Sherlock to St Paul's: Tiles on the Underground

By London Transport Museum

There's all kinds of fascinating tiles to be seen across the Underground network. In celebration of Sherlock Holmes day, we take a look at the iconic Baker Street tiles - and nine more interesting designs you may or may not have noticed!

Sherlock Holmes ceramic tile motif (1985) by Michael DouglasLondon Transport Museum

In the 1980s, Baker Street station was refurbished, and included many new tiles depicting Sherlock's silhouette.

A Sherlock Holmes motif tile as found on the platform of Baker Street Underground station (circa 1982)London Transport Museum

Holmes famously lived at 221B Baker Street in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. At the time the stories were published, Baker Street didn't even go up to 221!

Small Sherlock Holmes silhouette tiling on the walls of the Bakerloo line section of Baker Street Underground station (1981) by Michael DouglasLondon Transport Museum

The tile designs can be found across Baker Street station, as well as illustrations depicting famous scenes from Holmes cases.

Bakerloo line platform, Paddington station, showing new tile design/motif and seating (circa 1988) by Hugh RobertsonLondon Transport Museum

At Paddington station, there is a tile design inspired by the patent drawings by Sir Marc Brunel, who designed the main line station. The drawings are of a tunnelling shield which helped build the Rotherhithe Tunnel under the Thames and became the prototype for future shields.

Bond Street Underground station (circa 1983)London Transport Museum

This photo from 1983 shows an impressive tile pattern at Bond Street station. The tiles wrapped all over the tunnel, including the ceiling!

Eduardo Paolozzi tiling at Tottenham Court Road Underground station (1982/1984)London Transport Museum

Tottenham Court Road is arguably one of the most colourful stations on the network, featuring 950 sq metres of mosaics throughout the station designed by Eduardo Paolozzi and completed in 1986.

Eduardo Paolozzi tiling at Tottenham Court Road Underground station (1982/1984)London Transport Museum

You can see a full documentary of the restoration project on TfL's YouTube channel.

Green "pomegranate" dado til (circa 1906) by Leslie GreenLondon Transport Museum

This tile has a 'Pomegranate' pattern, and was salvaged from an unknown station. Originally used as part of a frieze, the design is rare compared with 'Acanthus leaf' motif that was also used to decorate Underground stations designed by Leslie Green.

Ticket office kiosk window in green faience tile, probably from Russell Square statio (1906) by Leslie GreenLondon Transport Museum

Another recognisably Leslie Green feature, this ticket office window was creatively built out of tiles - including two embossed with 'In' and 'Out'.

Staff on platform at Brixton Underground station (1971-07-23)London Transport Museum

The Victoria line has many tile motifs at stations, reflecting the station names. This photo shows a ton of bricks at Brixton station. This photo was taken at the official opening of the Brixton extension in 1971.

View of a seating recess on the Victoria line platform at Warren Street Underground station (1968-11-27) by H K NolanLondon Transport Museum

Another Victoria line station, Warren Street features a mural depicting a maze - a pun on the word 'Warren'.

Shot of tiled, cricketing mosaic at Oval Northern line station (2001-08-09)London Transport Museum

The Oval is famous for its cricket - and Oval Underground station is no different! These large motifs of cricketers at the entrance are just some of the cricket themed tiles throughout the station.

Stabler tile showing the roundel, representing London Transport (circa 1938) by Harold StablerLondon Transport Museum

Our final stop on our tile tour of London is a few of the Stabler tiles which can be found across London. There were 18 designs in total of these cream 'relief' tiles.

Stabler tile showing 55 Broadway, representing London Transport (circa 1938) by Harold StablerLondon Transport Museum

The iconic headquarters of London Transport is another one of these tile designs, which were fitted between 1938 and 1946.

Stabler ceramic tile showing St Pauls Cathedral (circa 1938) by Harold StablerLondon Transport Museum

These tiles were salvaged from St Paul's Underground station, where they were installed at platform level.

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