London – Islington (Borough of) – Edward Johnston Memorial at Farringdon Station

Just in case anyone thinks I’ve started travelling again, these are photos from a very quiet Farringdon underground station last month. And this is the sort of slightly niche memorial that I like, a quite glorious addition to what would otherwise be a sterile corridor area. It’s also perhaps not really apparent what it is at first, I like a bit of depth to things such as this.

The memorial was unveiled in 2019 and was designed by Fraser Muggeridge and it honours the work of Edward Johnston (1872-1944). Johnston was commissioned by Frank Pick to design a new typeface for the London Underground and it started to appear across the network in 1916. The London Underground roundel concept wasn’t designed by Johnston, but he was responsible for its design evolution and how it appears today. The London Transport Museum has more information about the roundel and Johnston’s influence on it.

The typeface was initially planned to just be used on London Underground posters, but it was seen to be clean and tidy, so its use was extended to nearly all signage. This memorial has been designed to look like the printing blocks that were once used, hence why it looks back to front.

As an aside, this memorial was unveiled by Sir Peter Hendy, someone who has a long interest in the fabric and heritage of transport in London. I remember when I was at an underground station in 2013 (I’ve forgotten which) where there was an issue where everyone needed to leave. I sought help from a staff member, and by chance I managed to get assistance from Hendy who was there offering customer service help. He knew exactly what buses I needed to get and had a formidable knowledge of the network, although I suppose that’s inevitable given that his career was spent in buses and he was heading TFL. Anyway, because I like to report excellent customer service to companies, I filled in the TFL customer service feedback form and I got an template e-mail back the next day that my positive comments had been forwarded onto the staff member……