My family used to travel down from Scotland to have a weekend in London, often once a year, when I was a child. We did all the usual touristy things and sometimes met up with friends. I’ve got lots of great memories of those trips and it’s often not the things you think I should remember. One of my favourite memories is not of Madame Tussauds or The Planetarium themselves, but actually a London Transport leaflet that I got on the Tube on the way to The Planetarium. I bet my parents are delighted to hear that. It’s like when a child prefers playing with the box that a toy came in at Christmas, rather than the actual toy itself.

I did make interesting notes about the Planetarium on the leaflet and that meant I had to keep it once I got back home, rather than just throw the leaflet in the bin as normally happens with ephemera items like that. The memorable part of this one was the picture on the front. There was a photograph of a really cool statue or sculpture that depicted what was essentially a caricature of London. I remember it had things like a Tube carriage, a double decker bus, Nelson’s column, Big Ben, St Paul’s etc, and it was all squashed into a round base, with passengers hanging off the bus waving etc. It was just one of those really cool pictures that sticks in your brain. It has been in my brain for about 30 years and I’ve never been able to track it down in recent years. Until now. I couldn’t find it online at all on Google images but I did manage to find one of the leaflets on eBay and purchased it. It was only about £1.90. Crazy the sort of stuff you find on eBay isn’t it? Here it is.

Now, I don’t think this leaflet is the exact one that I had. It doesn’t generate a full nostalgia alert with me in terms of the overall design but the picture on the front is definitely the right one. I think my leaflet was larger though, or better printed, because the photo on this one is slightly blurry or low quality. This one is from 1983 and I think my one is probably from around 1986 or 87. I’ve since found another instance of it online on an Etsy item and it says it’s from 1987/8. So London Transport obviously got their money’s worth out of it (and quite right so) and it’s interesting to see that it was made as early as 1983.

I’m really hoping I can get another, more high resolution, version of the picture. It’s such a great image and one that hugely brings back my childhood to me the second I look at it (a bit like my Lamborghini Countach poster). I’d also love to know more about the actual sculpture itself and the artist who made it. I wonder how big it was and what it’s made of. I also always wondered how difficult it was making the Tube train and the bus hollow and place the people inside them. I wonder where the sculpture is today! I hope it’s enjoying being looked at and admired and not just stuck up in someone’s loft.

If anyone knows anything else about this sculpture then please do let me know. I’m contacting Transport for London to see if anyone there knows. Fingers crossed I can get some more info about this classic piece of London history.