10 must-see items at London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum

We've picked out our 10 can't-miss things to see on your next visit to London Transport Museum...

#1 - The Shillibeer Omnibus

This horse bus marked the beginning of London's bus history. On 4 July 1829, George Shillibeer started the first omnibus service between Paddington and the Bank. The omnibus was pulled by three horses and could carry 22 people.

This replica of Shillibeer's original vehicle was built in 1929 to celebrate the centenary of London's buses.

It is on display on the third floor at the Museum - climb inside and see how it might have felt to ride inside London's first bus!

#2 - Metropolitan Railway Steam Locomotive No. 23

This steam locomotive was used on the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District railways for over 80 years. It is one of the original locomotives that pioneered the early development of London's Underground trains.

From 1935 to 1948, it was used for track maintenance duties and became Britain's oldest working steam locomotive. It was used for services on the Inner Circle until the line was electrified in 1905.

#3 - Henry Beck's Pocket Underground Map

This is the first edition of the now iconic diagrammatic style of Underground map designed by Henry C Beck.

You can see it in our London By Design gallery - and explore how it has changed over the years.

#4 - Early Underground bullseye

This is the earliest drawing of a 'standard' bullseye design - which became known as the roundel in 1972. You can see this diagram on display in our London by Design gallery.

The diagram shows Johnston's design guidelines for the symbol, including the exact proportions, measurements and colours to be used with the 'pecked' Underground lettering.

#5 - Moquette

Moquette, which comes from the French word for carpet, is a tough woollen fabric that is used in upholstery on public transport all over the world.

We have several samples on display in the Museum. You can see them in the London by Design gallery!

#7 - Q Stock

When it was introduced, the 1938-stock was the most advanced electric tube train in the world. New designs and engineering advances meant that more passengers could carried in each car.

The last 38-stock retired from service in 1988, six weeks short of 50 years service. This car travelled more than one million miles in its 40 years service on the Northern Line - and can now be found on the ground floor of the Museum!

#8 - No Need To Ask A P'Liceman

This poster, designed in 1908, promoted a new combined map - the first one after London's various Underground railways agreed to publicise their companies as part of a complete system.

You can see this poster up close on the ground floor of the Museum.

The bold graphic design contrasted sharply with the wordy layout of earlier transport posters. John Hassall, an established and popular commercial artist, was an excellent choice to launch the new approach.

The map in the background of the poster was updated each time a new map was produced.

#9 - Battle Bus

The B-type was the first successful mass-produced motor bus, first introduced in 1910.

In 2014, this bus was converted into a military troop carrier to commemorate London’s transport workers during the First World War. It now takes pride of place on the ground floor.

#9 - Spiral Escalator

Buried at the bottom of a lift shaft for 77 years, this spiral escalator - designed by inventor Jesse Reno and installed in a shaft at Holloway Road station - was an engineering experiment ahead of its time.

It's likely that safety concerns prevented the complex machine from ever being used. It was dismantled in 1911, and the remains were discovered in 1988.

This section can only be seen at our Depot, but there is another part on display in our Future Engineers gallery.

#10 - The Transformation Is Complete

The City and South London Railway was the world’s first deep-level electric railway, opening in 1890. It merged with the Hampstead Tube in the 1920s, connecting at Camden Town and Kennington.

This poster shows a ghostly Edwardian family preparing to board an early tube train, and on the left, contemporary passengers waiting to board the recently modernised stock.

This poster is one of the iconic images on display in our new Untangling the Tracks gallery, which looks at the recent Thameslink Programme in the context of other major upgrades over the network which is close to 200 years old.

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