Transport for London, Commemorative Plaques

Lettercutting a World Famous Typeface

In 2014 London Stone Conservation was appointed to design and handcarve a series of commemorative plaques for Transport for London, situated at stations throughout the capital.

The plaques were commissioned to mark tragic events in the history of London’s train and underground network. Memorials were to be placed at Moorgate and Stratford stations in remembrance of the loss of life in the train collisions of 1975 and 1953 respectively. Plaques were also to be installed at Balham, Bank and Sloane Square underground stations in memory of the people killed at those locations during the Blitz. The underground stations were used as places of shelter and refuge during the World War II air raids.

The layout and wording of the plaques were designed with careful consideration of the victims and their families, client brief and their site-specific location. The Edward Johnston sans-serif typeface, designed for the London Underground in 1913, was to be used for the lettering. The inscriptions were carefully handcarved by our in-house lettercutters in blue grey Welsh slate and the lettering painted off white, to give good contrast in low light and resemble the aesthetic of freshly cut letters. The logistics of delivery and installation of each panel posed a distinctive challenge and required the design of a bespoke fixing system. The fixing was often carried out during engineering hours, over multiple nights, to preclude any disruption to passengers and underground staff.