Asking people to move down inside the carriage is nothing new. Adverts to this effect have been plastered over the London Underground network since 1918:
In the first half of the 20th century — a time when, evidently, it was illegal not to wear a hat — the phrase was ‘pass down the car’. Here’s an ad from 1920, featuring a couple of right selfish wazzocks, performing a bookending special:
This next ad — wonderfully stylised — is from 1923. The full stop after ‘please’ suggests that, by now, London Underground was getting antsy, and beginning to pipette in a drop or two of passive aggressiveness.
In 1932, they resorted to bringing the roundel to life. Some (reasonably godawful) poetry is employed, with ‘PLEASE PASS RIGHT DOWN INSIDE THE CAR’ thumped out in caps. Watching these ads progress through the years is like listening to a tube driver become increasingly agitated over the Tannoy.
By 1947, Britain may have won the second world war, but the fight to get passengers to ‘PLEASE pass down inside the (bloody) car’ was still raging on. Lashings of humour and colour are added to this beautiful effort… which apparently not a single Londoner took heed of.
Fast forward to 2016, and cartoons were still being used to (try to) get the message across. This time, the services of Little Miss Stubborn were called upon — and she gave a spot-on impression of about 500 different people we’ve run into on the tube.
One year on, in 2017, and the cartoons are swapped out for live action Londoners — all of them flashing a smile that says ‘don’t be a dick, mate’. All that is, except the hipster who’s dozed off in the background.
He is, of course, the artist’s personification of London Transport — tired to tears of politely asking the same question for an entire bloody century.
Last Updated 13 November 2017