At the beginning of the twentieth century London's transport system was comprised of numerous independent companies vying with each other for the commuting needs of the capital's burgeoning population. As the process of amalgamation gathered momentum there was a need to popularise public transport in the minds of Londoners and this map, drawn by Macdonald Gill and first published in 1914, helped to achieve that. Gill decided against a directional map such as the practical coloured one we are familiar with today believing that incidental details and amusing distractions were what was required to keep the passenger's attention just in case the train was delayed and also to suggest journeys that might be taken for amusement and recreation at weekends. Gill was the perfect artist for the task and his humour starts with the title he gave it. Tube stations are depicted as small temples encouraging a belief that this was indeed a system worthy of acclaim. Alongside them we find pictorial anecdotes, cartoon figures depicting historical events and everywhere Max Gill's hilarious take on life incorporating numerous alternative meanings for the names of the capital's best known landmarks.
An exponent of the arts and crafts movement, Gill produced a map that is brightly coloured and exquisitely executed. It transports us to a fairy land that we all know well and its purpose is simply the pursuit of fun. So popular did these posters become that they were soon offered for sale in a smaller size but, until now, they have been unavailable for decades. Now re-issued, it will appeal to anyone with a passion for London, its history, its transport and, of course, its humour.show more