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'Poems on the Underground' archive

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10463

Scope and Contents

Documents relating to 'Poems on the Underground' and related publications and activities, collected by Judith Chernaik, a co-founder of the programme. The papers include correspondence, project files, subject files, and printed items, including copies of a selection of posters.


  • Creation: 1984-2023


Conditions Governing Access

With the exception of one file closed until 1 January 2067 under the terms of the Data Protection Act (1998), the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. The collection contains personal correspondence. The provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998) apply to access. Users of the collection are required to complete a Researcher Undertaking Concerning Access under the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to Archives Which Would Otherwise Be Closed. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

'Poems on the Underground' is a scheme to place posters bearing poems in the carriages of trains on the London underground. It was founded by Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik and Cicely Herbert, and the first set of posters was produced in 1986. The scheme has also given rise to publications and public events such as readings and concerts.


0.07 cubic metre(s) (7 archive boxes and 1 folder) : Paper

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated, 2023.

Related Materials

The following publications, which were received as part of the ‘Poems on the Underground’ donation, have been transferred to the general stock of the University Library:

‘100 poems on the underground’ (London, Cassell, 1991) ‘Between the lines: poems on the DART’, edited by Jonathan Williams (Dublin, 1994) ‘Poems on the Underground’, selected by Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik and Cicely Herbert, Cassell Audiobooks (London, 1995) ‘Poems on the underground 1995’ (London, 1995) ‘Poèmes dans le metro’ (Paris, 1995) ‘Love poems on the underground’ (London, 1996) ‘The Poetry in Motion postcard book’ (New York, 1996) Ursel Hosch (ed.), Lyrik unterwegs (Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 1997) ‘101 nouveaux poèmes dans le metro’ (Paris, 1999) ‘Lyrik unterwegs’ (postcard book), 1999 Gabriele Bail (ed.), ‘Lyrik in Fahrt: Gedichte in Strassenbahn und Bus’ (Dresden, 2000) ‘Des rimes et des rames: concours de poésie dans le metro 2000-2001’ (Paris, 2001) ‘European poems on the underground: a selection of European poems to mark the 30th anniversary of the UK's accession to the European Union’ (London, 2003) ‘Carnival of the animals: poems inspired by Saint-Saëns’ music’, edited by Judith Chernaik, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, (Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006)

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom