We made our way over to London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot yesterday – it’s where they house the majority of the collection that’s not on show at the museum itself. As part of the tube’s 150th anniversary they’re having a series of events there, and this weekend was their Open Weekend.
The depot houses a selection of retired tube trains, buses, trams, trolleybuses; and a densely packed mezzanine full of an incredible selection of old signs.
It’s an amazing treasure trove.
And there’s a host of other wonders too. Back on the ground floor there’s a cabinet of woodblock letters, featuring various versions of the Johnston typeface designed in 1917 by calligrapher Edward Johnston (who actually lived not so far away from Acton, in Chiswick). This was the typeface used throughout the London Underground, and still in use today (in the slightly modified form of New Johnston).
There are some bits of metal type lying around too:
There’s also a model of Strand Station, a now defunct station which you can occasionally take tours around.
There are also examples of the logo designed for the Victoria Line:
and some lovely old ticket machines:
How binary are those? Put your money in, get a ticket. Or don’t put any money in, push a button, and get an Authority to Travel. Brilliant.
If you missed it this weekend, they’re having a series of guided tours throughout the year.
If you’d like to find out more about the London Underground’s design history, then you should really get yourself a copy of Mark Ovenden’s truly marvellous book London Underground By Design.