London Transport Museum : 7 Interesting Things to Explore

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For centuries, getting about London has been a significant undertaking. Transporting Londoners from one location to another has been a prominent aspect of the city since the early 1800s when horse-drawn buses moved ordinary inhabitants and elegant taxis were available for those with more significant resources.

The London Transport Museum serves to preserve this history from the beginning to the present, allowing visitors to comprehend better how the city’s transport system originated and grew. Head down below to see how buses, taxis, bicycles, and the Tube have evolved through time.

I. About the London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum
Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay

The London Transport Museum (LTM) is a transport museum in Covent Garden, London. The museum primarily features exhibits linked to London’s transportation legacy and preserving and interpreting its history.

The museum is located at two locations in London. The primary location in Covent Garden, which reopened in 2007 following a two-year renovation, bears the name of its parent institution and is available to the public every day. The London Transport Museum Depot, located in Acton, is primarily a storage location for historical objects available to the public on certain tourist days throughout the year.

  • The London Transport Museum at Covent Garden

The main museum building is a Victorian iron and glass structure that used to be part of the Covent Garden vegetable, fruit, and flower market. It is situated between Russell Street, Tavistock Street, Wellington Street, and the east side of the old market square, and was planned by William Rogers as a specialized flower market in 1871.

The market closed in 1971, and the building reopened on March 28, 1980, as the London Transport Museum. Since 1973, the collection has been housed at Syon Park, having formerly been part of the British Transport Museum in Clapham.

  •  The Depot

The Museum Depot, in Acton, west London, first opened its doors in October 1999. It serves as a home base for the museum’s curators and conservators and an exhibition space for pieces that are too large to fit in the main building.

The majority of the museum’s exhibits are housed at the depot and are not on display in the main museum in Covent Garden. The Museum Depot isn’t always available to the public, but it regularly conducts pre-booked guided tours, so check with the museum to find out when and prepare accordingly.

II. 8 Interesting Things to Explore  at the London Transport Museum

public cars and buses in London Transport Museum
Editorial credit: lingling7788 / Shutterstock.com

(i) Sedan Chair

A Sedan Chair, London’s first permitted public transportation, is a single-person vehicle carried by two people, one in the front and one in the rear, with the passenger sitting pleasantly in the center. In 1634, Sir Saunders Duncombe brought it to the city, and it immediately became a popular mode of transportation.

(ii) Original Tube Map by Harry Beck

When the London Passenger Transport Board absorbed all of London’s public transportation in 1933, Underground electrical draughtsman Harry Beck created the famous graphic for the new Tube map. He created the crisscrossed, colorful lines we know and love by basing his design on the electrical cables he worked with rather than geography.

(iii) Historic Poster

Over 5,000 transportation-related posters and other materials are available online at the London Transport Museum. Their collection has transportation posters by artists, including Graham Sutherland, Abram Games, and Ivon Hitchens. Advertising for sports, tube services, information, and even military propaganda may be seen on the posters.

(iv) Hidden London: Disused Tube Stations

Hidden London: Disused Tube Stations
Micheal_Green / Pixabay

The Hidden London exhibit delves into the history of these stations, including some that were never built and those that became crucial World War II defensive sites and posters, artifacts, and photographs relating to them.

(v) Untangling the Tracks

Untangling the Tracks, a delightful interactive exhibit at the museum enables kids of all ages to participate in a puzzle by ensuring trains arrive on time and without colliding. Visitors may learn about the duties of modern transportation engineers at the display.

(vi) Original and New Routemaster Buses

From its launch in 1954 until 2005, the AEC Routemaster was the famous red double-decker bus zipped across London streets. It outlasted numerous subsequent versions that were supposed to be its replacements. When anything eventually succeeded in replacing the AEC Routemaster, it was the New Routemaster. The museum’s exhibit collection includes examples of both types of buses.

(vii) Horse-Drawn Omnibus

Horse-drawn omnibuses were the major mode of transport for the typical Londoner prior to the introduction of motorized buses such as the ones listed above and the London Underground. It was operated by the London General Omnibus Company and is an excellent example of one of the most oversized vehicles. With an average speed of 8 miles per hour, it can transport 28 people.

III. London Transport Museum’s shop.

In Covent Garden and online, the museum shop sells a wide choice of replica posters, models, gifts, and souvenirs. The proceeds from sales support the museum’s operations. The museum began selling baggage racks from retired Metropolitan Line A Stock trains in 2012 after they were recently replaced by new trains.

vintage cars and buses as public traffic in London Transport Museum
Editorial credit: lingling7788 / Shutterstock.com

IV. About Hidden London Tours

Find a hidden London tour in London, including a return of the popular Kingsway tram tunnel trip and the Shelter at Clapham South! Things that you can explore here are :

(i) The time capsule of an old advertising poster located below Euston station,
(ii) Disused rooms at Charing Cross Underground station,
(iii) Walkthrough Trafalgar Square.

The remaining tram tunnels at the Kingsway tram station closed for almost 70 years but still have an intriguing history.

V. Other Details About the London Transport Museum

(a) What is There to See at the London Transport Museum?

Watch the evolution of iconic automobiles, observe the world’s first underground trains, and look inside an 1890s padded boarding room. Fans of design can visit design galleries for travel with innovative advertisements and art.

Get hands-on in the interactive exhibitions, allowing you to board actual buses and trains and try out Tube driving simulations. You can find out how the famous roundel transport symbol was developed. Please visit the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton during an exhibition day for more information about this collection.

(b) What’s at the London Transport Museum Shop and Cafe?

It would be best to leave enough time to browse London Transport Museum’s shops and refuel at Canteen cafes, which can be accessed by car without a ticket. The canteen overlooks Covent Garden Piazza.

The store is stocked with London transport-themed gifts and souvenirs. Authentic Underground posters, furniture inspired by traditional design, and Transport for London branding.

(c) Prepare for your Museum Visit.

Get information on annual passes and book timed tickets for museum visits. Passes have a 12-month validity period. Children get out for free! Discover the history of London’s transport by visiting the London Transport Museum. Discover our gallery and exhibitions.

(d) How Long Does it Take to Walk Around the London Transport Museum?

The London Transport Museum has an incredible number of exhibits that can be enjoyed within two hours of each visit.

(e) Do You Have to Pay to Go to the Transport Museum?

The London Transport Museum requires a year-round card and a timed ticket. The offer lasts a year, with unlimited visit periods. Their annual pass offers three types of options: Kids can go free and do not have to pay an annual membership.

VI. Conclusion

The London Transport Museum appears benign and small from the outside, and you may believe it’s exclusively for children. However, its location in the structure appears more prominent in the interior once you pass through the entry hall. The museum has social history, geography, urban planning, politics, and graphic design on many floors. Visit this place to see how the transport system has evolved through time.

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