Friday, August 05, 2016


London The Unfinished City
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I live in Watford, which is the largest town in Hertfordshire, and is the fourth most connected town in the country. 

So, being roughly 18 miles from the centre of London, getting into the Unfinished City is remarkably simple, and cheap.

I can guarantee, though, that 98% of my journeys, into the Unfinished City, are made via the London Underground. The other 2% I make via the overground networks, which include the London Overground and National Rail.

London The Unfinished City
Love the Tube: 160 Years of Service.

The Metropolitan Line station is just a short walk away and can take me straight through to Baker Street or Aldgate. Or I can change at Finchley Road, among others, to change onto a different line, depending on where I am headed,

One of the things that is instantly recognisable around the world, is the Roundel: The symbol used by Transport for London on all of their stations, bus stops, promotional material, etc..

London The Unfinished City
Bank station Roundel.

What many don't realise is how the Roundel developed over time.

Brief History

1908: The Roundel began its life as a red, glassy, enamel disc crossed by a blue bar and was called, simply, the Bar and Circle. It was used to make platform names stand out.

1911-12: As there is no set typeface, or guidelines, the Bar and Circle are used imaginatively by various artists. Also, the letters 'U' and 'D' begin to appear on the logo. Then, in 1912, the London General Omnibus Company becomes part of the Underground Group. Thus begins a way of unifying the two company logos.

1913: Frank Pick, a publicity manager, commissions Edward Johnston, a typographer, to design a typeface for the new company.

London The Unfinished City
A Roundel in honour of Frank Pick.

1914: The Metropolitan Railway, in an effort to establish their independence, introduce their own version of the Roundel, which consists of a blue bar across a red diamond.

London The Unfinished City
Watford Metropolitan line station, 2015.

1916-17: With its new typeface the Roundel is registered as a trademark.

1920-33: Several different versions of the Roundel are designed in an effort to unify the symbol for the various parts of the organisation.

1933: A winged logo is chosen, by the newly formed London Passenger Transport Board, but it is short lived. Edward Johnston sets about redesigning the symbol to better reflect the company.

London The Unfinished City
London Cable Car.

1935: The bus stop Roundel is redesigned by Hans Schleger, who keeps the colours but removes the outline.

London The Unfinished City
Harrow on the Hill Roundel (without hyphens).

1938: London Transport establishes guidelines for the precise usage and design of the Roundel, when it issues a 'Standard Signs Manual'.

London The Unfinished City
Harrow-on-the-Hill Roundel (with hyphens).

1947: London Transport is nationalised, but the Roundel stays.

1972: The Roundel is named as the official corporate symbol of London Transport.

London The Unfinished City
London River Services Roundel.

2000: Transport for London is founded to take control of London's transport systems. These include: The Underground, London Rail, Docklands Light Railway, London River Services, Trams, buses, Victoria Coach Station, taxis, London Transport Museum and Street Management

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