'The Only Road for an Englishman'
Designed by Gerald Spenser Pryse (1882-1956), this poster was published by the Underground Electric Railway Company in 1914.
London Underground led the way among the many private organisations which published patriotic and recruiting posters during the war. Under the inspired leadership of Frank Pick, the Underground had acquired a well deserved reputation for the outstanding quality of its peacetime travel posters and now sought to apply the same principles to designing wartime notices.
In 1914 Pick actually refused to display the designs of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee on the Tube because they were 'too bad to be hung'. Instead he commissioned Frank Brangwyn and Gerald Spenser Pryse to create high quality and memorable designs to encourage commuters to enlist. From 1916 the Underground also commissioned some of the finest artists of the day to produce decorative posters for army billets and YMCA huts as 'a reminder of home'.
Pryse had initially served as a dispatch rider for the Belgian government and was present at the siege of Antwerp and the battles of the Marne and the Aisne. His first series of wartime lithographs, entitled 'The Autumn Campaign', was published in 1914. Incredibly, Pryce drew the designs directly onto lithographic stones which he carried in his staff car. He later served as a captain with the King's Royal Rifle Corps and was an Official War Artist from 1916.
NAM Accession Number
Copyright: Transport for London
National Army Museum, Study collection