Wednesday, 23 October 2013


transport for london museum visit
Charles Pearson 1793 - 1862
notable achievement: inspired the first underground railway
wanted to clear slums and rehouse workers as part of his railway scheme 
his ideas inspired the metropolitan railway, the worlds first underground railway, he died only weeks before it opened.

was there a solution?
London continued to expand rapidly throughout the 19th century.  By 1861 the population of Greater London had grown to just over three million.  Over the next forty years it doubled again.  Unlike Paris, a rising proportion of London's population lived in the growing suburbs and not in the centre.  Even so there was never ending congestion on the streets because everyone still needed access to the central districts.
Many creative solutions were proposed above and below ground to keep the great metropolis mobile.  Most of these never got off the drawing board.

'if things continue this way, we shall have to double deck the entire city.' - Victorian commentator, 1846

worlds first underground railway:
the first underground railway was designed to transport passengers arriving at London's main line stations into the city.  Paddington, Euston and Kings Cross were all some distance from London central business district.
An underground line built below the main road to the city would avoid most of the property demolition needed to build a railway at ground level.  It could also relieve the growing traffic congestion on the roads.  The Metropolitan Railway Company was formed in 1854 to carry through this ground-breaking project.

'Their powers of endurance and their consumption of flesh food were alike enormous.  They seemed to disregard danger, and they were as reckless of their earnings as of their lives.'  Frederick Williams on the 'navvies', railway constructions workers, 1883

a transport revolution...
Transport was closely linked to the growth of London from 1860s onwards.  Railways in particular made suburban expansions possible.  At the same time there were major developments in the application of new technology to urban travel.  The result was a transport revolution above and below ground at the start of the 20th century.

roller blinds replaced wooden destination boards on London buses from the late 1920s.  before each journey, the driver or conductor had to reset the front and rear blinds to show the correct destination.  The bus blinds use a version of the Underground typeface designed by Edward Johnston.  This clear lettering is still used on London bus blinds today.  Yellow on black eventually replaced white on black lettering.  It proved easier to read and is now standard.  The blinds on display date from the 1960s to the 1990s.

poster exhibition:
These posters look beyond the daily commute to capture the glamour, excitement and sense of opportunity within this dynamic city.  By day, leisure activities from sports to shopping are accessible via the underground.  By night, passengers are enticed to Central London's cinema and theatres.  The Underground and its customers are portrayed as contemporary and 'in the know.'  The city becomes bigger and brighter and today more people than ever discover London by Tube.

photographs from transport for london museum.
These are some photographs I took at the TFL Museum documenting sources and just getting some visual research as part of the project.  The quality of the photos are pretty low but it was just to collect some visual references.

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