Collections information

Loans Policy

LTM makes and receives loan requests for the following reasons:

  • to make the collections more widely accessible, both physically and intellectually;
  • to further knowledge and understanding of the collections;
  • to increase national and international co-operation by the exchange of material and exhibitions; and
  • to enhance the reputation of LTM both nationally and internationally.

In some cases, LTM will not be able to lend requested objects. Reasons for this include:

  • the object is on display, either at LTM or another loan venue;
  • LTM is planning to use the object or it is subject to another loan request;
  • the condition of the object means it would be at significant risk by being transported and/or displayed;
  • the loan venue is not an Accredited institution;
  • the object will not be publicly accessible whilst on loan;
  • LTM is not satisfied with the stated reason for the loan;
  • LTM is not satisfied with the environmental, display or security standards at the loan venue;
  • the borrower is unable to meet LTM’s conditions of loan.

Loans out

Loans out (the lending of objects from the LTM collection to other parties) are granted by LTM for fixed periods of time (up to a maximum of five years) and for the purposes of exhibition or public display, usually at an accredited institution. In special circumstances LTM may consider lending to an unaccredited institution if all security, environmental and physical needs are met and there is a strong case for public access to the object in question.

LTM will consider loan requests for all different types of objects in the museum collection, and for any number of objects.

If a borrower is unsure about which object(s) to borrow or what LTM holds in its collection, they should contact the curatorial department at [email protected] in advance of making a loan request.

A loan request must be made in writing at least six calendar months prior to the proposed commencement of the loan. In exceptional circumstances, LTM will consider loan requests sent with less than six calendar months’ notice. International loan requests and loan requests of ten or more items should be made at least 12 months prior to the proposed commencement of the loan. Requests should be sent to:

[email protected]; or
Curatorial Department,
London Transport Museum,
Albany House,
94-98 Petty France,

A loan request must include details of the following:

  • the name, address and contact details of the proposed borrower;
  • the name and status of the individual making the request;
  • the details of the object(s) subject to the request, including object number(s) and a brief description of each object;
  • the proposed dates of the loan;
  • the purpose of the loan and, if the object(s) are intended for exhibition, the scope of the exhibition and details of all venues;
  • a brief statement of the proposed indemnity/insurance provisions which shall be put in place in relation to the object(s);
  • if the loan request has been sent with less than six calendar months’ notice, the reason(s) for this.

Once a written loan request has been received, the LTM Collections Development Group (CDG) will consider the request, and then inform the borrower whether they agree to proceed with the loan in principle. If LTM considers the borrower’s participation in the further stages of the loan process to be inadequate, for example if the borrower fails to provide information reasonably requested by LTM, LTM reserves the right not to grant the loan.

If CDG agree to proceed with the loan, the borrower will be asked to provide a completed UKRG Facilities Report and a UKRG Security Supplement, in order to assess intended security, display and environmental conditions. Evidence of appropriate insurance or indemnity provisions will also be required, and further information may be requested if necessary. If this information is considered to be satisfactory by LTM, the borrower will be required to enter into a Loan Out Agreement, which will incorporate LTM’s Standard Conditions of Loan and any additional conditions relevant to the specific loan in question.

Should images of the objects be required for catalogues or publicity, requests should be sent to [email protected].

Loans in

Loans in (the borrowing of objects from other parties by LTM) are for fixed periods of time (up to a maximum of five years) and are requested by LTM for the purposes of exhibitions, research and public programme activities.

LTM will accept loans on the terms and conditions of the lender. Where the lender does not have a set of terms and conditions, the LTM standard Loans In Agreement shall be used. A copy of the standard Loans In Agreement is available on request.

LTM will require the lender to provide an insurance valuation for all objects on loan and will provide proof of insurance.

LTM will ensure that all borrowed objects are treated with at least the same standard of care with which it treats objects from its own permanent collections.

LTM will keep a record of each loan on the collections database and each object will be designated an LTM object number and database record.

LTM will carry out appropriate due diligence checks on incoming loans to ensure that no borrowed objects are known or suspected to have been stolen, illegally imported/exported or illegally excavated, as defined in the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970.

