Monday, 5 October 2015

London Transport Publications 1960s

Sometimes a collection can comprise of as little as just four examples of a similar object - in this case they are a part-set from London Transport's very own publishing house, which was based at their (soon to be vacated) headquarters at 55 Broadway, Westminster, SW1. 

During the 1960s, London Transport issued some beautifully designed editions, which I'm sure can now be heralded as classic artefacts of the time. The four that I've got are: three 10 x 17 cms pocket-sized paperback books, accompanied by a 14 x 21 cms booklet.

What I like about them is a simple and solid house-style, and that each one is boldly colour-coded: black, pink, green, and blue.

Cost Two Shillings and Sixpence, this was a revised and expanded version of a then out-of-print booklet issued a decade earlier.

Back cover of the 28 page booklet

Back Cover, 1963

Author - John R Day. His final sentence in the book reads: "the story of the Underground has many future chapters to be added"

The Foreword begins: "London's countryside is experiencing a mild revolution; motorways and road improvements are altering the face of the land faster than any time since the war"

The woodcuts on the cover and inside title page by Eric Ravilious 
 Ian Nairn's 'Modern Buildings in London' 1964. The cover was designed by Peter Roberson.

Back Cover. The book was printed at The Curwen Press, Plaistow, E13

Ian Nairn, the brilliant and outspoken architectural writer, explored most of the buildings in this book from the top deck of a bus. For more about Nairn's work, do check my 'After You've Gone' entry 'Your England Revisited', August 2014.

Examples of modern buildings include: Alton West Estate, Roehampton, Eros House, Catford, Newbury Park Underground Station, Sceaux Gardens Estate, Camberwell, St Paul's Church, Bow Common.

London Transport made it clear within that "the choice of buildings and the comments on them are Mr Nairn's, and not the publishers". Also that any mention of a building "does not imply that access to it may be obtained".

All four of these publications were sold at the time via London Transport's Travel Enquiry Offices at St James's Park and Piccadilly Circus Underground Stations, Eccleston Bridge (near Victoria Coach Station), and the City Information Centre by St Paul's Cathedral. Or post-free from it's Publicity Office in Marylebone Road...

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