Back in 2010, a hidden time capsule of various advertising posters – ranging from the Ideal Home Exhibition to Pepsodent toothpaste – was discovered in an abandoned part of a London Underground tube station, boarded up since 1959.
London Underground photographed the posters in situ found in a disused London Underground passenger tunnel at Notting Hill Gate Station during restoration work, which was accessed for the first time in 60 years.
They include a vintage 1959 “Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition” poster, held at Olympia, Underground and film posters, and more.
Found in an old lift passageway, date from between 1956 and 1959, when the station’s lifts were removed and replaced by escalators.
What a fascinating snapshot in time they are, although some are of course more worse for wear than others and I can’t help but wonder what this comic strip-styled poster was advertising…
Of course, it’s not the only treasure in the abandoned Underground or associated railway stations over the years. Opened on the Central Line in 1900 and permanently closed in 1933, this stunning photo by E.O. Hoppé, recently tweeted by Stuart “Babel Colour” Humphryes, shows the British Museum tube station, which once sat between Leicester Square and Goodge Street.
There are 270 functioning stations across the London Underground network, but at least 40 Overground and Underground stations still in existence are “Abandoned Stations”, no longer used for travel.
Closed for a variety of reasons, from low passenger numbers to re-routing, these stations have had interesting histories. Some offered a vital refuge throughout both world wars.
Transport for London notes these stations have also played a part in Britain’s cultural life. Aldwych station, for example, was used to house the National Gallery’s collection during World War One and British Museum artefacts (including the Elgin Marbles), during World War Two.
In more recent years, Aldwych has doubled up as a filming location for productions as diverse as The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ music video, and zombie movie, 28 Weeks Later.
Notting Hill Gate photographs via Mike Ashworth/ London Underground
• Mike Ashworth, the Design and Heritage Manager of London Underground has an album of these lost posters on Flickr. If you enjoy vintage design he’s well worth following
This article has more details on many of the posters uncovered, including information on their designers and the companies and events featured
More tantalising glimpses of yesteryear
• Please note the posters at Notting Hill Gate, still in situ, are wholly inaccessible to the public, which is why they’ve probably survived 50 odd years. Please do not pester the station staff about them
Item with thanks to a kickstart from Stuart “Babel Colour” Humphryes