In terms of the tube very little has been published in the way of paper documents since March 2020. Life has mostly been online thus most documentation from TfL has been in the form of a webpage, or a pdf other format. I think the only major print run during the bulk of this year so far (since March 2020) has been the A5 format instructions on how to make your own face masks and a new tube map. Apart from this and the new TfL tube map, that’s been pretty much it. At this stage the new tube map hasn’t even propogated to every single tube station on the network and the previous offering with the two bespectacled guys (entitled ‘Morden’) is still to be seen at many locations including Oxford Circus where not a single May 2020 tube map can be found!
What it means is any sighting of any new TfL paper publication is these days sure to be a rare event. If one looks at TfL’s paper racks there’s barely any stuff to be seen at many places – in fact there’s a drought of paper stuff at the moment and many leaflet racks about the network are simply bare.
It has been a surprise for the past few weeks that there’s been a new historical leaflet available on London’s tube lines. Its a limited distribution at the moment as it just covers the District and Jubilee Lines and these leaflets are only available at select stations. I haven’t written about it until now because I didn’t think I’d write a sufficiently good review of these and was hoping someone else would! Since no-one has, here’s my two penn’orth on these items!
The earlier District Line 150th Anniversary leaflet (2019.)
The first element of surprise is that its so soon after the District Line’s 150th anniversary (for which a number of offerings were made such as tote bags and detailed leaflets and posters at most stations covering the District Line’s history) – and especially as we progress through the current crisis where even TfL has a perilous state of financial affairs, a bumper leaflet has made the grade! It has a lot more text but rather more smaller pictures than earlier offerings but nevertheless its big! The District heritage leaflet is much larger than two A4 sheets put together – and it folds out to a length of 2.26 feet – or in metric 69cm.
The leaflets are clearly a collaboration between TfL and the LT Museum even though TfL is the main promoter. There’s nothing to show why the leaflets were produced although both leaflets do mention both lines’ 150 years and 40 years anniversaries.
I put one of the District examples by the poster of Hannah Dadds at Victoria station. The leaflet wouldn’t even stay up! Had to take the pic as quick as I could – even so one can see the leaflet has begun to fall over!
I assume the leaflets were printed just before the coronavirus pandemic and got put aside, then were marginally distributed at the end of August 2020 in the hope it would interest tube travellers and perhaps attract new custom. What surprises me is there hasnt been any tweets, there’s been no LT Museum blog written on these and TfL itself hasn’t said anything, its just been done on the quiet – much like the 2020 tube map.
Some of the images people will have seen in the special District 150th Anniversary leaflet that was done last year, or on the several green coloured posters done as part of the line’s anniversary which are featured at practically every District Line station (except strangely the platforms at Earls Court which have a blue heritage poster instead!) These posters include the old Blackfriars Station and Hannah Dadds as the tube’s first female driver.
The two leaflets side by side – however the District one is longer!
The Jubilee Line seems to have been chosen because last year too was that line’s special anniversary, being its 40th, and besides the District Line, its the only other tube line that has had some special posters created (as opposed to the general heritage posters seen throughout the system) though these are fewer, I think two, maybe three, that were done.
The Jubilee Line leaflet opens out to a length of 1.93 feet (just under 2ft) or 59cm and its focus is clearly upon the construction and architecture of the new line (covering both the Baker Street – Charing Cross and Green Park – Stratford sections.)
The folded leaflets fanned out as a display.
The leaflets are not very obvious to people. Because they are of quite large size they tend to be top heavy in the station racks thus these fan out and downwards which means most do not even see what they are! Westminster station was the only place where I found leaflets that would stay up for a length of time.
At Westminster station the District leaflets stayed upright but the Jubilee Line leaflets simply flopped over despite attempts to rearrange these leaflets better!
Despite those at Victoria flopping downward too, I managed to get them to stay upright for a short moment to take a picture! One will notice Victoria tube still has stocks of last year’s tube map!
Ironically last year was also the Victoria Line’s 50th anniversary, although that was barely commemorated by TfL because they had done all the jubilation they could the previous year because the first part of the new tube had in fact opened during September 1968. Will there be a special Victoria Line leaflet hot on the heels of both those for the District and Jubilee??? I somehow think not.
Currently there are very few stations that feature either District or Jubilee leaflet. From my observations it seems to be locations primarily for tourists. Its Earls Court, Embankment, Putney Bridge and Westminster for the District leaflet – or Baker Street and Westminster for the Jubilee. Westminster, as some will have noticed, is the only station where both leaflets can be found. I’m sure there are a handful of other locations that might have been missed out (South Kensington for example as I haven’t checked that recently – and Waterloo I didn’t see any at all.)