We’re so excited to be back with Poster of the Week, to celebrate our new exhibition, Poster Art 150 -London Underground’s Greatest Designs, which is supported by Siemens and opens today.
This week, we’re looking at ‘Brightest London is best reached by Underground’ by Horace Taylor.
At a time when cinemas still showed black and white films, vibrant posters like this splashed colour into 1920s London. The Underground is presented as bright, popular and extremely fashionable. The three escalators were a notable sign of modernity as in 1924, when the poster was created, Bank station was the only station to boast three escalators together.
When escalators were first introduced onto the Underground at Earl’s Court in 1911, many passengers found the new technology a little disconcerting. A man named William ‘Bumper’ Harris, who had lost his leg in an engineering accident, was asked to demonstrate how safe the escalator was. Londoners soon embraced this new means of getting underground, as can be seen here in Taylor’s poster, where a very smart crowd is heading out for a night on the town.
Horace Taylor’s granddaughter once explained that Taylor often liked to paint himself into his posters. In this poster he is the gentleman with the top hat and the beard on the middle escalator.
Still vibrant almost 90 years after it first appeared to brighten Underground stations, we can only imagine how effective it must’ve been at the time.
As part of the exhibition, the Siemens Poster Vote seeks to find out what your favourite poster is.