This photo was brought to my attention on Twitter last week, and I got very excited because it was labelled as The Bakerloo Line at Piccadilly Station, 1970.
I was all ready to launch a whole blog post on the back of this, talking about how the 1950s style of graphic advertising persisted for far longer than any of us had imagined, and how what’s reported in graphics annuals may not reflect what’s actually going on in the real world, and so on and so on.
And then I looked at the clothes. This isn’t 1970, is it. It’s scarcely pushing 1960 if you ask me. So design history does not have to be redrawn.
It is a lovely photo though, and also a reminder that the past is a far distant place where tobacco is an acceptable Christmas present.
So in the absence of those thoughts, I do also have space to point you at this lovely picture as well, which Dr G posted in the comments section the other day and is originally from this blog.
On the main floor galleries of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, visitors study posters that tell them to buy war bonds and look out for the enemy.”-LIFE Magazine, December 21, 1942.
What they are actually looking at is entries in a National War Poster competition – and it’s a good job that Dr G told me that otherwise I would have wasted a great deal of time trying to identify what’s on the walls.
But the picture is interesting, and not just because it shows people looking at posters. It’s also a reminder that war posters in particular were not just preaching, but were part of a conversation with the viewers, and a conversation in which the public could sometimes have quite an active role. Right down, I might remind you, to making their own posters themselves.
It still pains me that someone has cut up a Lewitt-Him to create this, but it can’t exactly be undone, can it. Hey ho.
Great blog post. I have the same sort of stuff happen to me. One item sets off a train (sorry!) of thought and then…BOOM it’s not what I thought it was. Thanks for your blog
According to LTM archives the photograph was taken by Dr Heinz Zinram on 12 December 1958 -‘scarcely pushing 1960’ as you suggest! Zinram was an Austrian born freelance photographer who had his studio in Baker Street. Whatever happened to Benedict peas (middle poster)?
Oh, well done, I couldn’t find it in there. Although I would challenge their dating, both on the grounds of the posters and most of all the clothes.
And yes, what indeed did happen to Benedict Peas? A brief google tells me that they were quite widely advertised in the late 1940s and early 50s.
For the LTM picture of the tube train, inventory number 2003/20443, see
Some of the background figures have apparently been altered in the version you show [they seem a little fuzzy]. The photo is described as being taken for publicity purposes, presumably for LT itself. I must defer to your greater expertise, but I suggest that the photograph content is not inconsistent with the date given. The most dramatic changes in fashion were to come at least 5 years later.
They’ve been hand coloured, haven’t they to give them a bit more definition. How interesting.
And yes, I obviously didn’t make myself very clear above – I was only challenging the dating of the tweet, 1958 is just right for the clothes!