In the event that the original lender cannot be contacted at the end of the loan, LTM will make reasonable efforts to trace the original owner. If the original owner cannot be located LTM will seek appropriate advice, with a view to disposing of or acquiring such objects.

How to search the collections

We continue to update our records and make as much information available as possible by adding new images and records weekly.

There are a variety of ways to search our collections; by collection type, free text search, using advanced searches and sorting results using filters.

Searching by ‘collection type’

To browse by collection type, select ‘The collection’ tab on the right-hand side of the Collections online home page or click on a collection type thumbnail below the free text search box. When you select ‘The collection’, tabs will appear along the right-hand side to indicate the number of items within each collection.

Once you select an individual collection, you can scroll through objects by page, through the thumbnails or select an individual thumbnail to view the object information

Alternatively click on ‘Advanced search & filters’ and select a collection from the list provided.

Free text search

Use the free text search engine on the Collections online homepage to carry out a general search. You can narrow your results to be word, term or title specific. More than one search term can be applied by adding ‘and’ or ‘or’, for example, ‘staff and bus’. Enter a search term and, click ‘Go’. To view an object within your search results, click on the thumbnail and click the ‘View’ button.

Narrowing your search - Advanced Search and Filters


A ‘date’ filter can be applied within all collections. Click on ‘Advanced search’, click in the ‘date’ box next to ‘year’ and select a year.

To add a range, select the ‘Add Range’ button and add dates in the ‘From’ and ‘To’ boxes. When you have selected a date or a date range, click ‘Search’. To remove your search and apply a new one, click the ‘Reset’ button.

‘Records with images’ only

You can choose to only view records with images by selecting the box next to ‘Only with pictures’ located under the date filter in ‘Advanced search’.

‘Last search’ button

Once a search has been made or a filter is applied and you have explored your results you can return to the search using the ‘Last search’ button. If you are just scrolling through the collections without actively searching for something using the advanced search or filters, you can return using the ‘back’ button in your browser.

Searching the Poster & Artwork collections

General search

Use the free text search box to carry out a general search in the poster & artwork collections.

Search by theme

Posters and Artworks are categorised by themes; Beyond the city, Entertainment, London’s transport system, Open air London, Sightseeing, Sport, events and Wartime London. Each theme has sub themes within to further refine your search. Click the information button next to each theme to learn more about each theme or sub theme.

Pick a theme, add/or a sub theme and click ‘Ok’

Search by artist name

Alternatively, if you are looking for posters or an artwork by a specific artist, type their name into the box next to ‘Artists’. It is important to check correct spelling or type just the surname when entering a name.

Search by colour

Another way to search the posters is by entering a colour into the Free text search which will pull up any poster that includes that colour. It is also possible to apply more than one filter at a time.

Searching the Photograph collection

General search

Use the free text search box to carry out a general search in the photograph collection.

Search by theme

Photographs are categorised by themes; Waterways, Buses, Cabs and taxis, Events and recreation, People, Power stations, Railways, Streets and buildings, Suburbia, Trams and trolleybuses, Underground and Wartime. Click the information button next to each theme to learn more.

Pick a theme and click ‘Ok’

Search by photographer

Alternatively, if you are looking for photographs by a specific photographer, type their name into the box next to ‘Photographers’. It is important to check correct spelling or type just the surname when entering a name.


General search

Use the free text search box to carry out a general search in the people collection.

Search by Name

Alternatively, if you are looking for information about a specific person, type their name into the box next to ‘Name’. It is important to check correct spelling or type just the surname when entering a name.

Individual object records

After you have selected ‘View’ on a thumbnail you will be taken to an object record page. On this page, details about the object will be listed including the objects unique reference number, a title, a date and any other information we may know about its production.

Image licencing and research

You may also find information regarding licencing and reproductions in the museum shop.

To find out more about researching our collections see the ‘Contact us’ page where you can find details for the library and collections services.

Collections copyright policy

Copyright Notice and Take down Policy

London Transport Museum acts in good faith when making material available online. Some images on this website have been restricted for copyright reasons.

Please contact us in the event that you are the owner of copyright of any material displayed on this website which you believe infringes on your intellectual property or any other rights.

