Posters

Poster; Back room boys, they also serve; cable maintenance, by Fred Taylor, 1942
Simple name : Poster
Date : 1942
Collection : Posters
Object location : Acton Depot
Reference number : 1983/4/5573
Size : H 622mm, W 508mm
Print code : 747.1520.2250(2 chs)
Reproduced in : Taylor, Sheila (ed), 2001. The Moving Metropolis. Laurence King Publishing in association with London's Transport Museum, p262
Publisher : London Transport : 1942
Printer : The Baynard Press
Mode : Tube, Sub-surface railways
Content text : 'BACK ROOM BOYS' CABLE MAINTENANCE 'THEY ALSO SERVE'
Additional information : 'Back Room Boys' was a series of posters commissioned by London Transport to boost morale among passengers and staff during the Second World War. Each poster depicts London Transport staff at work behind the scenes. Many wartime workers were women, lending the title a certain irony. The layout, with a central image framed by an illustrated border, is reminiscent of a First World War poster series by Archibald Standish Hartrick. The central image of this poster was based on a photo taken in 1942. It depicts Mrs Ward, a circuit installer's mate, who worked in the signal engineer's department. She is assisting a male colleague with trackside cabling on the Underground near Uxbridge.
Title : Back room boys, they also serve; cable maintenance
Colour : Pink
Printed by : The Baynard Press
Related person
Record completeness :
Record 89% complete

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By 1914 the Underground Group ran most of the Tube lines, three tram systems and the main London bus company, the LGOC. The posters publicise all these transport modes. Outside the Underground Group were the Metropolitan Railway and London County Council (LCC) Tramways, which ran separate poster campaigns. All these companies were merged into London Transport (LT) in 1933. The four main line railway companies also used posters to promote their London suburban services. Transport for London (TfL) replaced LT in 2000 with wider responsibility including taxis, streets, river services and some overground rail.
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Staff have featured in posters in different ways over time. They have often been included in campaigns to publicise London Transport's commitment to service and customer care. At times of staff shortage, particularly in the 1950s and 60s, there were a large number of recruitment posters, especially for operating staff. During the war many posters were morale boosters, reassuring the staff that they were doing an important job in difficult circumstances.
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The Underground Group, and later London Transport, produced a wide variety of public information posters during the First (1914-18) and Second (1939-45) World Wars. The majority of wartime posters advised staff and passengers on emergency rules and regulations. Others were more overtly patriotic, often focussing on the valuable war work undertaken by transport employees. Some First World War Underground posters even urged onlookers to enlist with the armed forces. During the Second World War, posters were also used to explain tube 'etiquette' to the vast numbers of war workers and servicemen using the underground for the first time.
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Transport workers were essential to the war effort, especially during the Second World War. Posters celebrating war work were important for staff morale. They also raised awareness of the large number of women undertaking jobs previously done by men. The poster campaigns by Eric Kennington and Fred Taylor were based on photographs of real members of staff.
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The Underground Group, and later London Transport, produced a wide variety of public information posters during the First (1914-18) and Second (1939-45) World Wars. The majority of wartime posters advised staff and passengers on emergency rules and regulations. Others were more overtly patriotic, often focussing on the valuable war work undertaken by transport employees. Some First World War Underground posters even urged onlookers to enlist with the armed forces. During the Second World War, posters were also used to explain tube 'etiquette' to the vast numbers of war workers and servicemen using the underground for the first time.
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There was a marked difference between 'propaganda' posters produced by the transport companies during the two wars. Those published by the Underground Group in the Great War (1914-18) presented the conflict as an idealised struggle and urged men to enlist. LT's war posters (1939-45) stressed the individual's role in helping the war effort at home, reinforced with examples from history and the Blitz In both cases, the approach taken reflected the wider poster campaigns of the British government
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