The Rusty Key

A ratatouille of History, Museums' bits and Interesting Facts. A site for those who like the smell of Old Times.

There is a Museum hidden in the gloom of Notting Hill Tube Station!

This is quite old news and all of you probably knew about it already. Despite this incredible place was discovered about 4 years ago, I read about it only a couple of weeks ago and I just loved it so much I couldn’t help but writing something about it. It looks like a small Museum is hidden down there, in the gloom of Notting Hill tube Station. Back in the 1950s when the lifts were replaced by escalators the passageways leading to the lifts were sealed but the posters hung on the wall were not taken off. Try to imagine if one of the present underground tunnel we walk into every day to go to work, was closed with all the movie and advertising poster in it. And above all, try to imagine somebody in about 60 years reopening these tunnels, discovering posters of Pompei 3D, The Book of Mormon, Jack Daniels Whisky or some clever campaign trying to make us aware that if we are going to shopping this weekend will be probably better to check for tube disruption first!
Probably after such a long time our posters too would look old fashioned if not obsolete. The thing is that the posters from the 1950s, discovered in May 2010 when some workmen carried out renovation works, don’t look obsolete to me but just precious and magic. It’s a small museum of 60 years old graphic art, not built or designed but naturally created. And while all the world most renowned Museums are doing their very best to become wholly accessible to every kind of audience, this very special one is doing its best to remain inaccessible to everyone. This fascinating place is not accessible and it won’t ever be. Just try to satisfy your curiosity and crave for the old, looking through the picture that a man called Mikey Ashworth took officially for London Underground. Thanks god, he did the right thing and he uploaded the pictures for all to be seen on Flickr. Thank you Mikey, and if you are interested in old fashioned british posters his personal Flickr page is worth to be seen too!

All the pictures below belong to Mikey Ashworth and are official photographs so please credit London Underground. Also, don’t waste your time bothering the staff with stupid questions or asking to go and visit the tunnels. Once again, these are wholly inaccessible and this is surely the reason why they preserved so well!

Of course I have a favourite one and what that could be if not a publicity for the great Museum I am currently working for: “Iron and Steel at the London Science Museum”, powerful image, sadly not ‘signed’, showing a transfer ladle during a ‘pour’ – one of the great visuals of the age of iron & steel.

For more pictures visit

Old posters in disused passageway at Notting Hill Gate tube station, 2010

Disused passageway, Notting Hill Gate tube station, 2010

Chain Garage, Hanger Lane – car hire poster, c1959

Evening News small-ads poster

Iron & Steel at the Science Museum poster, c1959

Royal Blue coach services poster, c1959

Pepsodent Toothpast, c1959

1959 vintage “River Thames” poster

“Too Many Crooks” movie film poster c1959

“The Horse’s Mouth” with Alec Guinness – c1959 movie film poster

“Separate Tables” starring Rita Hayworth movie film poster from 1959

“Around the World in Eighty Days”, movie film poster from 1956

Vintage 1950s advertising posters in disused passageways at Notting Hill Gate tube station, London – photographed in 2010

Vintage 1950s advertising posters in disused passageways at Notting Hill Gate tube station, London – photographed in 2010





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