Topical Press

Date Established:
1903
Date Trading Ceased:
1957
Topical Press

During the first half of the 20th century, London Transport and its predecessors employed Topical Press to take photographs of the company's daily routine. The Topical Press Agency took almost a third, or 65,000, of the black and white photographs in the London's Transport Museum collection.

Many of the photographs record the construction of stations and the developing transport infrastructure. Topical Press was commissioned to take these when a station was to be remodelled or a new bus route was being considered.

Images also show staff relaxing in canteens after their shifts or enjoying during one of the many staff sports days. The public are also shown, for example riding on horse buses or sitting in tube carriages. Some of the street scenes, especially from the early years, show a wealth of incidental social historic detail.

Country scenes also feature largely in the collection. Topical Press documented areas of London that were soon to change with the advent of the new bus and tram routes and Underground system. The agency also took photographs of places Londoners could enjoy in their leisure time. These photos were often used to advertise off-peak services.

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