Museum Monday: The London Transport Museum

Transit Tuesday is moving on in on Museum Monday.

London Transport Museum. Old Metropolitan Railway Car. Photo: RL Fifield 2010.

If I didn’t live in New York City, I would live in London. It feels like home. And for fans of transit, the London Transport Museum is an excellent time. In the city that invented modern urban transit, a plethora of equipment, signage, photos, and groovy wax mannequins in the old flower market building in Covent Garden just has to be good.

In the suburban automobile era, it’s hard for people to remember why transit was so important. Even those who remember from school that transit allowed city dwellers to move away from where they worked, the fine points are often forgotten. The thick filth of horses and humans mixed with refuse in the streets. Water sources contaminated by people living in close proximity to slaughterhouses, fish markets, and each other. City streets paralyzed with people struggling to push forward from Point A to Point B. Diseases frolicking easily among people living in close quarters.

RL Fifield 2010.

The cavernous market building is perfect for the LTM’s collection of omnibuses, railway cars, buses, and control equipment.  I basically tuned out when the era of the combustion engine commenced. Red double decker London buses may look cool, but they stink, and mostly sit still in traffic.

Check out the LTM’s online collections as well. Their posters are searchable by date, theme, artist, and color. There is also an online museum to visit, if London feels far away.

And who wouldn’t love this Arthur Watts espresso set as a souvenir?