5 Things You Didn't Know About The TfL Roundel

5 Things You Didn't Know About The TfL Roundel

1. The location of the first roundel

These days you can't turn a corner in London without seeing a roundel on a tube station or bus stop, but there was a time when London was a roundel-free city. That era came to an end in 1908, when the first roundel on the transport network was installed at St James's Park station.

2. The biggest roundel on the tube network

Brixton tube station - biggest roundel on tube network

... is widely believed to be the one on the window at the entrance to Brixton station. We haven't got our tape measure out to check, but Tim Dunn suggests the brick ones at Hillingdon may be bigger, but given that they're not in the traditional roundel colours, we're discounting them.

3. It comes in many colours

Varieties of TfL roundels

The blue and red roundel of the London Underground is the one most people know best, but at least eight different official coloured versions of the roundel exist today, not counting the old designs which are left over on the network. They are:

  • Underground (red and blue)
  • Overground (orange)
  • Buses (red and white)
  • Trams (green)
  • River (blue)
  • Elizabeth line/Crossrail (purple)
  • Bikes (white and red)
  • Emirates Air Line (red and white)

This doesn't even include temporary roundels, such as the rainbow roundels which make an appearance for Pride each year, and the temporary patriotic renaming of a north London station.

4. When roundels lie

South Woodford George Lane station roundel
Photo: Sunil060902

Several stations have roundels which give a different station name to that shown on the official tube map. For example, South Woodford's roundel shows the station name as South Woodford (George Lane) despite the fact that George Lane was dropped from the name in the 1950s.

Similarly, Hillingdon has roundels which call it Hillingdon (Swakeleys), and South Wimbledon is shown as South Wimbledon (Merton) on one roundel

5. You can get it on your latte

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The excellent cafe at the London Transport Museum pays homage to the museum's subject matter by offering roundels as a topping to coffees, cakes and even cocktails.

Roundel cakes and cocktails at the London Transport Museum cafe

Last Updated 25 September 2018

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