London Underground: Roundel segments

Of course this is another completely useless post. Useless is good.

Suppose you’re given the task to integrate an ‘UNDERGROUND’ roundel into the front of a tube station. Will you frame the roundel? If so, then what exactly will you frame? How many segments will your roundel consist of in the end?

I came across this topic when standing outside Park Royal station. The ‘UNDERGROUND’ roundels that are part of the building consist of seventeen segments. That may be the highest number of segments of any ‘UNDERGROUND’ roundel.

Let’s work our way up from three segments to seventeen.

Three segments

Green Park station (Piccadilly entrance), picture taken in 2017.

This is an example of very old framing material (1934 or older) and changing content. Namely the text on the bar has seen several changes:

  • 1934: UndergrounD with ribbons (LTM 1998/58827), using the whole width of the bar, different from today’s design.
  • 1952: LONDON TRANSPORT (LTM 1998/87301).
  • 1964: UndergrounD without ribbons (LTM 1998/87299); still in place in 2001 (LTM 2001/33565), and probably still in place in 2008 (Google Street View).
  • 2012: same as today (Google Street View).

Four segments

Wanstead station, 2017

Several of these roundels are part of the station building:

The bar of these roundels is split in two. It looks like someone wanted to split the word Underground in two: UNDER // GROUND. But that’s not the reason why the bar is split: The framing material is much older, and when the station was opened the text on the bar consisted of the two separate words LONDON // TRANSPORT, and that explains the split framing (see LTM 1998/90053, picture taken in 1950). Here’s a digital reconstruction of the original roundel:

Whenever you see a roundel with a bar split in two, and a text reading UNDER // GROUND, it is very likely that the text originally read LONDON // TRANSPORT.

Five segments

East Finchley station, 2017.

Same here: This roundel hasn’t always looked like that. In 2007 the text read UNDERGROUND (same size, no ribbons) (Flickr, Chris Hartford).

Northfields station, 2017.

The original bar looked similar, but it was designed with more care (see LTM 1998/64553, 1933). Over the years the text changed to LONDON TRANSPORT (LTM 1998/64544, 1956), to UNDERGROUND (same size, no ribbons; Wikimedia, Ben Brooksbank, 1978). For some time the bar was even empty, plain blue (LTM 2001/33538, 2001).

Six segments

White City station, 2015. (Six segments; two void counters not counted.)

Seven segments

Clapham South station, 2017.

What’s worth noting here is that not only the large letters are split off (U D), but four letters (Un nD). The framing looked like that from the start (LTM 1998/77975, 1926). For some time the bar was empty (e.g. LTM 2001/16393, 1982).

Eight segments

Brixton station, 2017.

A huge 1985 ‘UNDERGROUND’ roundel, installed in 2004. There are no frames. The roundel is applied to eight sheets of glass. Therefore it consists of eight parts, but it’s really quite different from the other roundels shown in this post.

Holborn station, 2017.

Today’s framing material was probably present in 1954 when the text read LONDON TRANSPORT (LTM 1998/87415).

In 1949 the framing material and segmentation were different. The text read ‘UndergrounD’, with ribbons (LTM 1998/58837).

Ten segments

Rayners lane station, 2017.

For some more information about this roundel go here.

Seventeen segments

Park Royal station, 2017.

Most roundels mentioned in this post still feature the original framing material. This one doesn’t. The original roundel was split up in several parts, but in a different way. Maybe the roundel consisted of a dozen segments back then (see LTM 1998/60425, 1936 and LTM 1998/87532, 1957). For some time the bar was empty, and for many years the text read ‘UndergrounD’ without ribbons (LTM 2002/1259, 2001).




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