London and I don’t have the easiest of relationships. It’s loud, crowded and congested while also diverse, interesting and not a little bit wonderful. As a proud Scot, though, it ain’t my capital and despite being far from convinced about independence, I can get very nationalistic around the Palace of Westminster. I am also autistic and navigating around needs formidable fortitude. By the time I came home this time, after three days in the Smoke, I was majorly out of spoons. It was quite a ride, though, as I will write about here in the next few weeks, beginning with the sheer joy of the London Transport Museum.
The London Transport Museum sits by Covent Garden and before our trip I had never been. London has so many world-beating museums that there is absolutely no hope of me seeing them all in a day or even three days. Lured with the promise of a decent gift shop, plus a great love for all things transport, to Covent Garden we went. The London Transport Museum is on three levels, combining traditional exhibitions and more hands-on stuff, trains, buses and all sorts. As well as a green-man crossing, which I made sure I waited at despite all the traffic being static museum objects. It was very well done, with a wee bit of humour and pitched at a broad audience. As a design nerd, I loved the displays about posters on the Underground, the Tube map and the mighty Johnston typeface. The museum nerd came out in full flow during the excellent Hidden London exhibition all about disused Underground stations. It had been designed to resemble a disused station complete with bare grey walls, captions taped up with gaffer tape and wires going through walls. Hidden London is a very early contender for exhibition of the year. The contents were one thing but the design was something else.
Transport museums are difficult to get right. They bring in enthusiasts and people who don’t know one end of a bus from another. The London Transport Museum is immense. It has a hefty admission fee but there are ways to cut that, not least with a 2 for 1 offer with a rail ticket. It does an excellent job in playing to a broad audience as much as the different parts of me which like design, museums, trains and climbing on buses like a bairn. We stepped into the museum barely an hour after our train arrived at King’s Cross so there’s plenty more to read from the sojourn down south.