The A to Z of London – Open Weekend at London Transport Museum’s Depot


The A to Z of London

Open Weekend at London Transport Museum’s Depot, West London

11:00 to 17:00 on 23 and 24 April 2016




A rare opportunity to see inside London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton, West London, will take place on 23 and 24 April 2016. Design enthusiasts and family visitors to the Museum’s The A to Z of London Open Weekend will have the chance to look around this working Museum Depot, which holds over 320,000 artefacts from London’s transport history and is usually closed to the public. The event will celebrate the 100 year anniversary of London’s iconic Johnston typeface, created by calligrapher Edward Johnston, with themed workshops, tours, talks and family fun.

The iconic Johnston typeface, which is still used today across the London transport network in an adapted form, turns 100 in 2016. At The A to Z of London Open Weekend visitors can:

  • Find out more about Edward Johnston, the ‘father of modern calligraphy’, with a guided tour
  • See displays exploring how Johnston’s font has been adapted and altered over a century
  • Watch a screening of the film-documentary Helvetica (2007) which explores the people behind the fonts we read every day (on Sunday 24 April only)
  • View the original wooden printing blocks designed and carved by Johnston 100 years ago
  • See the Big Steam in action: The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft has teamed up with Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre to transform an antique steam roller into a steam press which artists will use to create new works of art
  • Drop-in on a calligraphy demonstration
  • Listen to a talk from the author of The Golden Thread – the Story of Writing, Ewan Clayton, about fonts from history (on Saturday 23 April only)
  • Join a calligraphy workshop and produce your own design using unusual, creative methods
  • Get your hands on London’s transport history and learn how the original Johnston printing blocks were made in drop-in object handling sessions for adults and children
  • Hear a talk from London Transport Museum curator and Edward Johnston expert Marilyn Greene, where she will explain why his work is so important (on Saturday 23 April only)
  • See the Hooksmith letterpress in action with a demonstration using Johnston’s original printing blocks, and take home a souvenir created in the Johnston style
  • Peruse the London Transport Museum Depot Shop and enjoy 10% off our new and exclusive Johnston inspired product range
  • Take a tour of the depot – perfect for transport and design enthusiasts of all ages
  • Jump on a bouncy bus and go for a ride on a miniature railway
  • Visit the family zone to create a woodblock stamp to keep and use to create fun lettering artwork, have fun in the soft play zone or join an object handling session for kids
  • Miniature Models: Explore the Museum’s collection of scale models of underground stations and check out models made by our invited guests, with some creations in Lego and Bayko
  • Enjoy some of London’s finest street food and refreshments served out of classic vehicles, including gourmet burgers served from a VW Campervan and delicious hot dogs straight from a 1966 Ford Bedford. There will also vintage milk float serving ice cream and waffles


The Museum Depot, which is only open occasionally to the public, is a vault of the capital’s transport history which houses a range of objects including posters, vehicles, maps, signs and models. Highlights include:

  • The largest collection of London transport signage in the world, which includes samples spanning over 150 years and from bygone eras such as signs for Waiting Rooms and Station Toilets, with examples of different font prototypes, layouts and design styles on display.
  • The Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ carriage, the only surviving example of a stock built by Craven Brothers of Sheffield in 1892 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The carriage was restored by London Transport Museum in 2013 and features a beautiful wooden livery with gold leaf lettering.
  • The last surviving Waterloo and City Tube car, which carried passengers on the line for over fifty years, from 1940 to 1993, and still features adverts from the era. A project to restore the train to its original livery is currently underway, and visitors will see it in its almost-finished form.
  • Some of the oldest buses in the Museum’s collection on display, including the fully restored B-Type bus. Introduced in 1911, the B-Type was the first mass produced motorbus in the world and in 1912, twenty B-Types were built each week, and by 1920 they had replaced all horse buses in London.


To buy tickets for The A to Z of London Museum Depot Open Weekend go to: Tickets cost £10 for adults and £8 for concessions. Children and young people aged 17 and under go free (under 12s must be accompanied by an adult).