Poster of the Week: Keep Warm:Travel Underground

Keep Warm:Travel Underground, Kathleen Stenning, 1925

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With Christmas just around the corner and the weather suitably chilly, it can be with some relief when you descend into the warmth of your local Underground station.

The Underground Group’s publicity department often promoted the Tube as the best way to travel, whatever the unpredictable British weather. In 1925, Kathleen Stenning was commissioned to design a set of four posters presenting the Underground as a refuge from extreme weather conditions and the most appropriate way to navigate the Capital. In this version of Stenning’s series, the Underground is portrayed as warm, vibrant and festive, encouraging people to get out and about despite the winter cold.

In the same way that the red house stands out as a beacon of warmth and comfort against the snow, so does the Underground train. It is alive with activity, with one woman selling flowers and a glamorous couple alighting. While there are no people to be seen above ground– all presumably huddled up in their homes (or travelling Underground)  – the train is full of people.

Promoting the capacity to provide refuge in inclement weather was a popular concept for the Underground Group during the 1920s. It was a theme that had been used in the Group’s publicity since its inception, with a number of posters emphasising the warmth and brightness of the system. 1926 and 1927 saw a duo of celebrated posters, a variation on a set by Austin Cooper in 1924, produced by Frederick Charles Herrick which similarly stressed the protective nature of the Tube.

Although the image in the poster is inevitably idealised, it is still true that when the snow is falling and the roads are impassable, the Underground can act as a source of comfort to Londoners enjoying the festive period.

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