Beautiful and captivating photographs of life on the London Underground back in the 1970s

Beautiful and captivating photographs of life on the London Underground back in the 1970s

Beautiful and captivating photographs of life on the London Underground back in the 1970s 962 801 martin


Holborn 1978 © Mike Goldwater. All images courtesy of Hoxton Mini Press.

Some things inevitably change while others stay the same. Did you know that in the 1970s, it was still acceptable to talk, kiss and even smoke on the London Underground?

What would that have looked like? Photographer Mike Goldwater spent many years documenting chance moments of intimacy and humour across the iconic network of tunnels that live beneath the capital.

The pictures, taken between 1970 and 1980, tenderly capture special moments, moments we still see today: the kisses goodbye, the buskers, the Friday night revellers, a man cradling a cat, and the commuters deep in thought and desperate to get home. We also see old ticket booths (before Travelcards existed), old school carriages, retro film posters and bell flares.

You can enjoy this fascinating series in a new book, London Underground 1970-1980. Arts writer Lucy Davies says in the book’s introduction: “Goldwater was already familiar with the Tube, though it was quite different from the one we know today. Back then, you had to buy your ticket from a window and show it at the barrier. The advertisements on the wall were unabashedly sexist. You could puff undisturbed on a cigar and tap your ash on the carriage floor.”

Lucy adds: “Some stations were lit only by individual hanging bulbs in white light shades, immersing travellers in a dim, Hades-like gloom. It made taking photographs incredibly difficult, forcing Goldwater to function at the very limit of his film’s capabilities, but it gives his pictures a wonderfully brooding, unearthly cast.”

London Underground 1970-1980 by Mike Goldwater is published by Hoxton Mini Press.

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