During a four-day event in April, visitors will be able to go behind the scenes in the fascinating art and poster stores at London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton, west London.
The stores are normally closed to the public, but for four days between Thursday, 21st, and Sunday, 24th April the Museum’s expert guides will reveal how poster design has characterised London and its transport for over 100 years, and explore the Museum’s world-renowned collection of transport posters dating from around 1905.
The depot houses over 320,000 artefacts, including more than 30,000 posters representing up to 7,000 designs. These posters chart the Underground’s unrivalled reputation for commissioning memorable advertisements by leading artists and designers, including Abram Games, Dora M Batty, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Dame Laura Knight, Hans Unger, and Man Ray. Artistic influences featured in the collection range from cubism and constructivism to futurism and surrealism.
Visitors to the ‘Art of the Poster’ open days can also try their hand at creating their own posters in creative workshops. On Thursday, 21st, and Friday, 22nd April, adult visitors can join artist Emma Hockley to design their own poster art inspired by London using different artistic techniques and mixed media. On Saturday, 23rd and Sunday, 24th April, families with budding artists can enjoy creative art sessions, and make their very own colourful transport poster to take home.
At selected times across the four days, there will be talks with artists, curators, and historians, that will give tell the stories behind iconic posters of the past, and reveal how contemporary artworks are commissioned.
As well as discovering the artistic side to London’s transport history, visitors can explore the Museum’s extensive collection of historic Tube trains, buses, maps, signs, and curiosities from 200 years of London’s transport history. There is also a self-guided family-friendly trail where families can spot some of the most curious and colourful vehicles on display.
On Saturday, 23rd and Sunday, 24th April, a miniature railway will be running where visitors can hop aboard replica models of Underground trains used on the Metropolitan line between the 1920s and 1960s.
The Depot shop will be open offering exclusive gifts and souvenirs, from moquette pattern socks, scarves, and cushions, to framed posters, limited-edition prints, and authentic Underground signs. Refreshments will be available from Mini Bean Coffee.
Timings for the full programme will be available on the Museum’s website at https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/depot-open-weekends/art-poster from mid-March. Timed tickets to visit the depot must be booked in advance online. Adult tickets cost £15 and tickets for children cost £7.50; children aged 3 and under go free and concessions are available.
The depot will be open for two more events this year:
- Act On it! depot open days on Saturday, 2nd and Sunday, 3rd July 2022, where visitors can discover how London’s transport is making tracks to keep the city green for the future. There will be family workshops and creative activities, find out what active travel really means, see exciting vehicle displays, and explore how buses, the Tube, and trains have changed over the last 200 years.
- Depot Unlocked open days between Thursday, 22nd and Sunday, 25th September 2022 which will reveal the world of transport treasures hidden behind the doors of the depot and explore how London’s transport has shaped the city for over a century, from the Underground to what’s over ground. Tours behind the scenes with expert guides will be available, as well as bite-size lectures, and the chance to get creative in family-friendly workshops.