DSC 0383fi 800x425 - A look at some old tube roundels

A look at some old tube roundels

Two days ago Geoff Tech had a video about old tube roundels plus an old Met timetable at Euston Square (this timetable has been visible for months by the way, along with a number of old posters exposed too. I don’t know why the station’s in a strange limbo state, its been months like this. They could have simply left things until actual refurbishment work began.

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Metropolitan Line enamel roundel at Euston Square

Whatever delays are occurring at Euston Square will no doubt cause people to say to TfL ‘look here, it would be a really nice station if you cleaned it up and restored all these old features instead of giving it a more modern look.’

As Geoff says, Euston Square tube has a unique corporate design that was once widespread across the tube system, some of which dates back to probably the 1970s or even earlier. Its got even older stuff too. The tiling on the station’s stairways and corridors is from the 1940s! Holland Park is another well known example as many commentators pointed out. Lancaster Gate too had the old style until about 2014.

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Circle Line enamel roundel at Euston Square

Some may wonder why the Hammersmith and City’s roundels/line colour are not to be seen at Euston Square. Its because the Hammersmith & City used to be part of the Metropolitan Line and it wasn’t until 1990 that it became a separate entity.

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Holland Park – the panels are of a different type to Euston Square and Cannon Street – a flush fit rather than an interlock.

The examples at Euston Square and Holland Park look really nice. Let’s face it, people want stations that look decent, they don’t necessarily have to have all the latest, cracked up, modern decor, so one can essentially assume TfL’s been wasting money in its desire to completely refurbish and modernise right across the network. Quite a few of the stations were fine to begin with and selective updating of signs, maps, would have been perhaps a better use of resources.

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Close up of one of the Holland Park examples. They’re clearly more of an economy type, printed flat rather than standing somewhat above the flat surface. I’m not sure these are enamel.

Canon Street was a surprise. A number of people pointed out this anomaly on the Geoff Tech video comments. To be honest I didn’t know about these! Its just one bit consisting of three panels right by the end of the platforms and are not very noticeable.  The entire station has been remodelled in the latest tube corporate identity and the only reason this bit exists at Canon Street is because it also meant removing a CCTV camera. Examination shows most of the fixings were removed before someone changed their minds!

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The Cannon Street examples viewed from the public area of the westbound platform. The camera’s proximity is obvious

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Cannon Street – District Line roundel as seen from the train

Although the comments on Geoff tech’s video were saying look at the Cannon Street roundels from across the opposite side of the tracks (eg from the eastbound platform) I found the best way to see these close up is to travel by the front doors of a westbound train. The train draws up with these doors locked out of use but at the same time allows a grandstand view of the roundels.

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Cannon Street – Circle Line roundel seen through the train windows. Note the Phillips screw used to refix the panel!

Its not easy to remove these panels individually, especially those at Cannon Street and Euston Square. I have one in my possession which I bought from the Old Oak open day in the early 1990s and its clear they interlock. The one I have no-one wanted because it had been considerably damaged. It was dirt cheap. Contractors simply dont have the time to remove these carefully and use powerful tools to rip them out. I don’t think the contractors at Cannon Street could be arsed to faff about especially with this CCTV camera to contend with. Fortunately some could be removed quite easily without any real damage and I am aware some simply fitted flush, these were even better.

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My own example showing the interlocking tongue. This bit is ironically the only undamaged part of the panel

Here’s a quick look at some of the other interesting tube roundels of old. These haven’t got the train line written on them nevertheless there are still some classic examples to be seen.

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Gants Hill station roundel and tiled roundels

In the same manner as Gants Hill several others are still adorned with rows of plain roundels along the platform length. This is an older style of decor dating from the 1930s and 40s. The list of stations includes Redbridge, Wanstead, Bethnal Green, St John’s Wood and Swiss Cottage.

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Gants Hill’s roundel clock. Bethnal Green and one or two other stations have similar examples

Whilst these stations look quite similar it comes as a surprise to find they have some big variations. The colour banding for example differs between all these stations. Gants Hill has gold, Redbridge’s blue, St John’s Wood features blue and Swiss Cottage has a light green.

St John’s Wood has an earlier variant of tiled roundel which is much nicer. The others (except Gants Hill) have a later variant which is not so elaborate. I do know the more expensive variant were made by Carter’s of Poole. I imagine the cheaper types were also from Carter’s although I have no definite reference.

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Redbridge station with its tiled roundels along the top lintel

Both Swiss Cottage and St John’s Wood have these delightful arrows passing through a roundel. This was once a very popular styling from the 1930s seen at most stations. Only a handful still have these arrows, including Aldgate and Rayner’s Lane.

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Despite the main station name roundels and the trackside ones at St John’s Wood looking similar there are differences. Apart from the latter having a rare white edging, there are other subtle differences. Can you spot them?

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The St John’s Wood (also Swiss Cottage has these) roundels with white bordering

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The more elaborate type of tiled roundel as seen at St John’s Wood and Gant’s Hill

In mentioning St John’s Wood and Swiss Cottage stations, they too share characteristics with Aldgate East, including decorated tiles which I have discussed in the past. See this post. These stations have a rare type of roundel bordered with white. There was once a more common type with dotted lines around the edges for example those that can still be seen at Leicester Square, Temple and Paddington. Those on the Jubilee have solid white lines and are certainly the only examples.

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Swiss Cottage. The large station roundel is of the more normal type (with variations.) ‘Jubilee Line’ was added in 1979. I imagine these had ‘Bakerloo Line’ prior to 1979.

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Vintage St James’s Park roundel – without the ‘S’

There are other vintage examples across the system. Those replicas at Moorgate (how much longer will these last?) The one solitary sign at St James’s Park. The solids at Covent Garden and Caledonian Road. The lovely signs at North Ealing and so on.

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Solid roundel at Covent Garden

Some of my favourites happen to be those between Clapham South and South Wimbledon. They’re so different from the rest of the system. The best one down this end of the Northern Line is the solitary one at South Wimbledon. I remember the days when every sign here announced Merton.

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Once upon a time every roundel at South Wimbledon proclaimed Merton. Just one example left

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