London Transport Museum will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within fourteen days of receiving your written objection. Upon receipt of a valid complaint we will remove the material from our website while the matter is being investigated further. 

Please include the following information in the email:

  • - Your full name and contact details; email address and telephone number.
  • - Details of the material you believe has been infringed upon and the url where you found the material.
  • - Evidence that you are the rights holder.

Please send your email to [email protected] and we will answer your enquiry as soon as possible. 


The Collection

The collection at London Transport Museum comprises more than 450,000 objects which cover all aspects of public transport in London from 1800 to the present day. Our objects reveal the social history of transport, the urban history of London and the technical advances that have moved millions of Londoners over more than two hundred years. The collection also reflects transport developments and concepts for urban transportation in the future.

Material has been selected for preservation by Transport for London (TfL), London Transport and predecessor companies since 1925. There are over 80 road and rail vehicles representing significant developments in London’s public transport; more than 5,000 designs and 800 original artworks reflecting graphic art since 1908; and over 100,000 photographs documenting London’s transport and the changing face of the city since the 1860s. Other collections include tickets, ephemera, uniforms, film, enamel signs, architectural fragments, operating equipment, station furniture, and the library collection. Together these reflect the breadth and depth of transport’s reach into the fields of art, design, technology and social history.


Information records look at significant people, places, objects, events and topics

There are different types of information records. They contain: text and research used for exhibitions and displays; essays on specific topics; information about people, companies, vehicle types and bus routes; or contextual information for particular objects in our collection. Read about key individuals in London’s transport story, such as Charles Tyson Yerkes, Frank Pick and Lord Ashfield. Discover the part London’s transport played in the First and Second World Wars.


The Museum library holds a unique collection of over 14,000 books, journals and special collections covering London’s transport

The Museum library holds a unique collection of over 14,000 books, journals and special collections covering London’s transport

The library’s unique collection covers the history and development of public transport in London – past, present and future. It deals with buses, trams, trolleybuses, the Underground, railways, taxis and private hire, cycling, river transport, street management and walking. It includes public transport operation, policy and legislation for Transport for London, London Transport and predecessor companies. There is a particular emphasis on art, design, and architecture and also London’s social history. We hold some material on transport in other UK and world cities.

For more information see our Library and visiting pages.

Vehicle parts

The vehicle parts collection includes mechanical and electronic parts and decorative features

The Museum holds a collection of vehicle parts. These can reveal technological advances, for example in the development of engines and tyres. Improving accessibility on the transport network can be seen in the ongoing development of ramps, handles and seating design. Historical narratives are illustrated through wartime blackout lamps and blast netting. Design evolution can be seen in seating fabric moquette samples and destination blinds.


Vehicles includes horse and motor buses, trains, taxis, trams, trolleybuses and bicycles

Vehicles are at the heart of London Transport Museum’s collection. There are more than 80 road and rail vehicles in the collection, representing public transport in the city and the suburban and country areas over two centuries. The development of road and rail transport from horse buses to motor vehicles, and steam locomotives to electric Tube trains are all represented.  Vehicles can be seen at the Museum in Covent Garden and during Open Weekends and tours at the Museum Depot in Acton Town.


The uniform collection includes clothing and accessories worn by staff from the nineteenth century to the present day

Railway, tram and bus operating staff in London have worn distinctive uniforms and company badges since the nineteenth century. When London Transport was formed as a single authority in 1933 the company uniform was standardised, but retained variations in detail. This was to distinguish between the different parts of the company. Uniforms are designed to be practical and staff receive both a summer and winter issue. Transport for London continues to review and develop aspects of uniform design to meet modern requirements

Sound recordings

Sound recordings include interviews with London Transport staff and others who have contributed to London’s transport history

The sound recordings collection includes historic and contemporary interviews recording the memories, experiences and opinions of people who have worked for Transport for London and London Transport. The collection also contains interviews with those who have played a role in public transport in other ways, not necessarily as transport employees. Recordings cover a broad range of topics, including the memories of women bus conductors in two world wars and direct recruits from the Caribbean to London Transport in the 1950s.

London Transport Museum Depot is open this summer


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October half term at London Transport Museum


October half term

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