, 504 tons of tickets to transport 1.134 billion passengers.
16 – 1924
It Is Warmer Down Below – Travel in comfort by Underground by Austin Cooper using a simple but affective design of coloured squares.
17 – 1924
What It Takes to Move the Passengers – Problems of the Underground 1923 required 234,000 tons of coal, 71,000 gallons of oil, 10,000 staff, 6,000 tons of steel & iron and 200 tons of tickets to move 306,000,000 passengers. Design by Irene Fawkes. Strange how the design features a man with a pipe.
18 – 1925
Natural History Museum nearest station South Kensington by Edward Bawden. Unsure if the excepted wording has changed over nearly 90 years of ‘Open Free Daily’ and odd that March and October get the full length title, while September and February don’t.
19 – 1925
To the Cup Final Wembley, April 25th from any Undergound Station. A nicely perspective design for this annual event. In case you were wondering… Sheffield Utd won 1-0 against Cardiff City. Another fact being that 21 of the 22 players were born in the UK, the 22nd was Irish.
20 – 1925
It May Be A Little House But The Captive Amenities – and all for a season ticket on London’s Underground by Fredrick Charles Herrick. We feel that more posters should feature chickens and balloons!
21 – 1925
Keep Warm Travel Underground by Kathleen Stenning. A lovely colourful winter scene.
22 – 1925
Summer Sales quickly reached by Underground – We really like this poster, it’s one that keeps the viewers interest. How many umbrellas can you spot? Designed by Mary Koop
23 – 1926
‘Kenwood’ by George Sheringham. Long before they started making food mixers and wide-boys displayed the name in big letters on the back of their Ford Escort. Kenwood – The crest of London. Cleaned and swept by the winds (and the council!) Where the dogs play, Where the larks sing, Where the rabbits sport. And where you too can play and sing and sport.
24 – 1926
‘London 2026 AD – This is all in the air’ was a poster by Montague B Black. A clever depiction of the future in 100 years, together with the ‘solid comfort of the Underground’ today. It that the Shard in the background?
25 – 1926
‘Shop Between Ten & Four’ The Quiet Hours Underground designed by Annie Gertrude Fletcher. Being a user between 10am and 4pm… I have to say I can’t remember seeing a tube that quiet. Perhaps it’s 10pm and 4am?
26 – 1926
The Palm House Kew Gardens But See It For Yourself by Underground to Kew Gardens Station. A colourful and interesting poster which allows the viewer to immerse into the design.
27 – 1926
To summer sales by Underground. A wonderfully designed poster by Horace Taylor. Full of colour and patterns. Could this be a jumble sale for ladies with posh hats? We also like the ‘Buy British Goods’ sticker effect.
28 – 1926
Underground Theatres by Verney L Danvers. An unusual design, presuming it refers to underground trains the ‘Theatre’ district.
29 – 1927
Brighest London is best reached by Underground, another excellent example by Horace Taylor. From a time when people ‘dressed up’ to go out.
30 – 1927
By Tram to Hampton Court. An extremely detailed poster for Hampton Court House and Gardens. Wait a minute… is that Wiggo and Frommey in the background?
31 – 1927
‘Smelling the Riches of London’ by Frederick Charles Herrick. No that’s not the latest perfume bottle by Lady Gaga, that the Great Pagoda at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
32 – 1927
The Lure of the London Underground. This famous flying people poster was designed by Alfred Lette. 33 – 1927
The Quickest way To The Dogs! Wood Lane. Another Alfred Leete design using the Underground logo as the dogs head.
34 – 1928
Bicyclism The Art of Wheeling Science Museum – Nearest Underground station South Kensington. Wonderfully detailed poster promoting the cycling show.
35 – 1928
The Boat Race – Saturday March 31st 1928 – 9.45am Nearest stations Putney Bridge, Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Turnham Green and Chiswick Park.
36 – 1929
Constancy Underground poster by Julius Klinger. Inspired by Lego?
37 – 1929
No Wet No Cold. A dark but interesting poster by Frederick Schneider Manner
38 – 1930
London’s tramways to Central London. A poster by Harold Mccready detailing the surrounding tramway links into Central London – Holborn, Farringdon, Aldersgate, Moorgate, Liverppol Street, Aldgate, City & Southwark, Blackfriars, Savoy Street, Westminster & Charing Cross, Victoria, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury.
39 – 1930
Speed Underground by Alan Rogers. Shooting a bow and arrow in red, white and blue.
40 – 1931
Shop between 10 and 4 The Quiet Hopurs and by Underground by Edward McKnight Kauffer. This was a follow up poster to the 1926 design.
41 – 1932
Going Home Late? – Go by Underground – Design by Haz, Inspiration by We Willy Wonka.
42 – 1932
This Week In London by London Tube Map designer Harry Beck. Great information poster detailing events in three categories, Lectures, Converts and…. Dog Racing. We love the little London Underground men with the logo head.
43 – 1933
It is Warmer Below – Cold rain and fog on the top abound, descend to brightness underground, It is warmer below. Underground for climate. Very detailed poster, can you spot the right arrow at the bottom, and the road workers in the hole?
