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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hidden Color in the London Underground

The London tube system is a huge maze of subterranean underground stations, platforms and rail-lines. Many areas are abandoned and not accessible to the public. I found myself getting constantly lost and turned around during my two visits to London and came to appreciate how massive this system is.

There was recently a surprise uncovered at the Notting Hill tube station in London. A time capsule of mid-century posters was rediscovered during modernization work on the station. In 1959, the old lifts were taken out of commission in favor of escalators. The passageways to the lifts were sealed off and the posters sat for fifty years untouched.

A look back at the cheerful pop color posters of yesterday give a great view into mid-century advertising, color and style. The public does not have access at this time to the posters or this part of the station.

The photos below are all credited to Mike Ashworth who is the Underground Design and Heritage Manager. His Flickr photos can be seen here:

The Notting Hill station opened in 1868, with the underground area opening up in 1900. Sadly, these posters will be resealed back up after modernization work if completed and left for future generations to discover.

I guess we can't tease the Brits for the stereotype of having bad teeth. Advertisers were trying!

A 1956 version of this popular story:

The graphics on this poster remind me of Disneyland, It's a Small World, colors and graphics from that era.

Can you believe that this home exhibition has been going on since 1908 and is still an annual event! Wish I could step into a time capsule and go back to take a look at the latest in mid-century homes.

A view of the posters grouped on one of the subway walls. They all date from 1956-1959.

This poster was designed by Daphne Padden who came from a family of artist/illustrators. I love that pop of blue and yellow. Very much part of the visual graphics of the 1950's.

You would have been seeing this Alec Guinness movie in the theaters in 1958

This poster was made by renown designer, Victor Galbraith, for the London Transport

This discovery makes you appreciate the world's hidden urban gems and what is still waiting to be uncovered!


Cathleen Davidson of Color Forte said...

Wow. love the posters. so cool.


Can't bear the thought of those posters covered up!!

Elizabeth Brown said...

Ah, there is definitely a time and place for bright primary color. Thank you bringing us these images. I had never heard of her before, but now I'm all over Daphne Padden. I was born in the 50's and her images remind me of the picture books I looked at as a kid.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

That is a crying shame they will be covered up! It seems there must be a way to preserve them for public view?