My attention was drawn last week to an incredible set of photographs taken recently in Notting Hill Gate underground station, during refurbishment. They show a deserted passageway sealed up in 1959, with advertising posters surviving untouched to this day:
The full set, by London Underground’s Head of Design and Heritage, Mike Ashworth, are on Flickr. One of them advertises the Science Museum’s then-new Iron and Steel gallery, depicting a Bessemer steel converter in mid-pour:
(Hand-held audioguides aren’t a recent museum phenomenon. We were trying them out in the sixties!)
In front of the converter you can see a flattened metal ring. It’s a section of round gun barrel, squashed flat by a steam hammer. It was done cold, and there’s no cracking.
It was a demonstration carried out by Bessemer in 1860 to show the superb ductility (flexibility) of his steel, which made it such a useful material – giving us longer bridges, bigger ships, taller buildings, stronger machinery and rails to take heavier and faster trains. You can see it in Making the Modern World, too.
Iron and Steel was replaced in 1995 by our current Challenge of Materials gallery.