Epson summer meeting For the Derby Morden Station by Andrew Power. A great poster design with lots of movement.
45 – 1933
Fall of the Leaf – Walter E Spradberry. A promotion poster for the greener parts of London. Just travel by London Transport.
46 – 1933
Gardening by Underground by Stanislaus S Longley. Has anyone ever seen a tube traveller with a lawn mower. Do let us know!
47 – 1933
Molesey Regatta by Tram from Hammersmith Shepherds Bush or Wimbledon Underground Stations. A lovely silhouette design to promote the annual water event.
48 – 1933
Say it underground with a poster – by Christoper Greaves. There we have it, an advertising poster about having an advertising poster – Apply Commercial Advertising Officer – 55 Broadway SW1.
Something Different At Every Turn Tramways or Underground by Roy Meldrum. This poster has everything; Horse racing, relaxing in the park, boating, riding the escalators, and of course… the tube,
50 – 1933
This week in London by J Z Atkinson. This information poster categorises the events through Cricket, Exhibitions and Racing.
51 – 1933
Visit the Empire by Londons Underground, by Ernest Michael Dinkel. This is a wonderfully detailed poster displaying ‘The Wealth, Romance and Beauty of the Empire’. With art work for Australia, Burma, Nigeria, East Indies, South Africa, Malaya and India. Travel by London’s Underground – South Kensington for Imperial Institute, Temple for Australia House, Baker Street for Madame Tussauds, Strand for Western Australia and Aldwych for India House.
52 – 1933
Wimbledon tennis tournament by Andrew Power. June 26 to July 8 by Underground to Southfields Station thence special bus to Ground. We say… more posters with the word ‘Thence’ in please!
53 – 1934
The Aldershot Command Searchlight Tattoo by Andrew Power (a pseudonym for Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power). Interesting display of date ranges for the event. Also promoting going by private bus and to apply to the Hire Department of London Transport.
54 – 1934
Central area lithograph in colours map of the Underground was printed Waterlow & Sons. While it keeps with the colours, 45 degree angles and general look of Harry Becks classic map design, this central area map does contain lots of variances.
55 – 1935
Charlies I – Visit the Royal Deer Park Established by The King 1635 Richmond Park by Underground by Austin Cooper. Almost the spitting image of Adam Ant!
56 – 1935
Thanks to the Underground by Zero (Hans Schleger) – This poster almost has a war-time feel to it. We’re unsure if the London Underground Gift Shop does infact offer a wrist watch.
57 – 1936
Opening of the Piccadilly Line Extension Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove 5 new stations for North London – Open 19th September 1936. The design of the poster shows the new line being rolled out.
58 – 1937
Long Live Their Majesties – designed by Harold Stabler this poster marked the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
59 – 1938
Keeps London Going by Man Ray. We never really understood the relevance of Saturn in this poster. Any idea readers?
60 – 1938
Why Wait Till Later by Marc Fernand Severin. Was this the start of Orange Wednesdays?
61 – 1940
This Station will now remain open during air raid alerts – We now war-time in London and the change to bold information posters.
62 – 1941
A Woman’s Job In War – Women railway porters wanted for London Transport – Good pay, Free Uniform and an interesting job. In a politely correct world we live in now, it is refreshing to read ‘Age 25 to 35, Height not less than 5 foot 3 inches’ Old short women need not apply!
63 – 1941
GAS put on your mask – Brief and to the point… It must have been scary to see this poster for the first time…
64 – 1941
Underground designed by Heather Landis – The Underground’s finest hour – A more pleasant poster – we do like the way that a Red Cross, 2 bottles of milk and a hand grenade are used for corner decoration.
65 – 1941
Inside its bright outside its dark stop and let your eyes get used to it by James Fitton. An information poster during the war-time blackouts.
66 – 1942
Back Room Boys They Also Serve Power control by Fred Taylor. Promoting the important job carried out by women during the war.
67 – 1942
In The Blackout a flashing torch is dangerous, wave something White to glag a bus. Designed by Bruce Angrave. Because everyone likes a smiley bus!
68 – 1944
Please have your ticket ready at the barrier by Fougasse (Cyril Kenneth Bird) – “Isn’t it lucky I’m not in a hurry?”. This was one of a series that Cyril Bird produced during 1944.
69 – 1944
‘Please Pass Along the Platform’ designed by Cyril Kenneth Bird. “The more we are together, the more uncomfortable we’ll be.”
70 – 1944
Please stand on the right of the escalator designed by Fougasse (Cyril Kenneth Bird) – It still confuses people!
71 – 1945
Be Map Conscious by Lewitthim. An information posters helping the traveller to understand the tube system. Five lines make up the London Underground System. Each is shown on all maps in a distinctive colour and interchange stations are marked thus – be map conscious.
72 – 1945
Be Punctual Save Seconds on the Home Front by Tom Eckersley. Big pocket watch or tiny man?
73 – 1945
For better timekeeping stagger working hours designed by Tom Eckersley. How many of us have clocks like this on our bedside now?
74 – 1946
Courtsey Aids Service designed by Wyndham Robinson – from an age before Chip and PIN!
