Stories Of London Life Are Celebrated In London Transport Museum’s New Illustration Exhibition

This is a sponsored article on behalf of London Transport Museum.

London Stories – Julia Allum

From fantastical urban myths to more quotidian encounters, London‘s cultural heritage is a rich tapestry of tales. Come face to face with the most compelling stories about the capital — both real and imagined — in London Transport Museum’s stunning new poster exhibition.

The museum teamed up with the Association of Illustrators to challenge illustrators around the world to reproduce a London story of their choice, be it well-known or obscure, contemporary or buried deep in history. From the 1,500+ illustrations that were submitted in the Poster Prize For Illustration 2019: London Stories competition, an independent panel of judges chose 100 of the best to showcase.

Shortlisted entries include a depiction of Cross Bones Graveyard — an infamous post-medieval burial ground in Southwark — as well as a ghost bus, and the baffling tale of a rabbit travelling alone on the tube. You’ve got until 14 July to see all of them for yourself at London Transport Museum, and exhibition entry is included in museum admission. Remember to hold on to your ticket when you visit, as it’ll give you unlimited entry to the Museum for a whole year. That means you’ll be able to check out the Museum’s next major exhibition, Hidden London at no extra cost when it opens later in 2019. Talk about bang for your buck!

While all the entries are brilliant, there can only be one overall winner and you don’t have to wait until your visit for a peek at the cream of the crop. So, without further ado, the recipient of this year’s gold prize is

London is the Place for Me – Eliza Southwood

Eliza Southwood, for London is the Place for Me.

This architect-turned-illustrator’s winning screen print depicts the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush’s arrival at Tilbury Docks, bringing the first large group of postwar immigrants from the West Indies to the UK. The piece is named after a song which Windrush passenger Lord Kitchener, the master of Calypso, sung as the boat docked. In the wake of the Windrush scandal, it’s a poignant tribute to the diversity of modern London.

The Cokeney – Anna Steinberg

Now on to the runners up. Anna Steinberg scooped the Silver Prize for ink and digital illustration, The Cokeney. Ever wondered how people from London‘s East End came to be known as cockneys? Steinberg’s illustration gives you a clue. The term derives from”Cokeney”, a 14th century word meaning “Cock’s Egg” — i.e. a defective one. Country folk of yore used it to disparagingly refer to town dwellers, who they saw as weak or affected. How rude.  

The Faceless Woman – Mobb

The bronze winner is the rather ominously-titled The Faceless Woman, by self-taught illustrator, Mobb. Legend has it that Becontree tube station is haunted by a faceless woman dressed in white, and the apparition has allegedly been spotted by several station staff members.

Reckon the judges made the right call? Go to the exhibition and vote for your favourite illustration — the most popular will be permanently added to the museum’s collection.  

To celebrate the exhibition, London Transport Museum is also running a series of talks that explore intriguing facets of London life, delivered by renowned cultural commentators.  Next month, join social historians Travis Elborough and Joe Kerr on a journey that celebrates the capital’s iconic buses and their importance to every day Londoners. Then, in April, BBC broadcaster and author Robert Elms s his musings on the shapeshifting nature of the city. Click here to book.

The Poster Prize For Illustration 2019: London Stories at London Transport Museum, until 14 July 2019. Exhibition entry is included with general museum admission — advance tickets can be purchased here.