Friday, June 18, 2010

Blast from the Past

Sometimes you come across a news story so perfect you think someone has made it up just to give you a genuine thrill. I felt like that when I read this week about how builders renovating Notting Hill tube station had discovered a secret room behind a sign on the platform, which had lain undiscovered for 50 years.

How cool is that? A few yards away from where thousands passed through each day, a small room festooned with peeling, fading posters from 1959, silent and dark, frozen in time. It almost seems a shame to disturb it. Note the footsteps on the dusty floor - more people had walked on the moon than on the floor here until it was rediscovered.

The room was originally a small passageway leading from the platform to a lift, until the lifts were replaced by escalators. Once the lift became redundant they bricked up both ends.

The result is a perfectly preserved piece of British post-war advertising. For films and West End shows. Or for car hire, like this one on the left. There are also ads for coach hire - for those not able to afford renting a car - and Pepsodent toothpaste: 'You'll wonder where the yellow went!'

London Underground haven't decided what to do with the room yet, though it's likely the posters will be removed and taken to their museum near Covent Garden. Personally, I say open out the room, tidy it up a bit and let commuters have a browse as they wait for the next train.

In the meantime, I'm intrigued by the poster for Too Many Crooks, a film I've never seen, though it features a few giants of British comedy, including the best and perhaps the most pointless hyphened name in film history, Terry-Thomas.

What an absolute shaar.




  1. Wasn't Terry-Thomas the guy between whose front teeth one could drive a bus?

  2. He certainly was Stan. He made it to Hollywood, where he found a few roles playing the archetypal British upper class cad and scoundrel.

    Had he been alive today, he would have been nailed on to play the head of BP when they make the movie of the oil spill...

  3. i do love a secret room. sarah