Event History

Talk: Seeing it through – wartime posters on the Underground @ltmuseum

Tuesday 1 March 2011
London Transport’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. Seeing it Through was a series of posters commissioned from Eric Henri Kennington by London  Transport in 1944; they commemorate the everyday acts of heroism by civilian workers during the Second World War. Head Curator David Bownes, and art historian Jonathan Black, discuss London Underground’s poster campaign during the Second World War, from morale boosting propaganda to visions of post war society.
Time: 18.30 (talk lasts approximately one hour)
Tickets: Adults £8.00; senior citizens £6.00; students £4.00

Events Site. I’m guessing much of this material will come from my book chapter, so be interesting to see the angle. I’ve just been given a comp ticket, so I’ll come along and try to remember what I wrote!!


London Transport Posters in Wartime

London-Transport-Posters-newLondon Transport Posters: A Century of Art and Design OK, so maybe I’m going for the easy entries over the next few days, but I’ve got plenty to add on bits and pieces. I tried to get my original research material out from storage today, but it’s going to have to wait…. I have lots materially digitally stored!

London Transport Museum’s Exhibition ‘The Art of the Poster‘ finished last week, and was accompanied by the book London Transport Posters: A Century of Art and Design, for which I wrote a chapter (finishing as much as I could do in an internet cafe in Melbourne, Australia!). London Transport Museum are notoriously protective of their copyright, so it was a great chance to continue some research on further posters… I still get excited when I see a poster I’ve not seen before, or even one I have seen before making it’s way into the modern public domain… such as the Keep Calm and Carry On posters! My thesis focused largely on posters produced by the Ministry of Information, but they called upon the expertise of organisations such as London Transport and Shell in the formation of the Ministry of Information, as these organisations had demonstrated a proficiency in publicity. It was also interesting to study First World War posters, to which I’d referred in my thesis (noting that they were far more King & Country whereas the Second World War was a much more democratic effort), as the chapter was about wartime posters, not just the Second World War. LTM had been working on digitising their poster collection whilst I was doing my PhD research, and the materials launched online whilst I was writing this chapter. My PhD research had turned up some really interesting information which the London Transport archives didn’t have (and I spent some time both in Covent Garden and the main archives, along with the V&A, and we had meetings out at Acton… some great materials stored there), so really felt I made a good contribution. My chapter ended up as a joint publication as David Bownes completed it whilst I was hopping around New Zealand, before I proof read it in the midst of Bolivia, after a great day blowing up dynamite in the silver mines, before returning in time for the book/exhibition launch in October!

Further Resources  (in no particular order)