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January 15, 2022

Intimate Pictures of the London Underground in the 1970s

Back in the 1970s, when it was still acceptable to talk, kiss and smoke on the London Underground, Mike Goldwater couldn't help but feel captivated by the life of the underground community. 

“Almost everyone on the tube travels with a purpose and a destination,” said Goldwater. “On the days that I chose to photograph on the underground I would travel on a whim; jumping on and off trains, wandering a corridor here, taking an escalator there, lingering at places that felt that they might produce interesting images. This set me apart from everyone else. I felt in some way I could enter a different time, a sort of time in-between.”

Northern Line, 1974

At the time, Goldwater was still a young photographer honing his craft. For a decade, he wandered the intricate system under the city, documenting passengers traveling from place to place, capturing chance moments of intimacy and humor across this iconic network of tunnels that live beneath the capital.

“Being in very close proximity to one another during rush hours people have to shrink their personal space, while at other times of the day, parts of the system could be almost deserted.” Goldwater said. “How people responded to both situations had picture potential.”

Take a look back at the London Underground through these intimate shots below. Goldwater's work during the seventies was also selected and published as a book, London Underground 1970 – 1980, by Hoxton Mini Press.

Kings Cross, 1972

Moorgate, 1973

Northern Line, 1975

Tottenham Court road, 1977

Holborn, 1978

Oxford Circus, 1978

Baker Street, 1979

Oxford Circus, 1979

Piccadilly Circus, 1978

Wembley Park, 1979

Westbourne Park, 1979


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