The London Underground: A Diagrammatic History
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The colour drawings have been produced to try to bring some life to these essential, ubiquitous and neglected contributors to London’s bus infrastructure. They are generally arranged in order of the introduction of each style of post and, where possible, show which style of flag was fitted at the time, though this runs into all sorts of unavoidable problems. As later designs of post were introduced, it was common for earlier flags to be fitted; later designs of flag were also fitted to earlier posts until the widespread replacement by aluminium posts from the late 1990s.

It is known that the Birmingham Guild posts were dark green in their later years, though there is doubt what colour they were painted when new, and indeed subsequently. Rather than introduce some new myths, I have shown them as dark green throughout. Those that survived into the London Buses era were painted black. As far as I am aware, only two survive in this condition, still in daily use.

Uncertainty surrounds some visual aspects of the pre-1936 posts and flags. It is known that the concrete posts were painted, but not what colour(s) nor for how long. They were painted black during the blackout of wartime, with sections picked out, probably in white.


Not all post or flag varieties have been depicted, only those where I have found reliable enough images and/or information. The combinations of accessories, such as Fare Stage plates, E-plates, Q-plates, lettered identity disks and timetable cases, make it impossible to depict them all.

information cases of varying sizes, styles and heights from the ground, tended to be strapped to the earlier posts. As the photographic record cannot be comprehensive I felt it would be misleading to include these and so they have been omitted, unless I have found reliable source material.

It should be noted that this study has been confined to flags fitted to dedicated posts. In reality flags were also often fixed to lampposts, traction standards and the like. Though the flags were the same, there are too many other types of post to assess, let alone illustrate.

Most of the drawings are based on black & white photographs and references accompany them. Please read the notes with each one.

Whilst every care and attention to detail has been paid, photographing and measuring surviving examples where possible, none of the detail in these drawings should be regarded as definitive.

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