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Dark arts: London Transport Museum exhibition explores the history of London after hours

Isabelle Aron

London's long-awaited night tube got the green light in September last year, but since then it's been a bit of a bumpy ride. The new night service was meant to be kicking off this weekend, but it probably hasn't escaped your notice that it's definitely being delayed. Possibly until next March, which is bad news for people hoping to rein in that expensive Uber habit, but good news for night bus enthusiasts.

But night tube or no night tube, London is still a pretty cool place to hang out after hours, and to celebrate our (nearly) fully-fledged 24-hour city, the London Transport Museum is putting on an exhibition called 'Night Shift – London After Dark'celebrating nocturnal London through the ages.

The museum has delved into the archives and dug out some amazing pictures, including this snap of the first ever night bus. If you thought your night bus home was wild last weekend, just look at these guys. Looks like a bloody riot, doesn't it?

And there's this lovely image of some rat catchers just doing their thing in King's Cross. And yes, those are rats tails he's holding onto.

There's also some pretty cool old London Transport posters, including this one advertising new night bus services - way back when getting the night bus home was almost as exciting as landing on the moon:

And a tube map from simpler times:

So if we have to wait indefinitely for the night tube to launch, then this is (kind of) the next best thing.

Take a look at some more pictures from the exhibition: 


'Night Shift – London After Dark' is on at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. September 11–April 10. £16.

Images: London Transport Museum

No night tube? No problem. Here are 13 reasons we're totally cool about the night tube being delayed.

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