75 – 1947
London Transport at London’s Service, by Misha Black and John Barker (Kraber). A powerful poster promoting the service of London Transport.
76 – 1948
Welcome to London Bienvenue a Londres – London 1948 Olympic Games. Issued by London Transport and British Railways. While London has seen three Olympic Games, this should be the first London Transport approved Olympic poster.
77 – 1959
Please Shop Between 10 and 4 by Victor Galbraith. This is at least the third version of the years of informing London Underground users to shop between 10am and 4pm.
78 – 1968
London After Dark by Fred Millett. This 1968 poster really shines with the swinging Sixties with a techicolour design.
79 – 1971
Extension of the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Airport now under construction by Tom Eckersley. It details the new stations of Hatton Cross and Heathrow Central.
80 – 1979
London Transport presents a new line in stations Jubliee Line – We’ll bring London to your door. From 1 May you will be able to travel direct from Charing Cross to Green Park, Bond Street and Baker Street, and on to Stanmore. And you don’t have to go on the Bakerloo. What a nice and happy Tube driver!
81 – 1980
A return trip to the Tower and a single for my wife. Promotion poster for the Tower of London. Note how the use of a serif font makes the design appear dated.
82 – 1986
The Tate Gallery by Tube – by David Booth of the agency Fine White Line. Possibly one of the most well known of the London Underground posters.
83 – 1987
Keep your personal stereo personal by Tim Demuth – Could this poster be anymore Eighties. If your stereo annoys other passengers you are contravening the bye-laws. Turn down the Sony Walkman while listening to the 1987 Pet Shop Boys hit – Always on my mind.
84 – 1987
Or take the tube. designed by Nick Hardcastle. I’m sure this went down well with London’s Taxi drivers!
85 – 1990
Fly the tube Take the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Airport. It’s the only way to fly. Heathrow Central. Featuring the wonderful Concorde.
86 – 1995
London Zoo Regents Park by Abram Games – Underground to Baker Street then Bus 74. Note the London Underground logo in the middle of our furry friend.
87 – 1999
Reprint of The Zoo by Floodlight. Dusk till 11pm Until August 29 every Thursday. Stations – Camden Town, Regents Park, St Johns Wood. Makes a nice change from late night shopping on Thursdays!
88 – 1999
Simply Fashion by Tube and Bus for London Fashion Week. Everyone should wear there hat at a jaunty angle. This poster was based on the 1938 ‘Keeps London Going’ design by Man Ray.
89 – 2000
Fly the Tube to New York – take off for Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line. The poster details such stops as; 125 St Harlem, Notting Hill, Brighton Beach, Heathrow, Columbus Circle, Canary Wharf, Times Square, Wall Street, Westminster, Wapping, Rockefeller Center, Oxford Circus, Canal Street, Regent’s Park and Grand Central 42 St.
90 – 2001
Being Careful Won’t Hurt You – Last year: 85 Gap related injuries, Take care on the underground. This was one of several designs indorsed by the Mayor of London promoting safety on the London Underground.
91 – 2001
Please Take Care Getting On and Off the Tube – Last Year 989 injuries 3 fatalities – This was one of several designs indorsed by the Mayor of London promoting safety on the London Underground.
92 – 2003
Tate Modern by Tube, Bus and River by Artist Paul Catherall – The poster also included a message saying that it was available to purchase from London’s Transport Museum.
93 – 2007
The Boat Race April 7th 2007 – To find your quickest route to the best viewpoints visit tfl.gov.uk and use Journey Planner. Your Transport for London.
94 – 2012
Diving at the Olympic Games – This was one of a large array of posters celebrating the London Olympic Games 2012. It also contained the text – The game will be held from the 27th of July until the 12th of August 2012. Links via Stratford Tube Station for Diving events at the Olympic Village.
95 – 2012
Fencing at the Olympic Games – This was one of a large array of posters celebrating the London Olympic Games 2012. It also contained the text – The game will be held from the 27th of July until the 12th of August 2012. Links via Stratford Tube Station for Fencing events at the Olympic Stadium.
96 – 2012
Track and Field in 2012 by Tube bus DLT and River – This was one of a large array of posters celebrating the London Olympic Games 2012. It shows an athletic jump over Westminster Bridge.
97 – 2012
Walking part of your journey may be quicker during the games – Maybe a strange promotion message from the Mayor of London, but it funny imagery did encourage fitness amongst London’s commuters.
98 – 2012
You made the Games a success by changing the way you travelled – Post Olympic Games, saw a number of posters thanking London Transports users. This is our favourite of those showing a rather trifle plump show horse and its rider.
99 – 2013
Keeping London Moving For 150 Years – One of a number of designs promoting the 150th anniversary of London Underground. The Tube, connecting past, present and future Londoners. It shows 10 users on the escalator from Charles Dickens to what appears to be one of Daft Punk!
100 – 2013
RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Nearest Underground station – Sloane Square – Buses 11, 137, 170, 360 & 452. It also marks the 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and 150 years of the Underground.
Reprints of original posters are available through the London Transport Museum shop.
All images are © Transport for London Transport Museum
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