Not much will drag me out to West London, but one that definitely will is the promise of transport nerdery. This Saturday (after spending the morning viewing the Cheapside Hoard with Kathryn – phew, culture all over) we trundled way over to Acton Town to visit the London Transport Museum Depot‘s open day.
Emerging from the attractive 1930s tube station, the museum depot is directly opposite. The first big clue is the vintage buses giving tours in and out of the entrance.
In the giant warehouse space, upstairs houses a huge collection of station signage and maps dating from the 1920s up the present day. It was fascinating to see how the map changed over time.
Some nice type specimens to spot along the way, including a plan chest stuffed with the Johnson Underground typeface blocks.
Downstairs is an assortment of cool old machinery: ticket machines, whole kiosks, signal boxes, clocks and so on.
And there are a load of old buses and tube carriages – reminding me of the Brooklyn museum. But cooler ;)
I don’t know if this is a regular fixture, but on the day we visited there were a bunch of stalls selling ephemera: postcards, old maps and brochures, decommissioned signs and stickers, and so on. We scored some great stuff: old place nameplates, a deadstock moquette seat cover and some postcards and stickers, all for very cheap.
I’m so glad that such an effort is being made to store all this historical stuff and show it off to the public. If you fancy visiting – and I highly recommend it – there are monthly open days and regular guided tours. Check out the site for the next available dates.
Pretty late in posting about this – took so many photos there that it was a bit of a task editing them! We visited the New York Transit Museum on our last day in town, a roasting hot day where we took the ferry down to Brooklyn Bridge, walked some of the riverside promenade (sadly under construction so not particularly attractive at the moment), admired the pretty streets around Brooklyn Heights then trundled to the museum.
The museum itself is housed in 1930s subway station. It’s a little claustrophobic (says this general Tube-phobe) and the exhibition itself is kind of dull and geared towards children with lots of interactive exhibits, but wonder awaits downstairs…
Thought I’d share these scans of some of the vintage ephemera I’ve picked up from various markets recently. More in my growing Ephemera Flickr set, and if you fancy picking up some of your own, the next London Ephemera Society fair is rolling into town this Sunday, June 19th, in Bloomsbury.
A cute book of alphabets ‘for Ornamental Penman’. Some of these look quite strikingly modern giving the age of the book. My favourite part is the hand-calligraphed name in the front, and a child has scrawled an alphabet on the back page, so it’s obviously been well-loved over the years.
Some newspaper advertisement pages from the early 20th century. The copywriting on most of these is hysterical – makes modern advertising seem subtle and understated!
My favourite, a fabulously brash Fifties ‘Wonder Atlas’. The map colours are brilliantly vibrant inside, not yet faded down to pretty pastels like some of the time-bleached single pages I collect.
some odd vintage playing cards — these would make nice greeting cards…
I’ve also been having a go at recreating the vintage advertising typography style in Photoshop. All in the name of research for a new poster design I’m planning for my shop.. sign up to my e-newsletter (in the side column) to be the first to see it pretty soon.
Not the best photo sorry, but our star buys were the 1920s Ray Cycles poster that looks bang up-to-date (reminds me of Telegramme’s work) and the handsome pigeon portraits. The ‘Ken Kat’ sweet potato crate label will be framed up in our kitchen.
I scanned some bits and bobs below so you can really see the details.
A plow factory brochure – can you imagine something so beautiful made for something so banal nowadays?
I love the superfluous copy writing on these. We have similar labels framed up in our bathroom.