15 Remarkable Old Photos of London
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photograph via National Archive UK on Flickr