All The Tube Moquette Patterns: Bitchily Critiqued

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 86 months ago

Last Updated 23 March 2017

All The Tube Moquette Patterns: Bitchily Critiqued

Moquette: we sit on it, we largely ignore it. Come to think of it, do you know which moquette designs go with which lines? Fear not: we've gone to the trouble of singling out every design for each line*, and reviewed them as if we know what we're talking about.

Northern line: Barman

Photo: Kris Wood

Seriously, you think to yourself, this MUST be a Magic Eye. Surely if you squint long enough, then the 3D face of Harry Beck or Frank Pick eventually pops out of the seat? So far, no luck, but you should be able to make out four London landmarks (more of which soon) woven into the fabric.

We admit, the previous Northern line moquette was more fitting; it was blacker, more brooding, and insidiously depressing, which is why we're only giving Barman ★★★★☆

Photo: chutney bannister

Central line: Barman

Photo: LFaurePhotos

Oh, hello again, Barman. That's right, the official pattern for the Central line is Barman too. Though it's only been with us since 2010, Wallace's Sewell's vivid design has probably burned into your retinas, so you see it when you close your eyes each night.

Jubilee line: Barman

You slutty Barman, you. It's a popular moquette, alright. While we're on the subject, we once made a video about the four London landmarks incorporated into the design (three are easy, one's a toughie):

Bakerloo line: Barman Recoloured

Photo: LFaurePhotos

Well. It is Barman. And it has been recoloured. So we can't fault TfL on the logic of this name. While you could accuse someone somewhere of laziness, we actually like Barman Recoloured — it's like when they do a limited edition white chocolate Mars bar. Or an album by the Strokes. Different but the same. It's ★★★★☆ from us.

By the way, it was high time the Bakerloo line got fresh seats, seeing as the old ones were probably used by the Edwardians:

Photo: Matt Brown

Victoria line: no name

Photo: Nick Richards

Well la de dah — the Victoria appears to be the only tube line proper to have its own moquette pattern. And indeed, there is something regal about the Vs that form diamond shapes, studded with further ruby diamonds. What's the pattern called? Monarch? Vicky? Her Maj? Er, no it's called 'no name.'

Image: TfL

Without wanting to sound weird, we also appreciate the tightness of this particular moquette — it doesn't have that flabbiness almost all other moquettes do. Recently we saw some moquette that was so flabby, the wind was getting up inside it, causing it to 'breath' in and out. OK, this is sounding weird now. Anyway, well done Victoria line — solid moquette game. ★★★★☆

Piccadilly line: no name

Why Piccadilly, you wily old line, you. While many other lines are, er, toeing the line, and, coming out with all these smart new designs, you're getting away with retro murder. The moquette we've spotted on the Piccadilly line (above) looks like a 12 year old boy's bedroom curtains circa 1995. Or otherwise, the design of a shirt Jazzy Jeff would think twice about wearing.

Interestingly, the official Piccadilly line moquette, as decreed by TfL, is this little number (again, it has no name):

Photo: TfL

It looks a lot like the former Bakerloo line moquette, and therefore we wonder if it is much longer for this world. Though we can't say we're head over heels with either design, we're going to give them ★★★☆☆  for sheer clinging-on audacity.

District line: no name

Photo: Matt Brown

There is something restrained about the smart little multicoloured squares on the District line moquette. The design's comely enough, but lacking the kind of pizzazz that gets you properly excited. Like Belgium. ★★★☆☆

Circle line: no name

Photo: Matt Brown

Well OK, we guess there is a lot of crossover between the District and Circle lines. But how can you honestly have a Circle line moquette with no circles on it? Drop a star for lack of imagination. ★★☆☆☆

Hammersmith & City line: no name

Photo: Matt Brown

Well OK, we guess there is a lot of crossover between the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. But drop a star for lack of imagination. ★☆☆☆☆

Metropolitan line: no name

Photo: Matt Brown

Well OK, we guess there is a lot of crossover between the Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. But drop a star for lack of imagination. ☆☆☆☆☆

Oh, HANG on. The colours of the moquette... they're the colours of the... OH. Thrifty AND clever, TfL. We're going to crank you back up to ★★★☆☆

Waterloo & City: no name

Image: TfL

The Waterloo & City line's moquette looks like the kind of smart/semi-jokey socks a businessman might wear to the office on a Friday. This tube line has always been an outsider, and this moquette seems to reflect that. Just like the Drain, sometimes it works for us, sometimes it doesn't. ★★★☆☆

Oh, and look out, Waterloo & City line — we have photo evidence that Barman is looking to worm in on your territory:

Photo: Mike Murphy

DLR: no name

Photo: mcsonygoogle

We always think of the DLR as a kind of cousin to the Waterloo & City line — it's pale blue, packed with City types and we use it about three times a year. Unfortunately, its moquette pattern is simply not playing ball here. The dated wave-like motif quite frankly reminds us of the upholstery on a SeaFrance ferry. ★★☆☆☆

Overground: no name

Photo: Geofftech.co.uk

We cannot look at this moquette pattern without thinking 'chocolate orange hipster'. This Tetris-esque pattern — another Wallace Sewell design — can now be seen on everything from cushions to trainers. Have a look around you; someone is probably drinking from an Overground moquette mug, or scooping dog excrement into an Overground moquette poop bag.

In a short space of time, this pepped up 1970s throwback has become more iconic than Barman. And if you can't be doing with chocolate oranges or hipsters or the 1970s, then more fool you. ★★★★★

TfL Rail: no name

Image: TfL

From accounts we've heard by those who actually use TfL Rail, you can spend many commuting hours gazing into this moquette while your train doesn't move. Like the Overground moquette, we like how this references the past. But that colour scheme? Did your grandmother pick it out after too many sherries?  ★★☆☆☆

Trams: look, none of these patterns have names, OK

Image: TfL

Even London's trams can't escape our keen eye for moquette (buses can, we might do that in another article if anyone reads this one). And whoever signed the commission for this will be buoyed to know that it's a thumbs up from our moquette experts.

While the white dots remind us of TV snow you used to get on old sets, the red and green has the faint jingle of Christmas about it. And what's this... a dollop of futuristic grey? A merry futuristic Christmas, one and all. Tram fine job. ★★★★☆

Imaginary line: Londonist

If Londonist did tubes lines, they'd probably do the best, etc. When we had five minutes, we rattled off our own moquette design. Move over, Wallace Sewell. (If you're reading, TfL, our rates are very reasonable.)

*We're aware that certain tube stock has variations on the moquette designs to those mentioned above. What we're reviewing here comes from TfL's official moquette list, and designs we've spotted ourselves. Feel free to tell us what you've seen, in the comments.