Tram ad­ver­tis­ing

Part of the cap­i­tal’s street scene for more than 80 years un­til their last jour­ney in July 1952, Lon­don’s trams formed the big­gest net­work in Europe, fer­ry­ing sight­seers and com­muters to the city’s iconic land­marks and back again, and giv­ing rise to some

Period Living - - Contents -

Run­ning un­til 1952, Lon­don’s trams con­nected the city’s iconic at­trac­tions and gave rise to a se­ries of graphic posters

1 This poster dates from 1932, when among the many high­lights for vis­i­tors to the zoo was Win­nie, a black bear from Winnipeg, who in­spired AA Milne’s Win­nie-the-pooh. Win­nie, a very friendly bear, had been at the zoo since 1914 when his Cana­dian cav­alry vet owner went to fight in France. Other res­i­dents in­cluded Sumba and Sum­bawa, the first Ko­modo dragons in Europe.

2 This 1933 ad high­lights var­i­ous Lon­don sights, in­clud­ing Tower Bridge, St Paul’s and the coronation chair at West­min­ster Abbey. Tourists of the time might have ex­pected Ed­ward VIII to be the next to take his seat there, as Ge­orge V’s el­dest son, but his coronation, planned for 12 May 1937, was aban­doned when he ab­di­cated to marry di­vorcee Wal­lis Simp­son later that year. His brother Al­bert be­came Ge­orge VI on that day in­stead – ‘same date, dif­fer­ent king’ he wryly re­marked.

3 Dat­ing from 1933, RF For­dred’s pic­ture of the south­ern reaches of the Thames en­cour­ages trav­ellers to en­joy a bit of boat­ing. Put­ney Bridge would have been a great van­tage point from which to see Cam­bridge win the boat race on 1 April of that year, de­feat­ing Ox­ford for the 10th year in suc­ces­sion.

4 Christ­mas shop­ping in Lon­don by tram in 1928 looks an al­to­gether more pleas­ant and less crowded ex­pe­ri­ence than it is th­ese days, although we can still ex­pe­ri­ence Sel­fridges, Har­rods, Lib­erty and Ham­leys just as the happy shop­pers of the 1920s – and many be­fore them – would have done.

5 West End the­atre­go­ers in 1923 could have en­joyed Noël Coward’s first play I’ll Leave It To You, star­ring the play­wright him­self, or Ge­orge Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan at the Gar­rick. The bright colours and top hats in the poster, de­signed at the LCC Cen­tral School of Arts and Crafts, bear more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to Toulouse Lautrec’s Paris works.

6 GS Brien’s strik­ing graph­ics for the British Mu­seum route in 1927 would have lured vis­i­tors to an ex­hi­bi­tion of Sume­rian an­tiq­ui­ties from Ur, in the De­part­ment of Egyp­tian & Assyr­ian An­tiq­ui­ties. Also on show were draw­ings and en­grav­ings by Wil­liam Blake,

Chi­nese fres­coes, and manuscripts and books on the his­tory of agri­cul­ture – then, as now, some­thing for ev­ery­one.

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