Home » Uncategorized » Book Chat: Seats of London A Field Guide to London Transport Moquette Patterns by Andrew Martin

Book Chat: Seats of London A Field Guide to London Transport Moquette Patterns by Andrew Martin

And now that we can breathe again. . .

Here’s something different, a really interesting little gem of a book for textile geeks like me. I found this book in an Instagram post by Wallace Sewell. Wallace Sewell (or Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace-Jones) is a British textile design firm specializing in Bauhaus-inspired weaving for the home and for people. I have been inspired by their work for some time. Turns out they are part of a long line of textile designers who have contributed their eye-popping designs to London Transport.

But I digress.

Moquette is French for carpet, woven of wool with cotton backing and tufted, with either loops or cut pile or a combination. Moquette is used on London’s transport (tubes, buses, trams) seats. LT requires that moquette be patterned, partly for decorative effect, but also because the patterns hide dirt. Four colors are used, but the effects of cut and uncut pile make it feel like more. The pile is warm and comfortable in winter, cool in summer, and makes for an inviting tube or bus ride where one would otherwise feel bored, crowded, and miserable.

The tradition of using moquette for LT seating is a century old, and many big names in industrial design have contributed to the history of these textiles including Paul Nash, Enid Marx, Marion Dorn, and Marianne Straub, as well as today’s Wallace Sewell. Styles evolved from Art Deco to Streamlined Machine Age, to Wartime Austerity to Sixties Op.

The moquettes themselves have names, some whimsical: Colindale, Bushey, Ladder, Double Diamond, Trilobite or Fossil, Blue Blaze, and Barman, to name a few.

Alperton by
Paul Nash
Grid by
Enid Marx
“Straub” by Marianne Straub

The book itself is a history of London’s tube lines and buses, as well as the fabrics that were used in them. Each two-page spread is a mini chapter about the evolution of public transport along with the fabrics used. The majority of photos are in color. If, like me, you are feeling very inspired, The London Transport Museum shop offers moquette designs in a furniture line, as well as socks and face masks. Check it out: https://www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk/

This is a true romp through 20th century textile history. Enjoy!

(Please excuse the bad scans 😉 )

3 thoughts on “Book Chat: Seats of London A Field Guide to London Transport Moquette Patterns by Andrew Martin

  1. This is amazing! Too bad we don’t do something so beautiful and creative for our public transportation systems here! So for fun to pick out a seat.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.