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18 Photos Of London’s Past, Blended With Its Present

Evocative juxtapositions, courtesy of the London Museum collection. Inspired by the StreetMuseum app.

1. Bomb damage at number 21 Queen Victoria street, 1941.

Museum of London/__username__

The collapsing front of Nos. 23 & 25 Queen Victoria Street, caused by the German bombing raid on the City of London on the night of 10th May 1941 - the most severe attack London had sustained throughout the Blitz.

2. Anti-Union Movement protestors, Trafalgar Square, 1962.

Via Henry Grant Collection/Museum of London

Oswald Mosley and the far-right Union Movement attempted to stage a rally in Trafalgar Square. There was fierce opposition. Amongst the protestors - who chanted “Down with Mosley! Down with fascism!” - were 1,000 people, led by the Reverend Bill Sargent of Dalston, who wore the yellow Star of David in memory of the Jewish Holocaust.

3. Bomb damage at Bank Underground Station, 1941.

Via Museum of London/by kind permission of the Commissioner of the City of London Police

During a night raid of the Blitz on London on January 10th, 1941, Bank Underground station sustained a direct hit. Some of the estimated 111 dead, who had been sheltering in the tube, were thrown into the path of an incoming train.

4. Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested while trying to present a petition to the King, 1914.

Museum Of London

21 May 1914. As she was being carried past a group of reporters, Pankhurst called out, “Arrested at the gates of the Palace. Tell the King”. She was then lifted in to a waiting car and driven straight to Holloway prison. The arresting officer, Superintendent Rolfe, died two weeks later of heart failure.

5. People queue at a music festival, Hyde Park, 1970.

Henry Grant Collection/__username__

Free summer music concerts had been held in Hyde Park since 1968. Musicians at the 1970 event - including Roy Harper, the Edgar Broughton Band and the headline band Pink Floyd - played to crowds over 100,000 strong.

6. The frozen Thames, looking Eastwards towards Old London Bridge, 1677.

Museum of London

Oil on canvas. Numerous figures shown amusing themselves on the frozen river, skating, sliding, snowballing and even shooting. Old London Bridge is in the middle distance and beyond it is the tower of St. Olave’s Tooley Street and Southwark Cathedral.

7. View of Cheapside, c.1926.

Museum of London

From opposite Old Change, running from Cheapside, George Davison Reid took this photo looking towards St Augustine’s church. Around a decade after this photo was taken, Cheapside and the City of London were heavily damaged in the Blitz. The street was lost, as was the church, though its tower remains.

8. Soho, 1926.

Henry Grant Collection/__username__

Patisserie Valerie was first established in Frith Street in 1926. Following the bombing raids of the Second World War, the business moved to Old Compton Street. There it built a reputation as a meeting place for those in the Soho arts and media scene.

9. Piccadilly, 1953.

Henry Grant Collection/__username__

A soldier gets a shoe shine outside Piccadilly underground station.

10. West India Docks, 1900.

Sugar being hoisted into warehouses.

11. West India Docks c.1900.

Museum of London

North Quay viewed from the warehouse, which is now the site of Hertsmere Road.

12. Piccadilly Circus, 1927.

Museum of London

George Davison Reid photographed this view towards Coventry Street from Piccadilly Circus. Beneath him, work was underway to construct the sub-surface station booking hall, escalators and pedestrian subways that were transforming Piccadilly Circus Underground station. In 1923, an electric billboard was added to the facade of the London Pavilion theatre, to advertise the current performance. The theatre became a cinema seven years after this photo was taken.

13. Carnaby Street, 1968.

Henry Grant Collection/__username__

Back then, Carnaby Street boasted many fashionable boutiques including John Stephen (right). Stephen opened his first shop in 1963 and went on to own nine more in Carnaby Street alone. Lord John was owned by Warren and David Gold, and Lady Jane (left) by Harry Fox.

14. Covent Garden Flower Women, c.1877.

Museum Of London

The image is taken from a series of 37 photographs published in the book, Street Life in London (1877), with text written by John Thomson and the journalist Adolphe Smith.

15. Bankside Power Station, 1952.

Henry Grant Collection/__username__

Bankside Power station under construction in 1952. There was much opposition to the building, which was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The height of the chimney was limited to 200m so that it did not stand taller than the spire of St Paul’s cathedral. The power station closed in 1981 and the building has been home to the Tate Modern art gallery since 1995.

16. Construction site to the west of Waterloo Bridge, 1866-1870.

Museum of London.

Photographed from the foot of Savoy Street. The Victoria Embankment and the Metropolitan District Line were constructed simultaneously in 1868.

17. London Hippodrome on Cranbourn Street, 1930.

The popular London Hippodrome on Cranbourn Street, originally home to circus and variety, staged spectacular musical comedies and revues. The building had around 1,340 seats. The performance advertised here in George Davison Reid’s photo is for Son’s O Guns, which opened at the Hippodrome on 26 June 1930.

18. Girl in Brick Lane, 1978.

Gene Adams, photograph by Margaret MacDonald

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