London by Design explores iconic transport brand

NIght bus, Picadilly, 1913
First night bus outside Piccadilly station in 1913

Three exhibitions will look at the evolution of the capital’s transport design classics, from the Underground roundel to bus seat fabric and much more.

NIght bus, Picadilly, 1913
First night bus outside Piccadilly station in 1913 Credit: London Transport Museum

Where would London be without its transport network? The iconic Underground, the world-famous red buses, London cabbies and even the Boris bike keep the capital moving day and night.

Now, to celebrate its 100-year legacy, London Transport Museum is launching three events during September and October.

The London by Design season will showcase the evolution of many of the capital’s transport design classics, as well as look at contemporary and future design to explore how design excellence has made and continues to make London work efficiently.

London, Underground, map
Underground map, Henry C Beck, 1931 Credit: London Transport Museum

The season kicks off on 11 September with a temporary exhibition, Night Shift, which will present the retro posters, photographs and archive film which were used to promote evening leisure and the transport network’s contribution to making London a 24-hour city. To launch the exhibition, the museum is holding an exclusive night-time viewing on 11 September, featuring a bar, a silent disco, a DJ and curator-led tours. The evening will also correspond with the launch of the latest addition to London’s transport network – the Night Tube. 

London bus poster
By Bus to the Pictures Tonight by Tom Eckersely and Eric Lombers, 1935  Credit: London Transport Museum

Then, on the weekend of 26 and 27 September, Design Uncovered will give visitors a rare opportunity to explore behind the scenes at the museum’s depot in Acton, West London. On show will be key treasures from London’s transport design heritage including the development of the first Tube map to the secrets behind the design and manufacture of moquette fabric used in the upholstery on London’s transport system.

London by Design, transport
Mosaic artwork, Trevor Caley, 1986, Theatre Travelcard  Credit: London Transport Museum

In October 2015, the museum will open a new permanent gallery, London by Design, which will explore how London’s transport has become one of the world’s most enduring examples of successful brand identity and a world leader in transport design.

Enthusiasts can indulge in a special London by Design Pass, a combined ticket which gives access to all the exhibits at London Transport Museum for just £20. Tickets can also be purchased separately.

London, transport, poster
London After Dark poster, Fred Millett, 1968 Credit: London Transport Museum

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