A Dip Into The LTM Film Collection


The London Transport Museum have put a small selection of their film collection online. In their own words:

These initial films offer a selection of time periods covering 1910 to 1970, including the classic British Transport Films ‘All that mighty heart’, along with a lesser-known gem ‘Our Canteens’

Unfortunately it appears that they aren’t allowing them to be embedded on external websites at the moment, so below you’ll find direct links to each, along with their summaries. Frankly, they’re all worth a look in their own way.

All That Mighty Heart (1962)

A poetic ‘day in the life’ of London as seen by London Transport. BBC radio programmes mark the time of day. Londoners user public transport to commute, shop and for leisure pursuits. London Transport staff are also shown. Beneath the city, men work on the construction of the new Victoria line. This was the last film shot by Oscar-winning David Watkin for British Transport Films, before working on feature films and commercials.

A Trip On the Metropolitan Railway (1910)

A journey from Baker Street into Metro-Land and beyond into Aylesbury, with a side trip to Uxbridge. Starting with busy platform views and the departure of the electric service north, we are taken first through the dark cut-and-cover tunnels and stations typical of the early underground, then above ground at Finchley Road and out into the country. Temporary signs have been placed to identify each station as it passes.

LGOC Travelogue: Surrey (1923)

A travelogue type film showing the old world charms of rural Surrey that could be reached from town by LGOC bus services in the 1920s. Produced to advertise the Underground Group’s ‘London’s County’ guide books and entice Londoners into the open air, including Kingston, Reigate, Thames Ditton and Guildford and many picturesque and historic smaller towns and villages along the way.

Piccadilly Line Extension (1932)

This material was shot on the Piccadilly line between 1930 and 1932, and was shown in edited form at an exhibition at Charing Cross Underground station, about the extension of the line north from Finsbury Park. The unedited footage presented here also includes footage from the western extension that opened later in the year.

Our Canteens (1951)

A film documenting the work of London Transport (LT) canteens, which was used as a training aid for London Transport trainee catering staff. All aspects of the canteen service are shown, from the LT Food Production Centre at Croydon, to the Baker Street Training Centre.

LT canteens were both large and small, some modern and others old fashioned. We join a new member of staff on her first day and learn how staff were trained how to deal with difficult customers.

Automatic Fare Collection and You (1969)

A film combining animation with live action, to guide the commuter through the new Automatic Fare Collection ticket gates installed on the Victoria line and elsewhere. Passenger are shown the correct way to buy a ticket and are given advice on which gate to use when carrying luggage. Shot at Hammersmith Underground station.

London On The Move, 1970

London Transport’s job is to help keep London on the move. London needs people moving about freely to be an efficient and prosperous metropolis. It uses contemporary technology such as CCTV, automatic ticket barriers, electronic bus scanners as well as skilled staff to do this.

The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953)

London bids an emotional farewell to its last trams in 1952. The film, completed in ‘Last Tram Week,’ takes you through the streets of South London and along the Embankment with two cokneys, remembering a song about trams they sang in the music halls fifty years before. Finally, 20,000 Londoners cheer and sing their goodbyes to the trams for the final journey into New Cross depot.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.