These Amazing Aerial Photos Show How London Looked In 1945 Vs How London Looks Now

See how London used to be docks, factories and green fields rather than motorways, massive stadiums and endless flats. Slidey things!

1. Olympic Park, Stratford, Hackney Wick.

Google Earth

The Olympic stadium stands on old industrial land, with the swimming pool to the right. Hackney Wick is on the left and the motorway linking the Blackwall Tunnel with north east London runs through the middle.

2. London City Aiport and Docklands.

Google Earth

The Excel Centre is on the left of this image, City Airport is on the right. That football ground at the top is the now-demolished West Ham Stadium, which had nothing to do with West Ham. All the working docks have now closed but you can now get the DLR and cable car there, so it’s not all bad.

3. Barbican and Liverpool Street station.

Google Earth

The Barbican is on the left, while Liverpool Street is the station on the right hand side. The old City of London is at the bottom of the image, with lots of narrow streets which have now been demolished and largely replaced by massive skyscrapers that have a tendency to accidentally burn things.

4. Rotherithe Peninsuala.

Google Earth

Most of the old docks on the Rotherhithe Peninsuala have been filled in to make way for housing. That big white building in the middle of the modern image is Surrey Quays tube station and shopping centre.

5. BBC Television Centre, Queens Park Rangers.

Television Centre is the building in the middle of this image. Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers is on the left. The massive stadium at the top is White City stadium, knocked down to make way for office buildings and the Westway road.

6. Croydon.

Google Earth

East Croydon station is in the centre of this image and the Whitgift shopping centre is on the left hand side, apparently built on top of an open field. Someone’s also blasted through a massive motorway and built some tall office blocks.

7. Kings Cross and St Pancras.

Google Earth

St Pancras International is the station is the middle, Kings Cross is on the right and Euston is in the bottom left. The bit in the middle where the gas holders stand will soon be Google’s HQ, while the goods yard at the top of the picture is now Central St Martin’s art school.

8. South Bank, London

Google Earth

The entire South Bank was rebuilt after the war, originally for the festival of Britain. Post-war buildings include the BFI, Haywood Gallery and Royal Festival Hall. The London Eye is in the bottom left of the picture. And there’s the now-abandoned Eurostar terminal attached to the edge of Waterloo station, along with the circular IMAX cinema in the middle of the roundabout which stands in dead centre of the image.

9. Battersea Power Station.

Google Earth

Battersea Power Station is in the top left. New Covent Garden flower market is in the top right.

10. Old terraced housing between Kingsland Road and Hackney Road, East London.

Hackney Road runs along the bottom of the picture and Kingsland Road heads due north on the left hand side. Almost all of the Victorian housing in this area was demolished, with the streets built over and replaced with new public housing.

11. Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Victoria.

Google Earth

The House of Parliament on on the right hand side, next to Westminster Bridge. Buckingham Palace is in the middle and Victoria railway station is in the bottom left.

12. The M25.

Google Earth

Junction 15, where the M4 heads west out of London. Open fields don’t stand a chance when you need to build a motorway.

13. Emirates Stadium, Islington.

Google Earth

Arsenal’s old ground in Highbury is on the top right of this picture, while the new Emirates stadium is in the middle.

14. Stratford Westfield.

Google Earth

Stratford Westfield is in the centre of this image, next to Stratford International railway station which is in the middle. The Olympic velodrome is in the top left and the main Stratford underground station and town centre is in the bottom right. Those flats in the top half belong the Olympic Village.

Yes, everything in 1945 everything in Stratford was just endless railway works.

15. Paddington station and Little Venice.

Google Earth

Paddington station is still the middle of the picture, although they’ve since built office buildings around the old canal. Little Venice is the canal pool at the top left of the picture.

16. Mile End Park, East London.

Google Earth

Mile End park was built on the site of old East End streets. They cleared the site and left the open space between the canal and the remaining houses.

17. Brooklands Grand Prix circuit.

Google Earth

Just inside the M25, the circuit was one of the world’s first race tracks but has now vanished under an industrial park.

18. Hammersmith.

Google Earth

Hammersmith Apollo, the medium-sized building in the bottom centre of this image is still there. But someone’s gone and stuck a massive motorway in front of it.

19. The West End.

Google Earth

The Strand is on the right hand side, next to Waterloo Bridge. Piccaddilly Circus is in the bottom left. The British Museum is at the top. And Soho has stayed pretty much the same in the middle of all this.

20. Elephant & Castle.

Google Earth

The massive lethal-for-cyclists Elephant & Castle roundabout is at the top of this image. The Heygate Estate, which is in the process of being knocked down, is on the right and itself replaced lots of old Victorian houses. The Strata tower, the building with the windfarm on its roof, is casting a shadow in the centre.

And the Elephant & Castle shopping centre? That’s the building in the middle next to the station.

21. Heathrow Airport.

Google Earth

Development of Heathrow only properly began in 1944 but it’s since expand an *awful lot*.

22. Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs and the Millenium Dome.

Google Earth

The main Canary Wharf buildings are clustered the old docks at the very top of the picture. The Millenium Dome sits on the on Greenwich peninsula to the right.

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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