London Underground

I was off on a grand adventure. A wonderful Mad Max tour of Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circles, Castle Combe and Lacock village was on the horison (more on this tomorrow), but first I had to get to Bath.

You see, the tour was for a full day starting at 8:30am in the centre of Bath. Being a skint kiwi I didn’t want to pay for a hotel for the night before so I needed to take the shockingly early 6:30am train from Paddington. Getting a train that early on a Saturday? The tour better be worth it.

To get to the train on time I had to leave home before five. I had it all worked out perfectly, a down to the minute timetable of walking, multiple tubes and finally a dash to the right patform. And it was all going so well to, until I did something that I have not done in the last year in London…I got on the wrong tube.

Such a rookie mistake.

I got on the tube going south when I should have gone north. No problem right? Just get off at the next stop and get the next tube right? That was the completely logical Plan B.

Problem was that the tube did not start running north from that station until 6am.

I arrived at Paddington sweating and swearing the exact minute my train to Bath was meant to depart.

Thankfully the travel gods were with me and delayed the train for five minutes. Not only did I make the train after an early morning hour of transport stress, but I even managed to grab a coffee.

Onwards to the adventure!

 

I have confessed my love for trains time and time again. Add design and art to the train mix and I am in heaven. Thankfully 150 of the best London Underground posters are currently on display at the London Transport Museum to celebrate the Tube’s 150th birthday.

The posters are set over three levels in the museum, in a rabbit warren of an exhibition space. But the colours, the type and the clear messages just leap off the walls. When such famous artists lend their creative juices to a flat piece of paper the only thing to do is wander round in awe.

The best part is that when you buy a normal ticket to the London Transport Museum it lasts for a year – which means that this exhibition is FREE if you have been recently!

Here are some of my favorites:

Winter Sales (1921) Edward McKnight Kauffer – I like that although shopping/sales are associated with bright eye catching colour, this poster focusses on the grey winter weather and uses the orange as an almost afterthought.

London sales tube poster

Or Take the Tube (1987) by Nick Hardcastle – the ultimate passive aggressive poster

London Underground Snails Poster

London Transport – Keeps London Going (1938) by Man Ray – I could like these posters because they are now worth over £100,000, but mostly I like them because they were created when Saturn had just been discovered and they have the audacity to compare Saturn to the roundel (the red circle with blue line through it) showing that the Underground is new and exciting.

Man Ray - Saturn Poster

London After Dark (1968) by Fred Millett – Such a snapshot of a time period

Retro underground poster

The Swiftest Way to Pleasure (1913) by Charles Sharland – Do you think  Sharland was innocently using the phrase ‘the swiftest way to pleasure’ ?

The Swiftest Way to Pleasure Poster

It is cooler below (1926) and It is warmer below (1927) by Frederick Charles Herrick – Something for every occasion.

Tube poster - its warmer below

Mind the Gap

Girl to the left of me quietly sobbing;

Man to the right of me quietly singing songs from Glee – from ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ to ‘Run the World (Girls)’;

Man diagonally to the left trying to curl his hair with a pencil;

Mother to the diagonal right trying to explain to her son where babies come from ; and

The woman across from me reading Mein Kampf.

London underground you have outdone yourself.