Collections information

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

Dates

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.

People

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.

https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/collections/services/image-licensing

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

https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/contact-us

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

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.

Library

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

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.

Uniform

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.

Timetables

The timetable collection includes working and public timetables, traffic circulars and bulletins


Timetables illustrate the complexity of managing London’s transport system and show how Transport for London, London Transport and predecessor companies adapted and changed services over time. The collection documents the growth of the transport system and also records arrangements made for historical events such as coronations and funerals