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  • Vintage l

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson: if you’re tired of London then you are tired of life. As a city, it has witnessed so much over the centuries, undergoing remarkable transformation. Here at 20 Bedford Way, We have decided to take you back in time with this remarkable collection of old photographs that reveal the people, places and energy that make London the city we love.

 

old london photography

 

 

London Skyline with Saint Paul’s Cathedral – circa 1865

A view over the rooftops and factories of London with St Paul’s Cathedral dominant in the distance.

 

London skyline with St Pauls in 1800s

Photograph via National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons

 

Westminster Bridge – between 1870 & 1885

Designed by Thomas Page, the Westminster Bridge opened in 1862 to allow traffic to flow between the West End and South London.

Westminster Bridge old photographs of london

Photographer: Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart; photograph via Cornell University Library on Flickr

 

Drury Lane – 1877

A ‘cook shop’ restaurant on Drury Lane frequented by convicts and criminals.

Drury Lane London 1877

Photograph by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith from ‘Street Life in London’ via LSE Library on Flickr

 

Cheapside between circa 1890 and circa 1900

This City of London street has been at the heart of the financial centre of London for centuries.

Cheapside City Of London 1890

Photocrom via Library of Congress on Flickr

 

Tower Bridge under Construction – 1892

A photograph of the then unfinished New Tower Bridge that would later become one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Construction began in 1886 with the bridge officially opened on June 30th 1894.

Tower Bridge under construction

Photograph taken by Sidney Alfred Beer via Flickr

 

Piccadilly Circus – 1910

Built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus is depicted here long before the neon signs and thousands of tourists.

old photograph of piccaddilly circus

Photograph via National Archives of Norway on Flickr

 

Tanks on Parade in London – 1918

Tanks parading through the streets of London at the end of World War I.

tanks on parade in london after ww1

Photograph by Thomas Frederick Scales via National Library of NZ Flickr

 

Tottenham Court Road – 1927

This shot captures the junction between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.

Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street 1920 vintage photograph

Photograph via Stockholm Transport Museum on Flickr

 

German Zeppelin over the Thames – 1930

This photograph captures a view across Lambeth to the Palace of Westminster with a German Graf Zeppelin hovering overhead.

zeppelin over the river thames london in world war 2

Image via National Archives UK on Flickr

 

Baker Street Tube – 1946

Construction is underway of the junction of the Finchley Road branch with the existing Bakerloo tunnel at Baker Street.

baker street tube being rebuilt

Photograph via The National Archives UK / London Transport Museum on Flickr

 

Palace of  Westminster – 1950

A great photo that captures this UNESCO world heritage site and a surprisingly quiet Westminster Bridge.

Houses of Parliament in 1950 old photo

Photograph by KKB via Wikimedia Commons

 

Chelsea Bridge Rockers – circa 1963

One of many thriving sub-cultures to have existed in London, this photograph captures three rockers on the new Chelsea Bridge.

rockers on chelsea bridge london 1960s

Photograph via Wikimedia Commons 

 

Kings Road – circa 1967

A shot of a young man on the Kings Road trying on a military jacket from ‘I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet’ – a chain of shops that specialised in antique military uniforms and was frequented by Jimi Hendrix and is rumoured to have inspired Peter Blake and Paul McCartney for the design of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s album.

Kings Road London 1960s military fashion

1960 Photograph by Paul Townsend from Bristol via Wikimedia Commons

 

Piccadilly Circus – 1968

A much busier Piccadilly Circus in 1968, now complete with its familiar advertising billboards.

Piccaddilly circus 1968

By Roger Wollstadt, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Carnaby Street – 1969 

Stylish teenagers relax on Carnaby Street, the Soho street synonymous with fashion in the swinging sixties.

Carnaby Street sixties fashion

Photograph via National Archive UK on Flickr

 

If you have any old photographs of London that you would like to share with us find us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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