HUNDREDS of thousands of customers will be able to see a new poem by comedian, train buff and poet John Hegley, specially written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of London Underground, in train carriages from 21 October.
This verse forms part of the latest collection of six poems with “transport” and “London” themes, which have been chosen to mark this historic year for the world’s oldest Underground.
Hegley reflects on the London Underground with its “gaps, the maps”, “the billiard ball-bottomed straps” he’s held onto, the age of the Underground and the staff “who get me round”.
Spoonerisms of 35 Tube stations offer a fun way to brighten a journey in Spooner goes Under by Brian O’Connor. Passengers can try to work out the various names of stations such as Paint Saul’s, Gradbroke Love or Stamp Head as they travel across London.
People can hear the whole of John Hegley’s Thankyou London Underground poem at a London Transport Museum evening event on 5 November. The evening also features archive Underground film clips and extracts and a screening of the iconic 1936 Southern Railway film ‘The Way to the Sea.’
Another celebration of London Underground that travellers can read on trains is from Summoned by Bells by John Betjeman which tells of two boys who spend their days visiting all the stations on the Tube system.
Two staff choices of poems from earlier displays in the year also on show are Like a Beacon by British-Caribbean poet Grace Nichols and Wordsworth’s famous sonnet On Westminster Bridge. On the Thames, a new poem by Londoner Karen McCarthy Woolf, with a drawing by David Gentleman, who created the platform mural at Charing Cross Tube station, offers a contemporary version of the scene Wordsworth described 200 years ago.
Passengers can pick up free, highly-collectable booklets in ticket halls from today which include this latest collection of Poems on the Underground and all the other London poems that have appeared on the Tube network during this special anniversary year. The cover has a lovely illustration called ‘The Underground’ by the late Hugh Casson.
Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director for London Underground, said: “I am sure our customers will enjoy this latest collection of poems by various poets to mark our 150th anniversary year.
“I am delighted that John Hegley, one of the country’s best-known poets, has written a poem which has been inspired by our evolving Tube system and will be performing the full version of the poem at a London Transport Museum event.
“It is wonderful to see that Poems on the Underground – like the Tube itself – has become firmly established as part of London’s rich cultural life.”
Judith Chernaik, Writer and Founder of Poems on the Underground, said: “I look forward to hearing what passengers think of the poems we’ve chosen for the 150th birthday of the Tube.”
For more information visit http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/events/events-calendar#poems