Do you remember the ghosts of Notting Hill Gate?
These were the posters discovered during a renovation of the tube station a few years ago. A fascinating time capsule, they provided an evocative wormhole back to the concerns and consumerism of the late 1950s, all documented by LT’s Head of Design and Heritage, Mike Ashworth.
Where we lead, the French follow. Or so it seems.
The Paris metro station of Trinité is being prepared for renovation. As layers of cladding were stripped back, a whole archive of posters was revealed here too.
By a curious coincidence, the posters date from just a year later than the Notting Hill survivors, revealing the everyday life of Paris in 1959.
A life which, in some ways, was very different to ours. The left-hand poster is apparently a roll-call of all those convicted of offences on the network, while the right is about visits to the underground tombs of the city.
Neither of which were found anywhere near the walls of Notting Hill Gate.
But what really strikes me about these posters is that, dare I say it, the overall standard of design is not as good as those in London. I wasn’t expecting that at all, when design historians spend so much time apologising for British design in comparison to Continental trends, but it’s true.
Of course there are some good posters. In fact this one looks great and I quite fancy a copy.
I’d love to be able to see more of this intriguing fragment too.
But overall, I’m afraid to say that I think Notting Hill Gate would have been a more visually pleasing place to catch the train.
The other thing that strikes me about the comparison though, is more about the present day. The posters in Paris are only here for you to see today because they were snapped by a passing commuter, although fortunately one who is a professional photographer.
He’s called Yann Covès, and all of the photographs on here are his.
Whereas in London, the notion of heritage is so much more entrenched that LT have a man to manage it. Which I also think is probably better, but then I’m British so I would say that, wouldn’t I?