Join me on this journey through the most fascinating of cities. Enter your e-mail address in the box to the right and automatically receive new posts direct to your e-mail. Usually about one a week.
My father was born in London in 1928, lived in London throughout the 2nd World War and started taking photographs of the city from 1946 through to 1954. These show a city which had changed dramatically since the pre-war period and has changed, in many places beyond recognition, in the intervening years.
Through “A London Inheritance” I will document my exploration of London using these photographs as a starting point. To try and identify the original locations, show how and why these have changed and how the buildings, streets and underlying topography of the city have developed.
This journey will take me from Hampstead to Hoxton, Battersea to Greenwich, well known landmarks as well as hidden buildings, streets and steps, along with events such as the Festival of Britain and the Coronation.
To guide me on this journey I will use my father’s original 1940 London Street Atlas, along with books, documents and notes collected over many years.
Along the route, I will also cover aspects of London that interest me, the history and places that make London such an intriguing city.
My aim is for weekly updates, however the need for additional research, access to locations, weather etc. may make the occasional delay unavoidable. Please bear with me, this is a real time journey and I hope the results will be worthwhile.
I am loving your blob more and more!!! Well done!!!
Jonny eagle was my grandfather i wood be great full for any more pic of him as the man in the pic is not jonny eagle may be the man in the bag is my grandad
I am enjoying your photos and articles esp around the East End.
I’m researching family history- my great grandmother (Caroline Cane) lived in Bath Place off Rivington St. On the corner of Rivington St and Shoreditch High St us a pub called the Barley Mow. Can anyone tell me would I find out if this was there in the 1860s when the Cane family would have passed it on their way to St Leonard’s Church.
Please add me to mailing list
I love the blob too!
i meant BLOG!….
Was pointed this way by the Gentle Author and have enjoyed every single article so far. I’ve subscribed by RSS so will keep up with new articles. An excellent start, and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Cheers, M@. (from Londonist).
I was born around Blackfriars in 1950. Seeing old London landmarks brings back a lot of memories for me. The research and time you are spending trying to locate exact sites your father took different photographs is wonderful. Although our family emigrated to Canada in 1963 I have always felt an attachment to London. It angers me somewhat that so much of the city was demolished and that no authority saw fit to try and protect some of these heritage buildings. Tourists come to the city to see history in its architecture not to look at these gaudy, over-sized monstrosities. Sorry- rant out of the way.
Your photos with the old shot tower was one of the places we would play as kids so I was very interested in this location. During the 1950’s there were viewing platforms along the Thames just outside of Festival Hall. My brothers and I would have races up and down the stairs to the platforms to see who could get to the top first. I think there were 2 or 3 of these platforms. Do you know of any existing photos of these platforms and where I could view them.
Your father probably did not realize how important his photography would be to future generations but to see you carrying on his work is very commendable. Congratulations and keep going. Thanks so much.
Hi Barry. Many thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I will have a look through and see if I have any photos of the platforms. Most of the photos of the Festival of Britain site were before construction started and during construction. I agree with your comments about the City. Just comparing the Queen Victoria Street photos, the original in my view, is a much better street environment. I bet you would not recognise that much of Blackfriars, there has been and continues to be so much development. Regards, David
I would like to join this site and need to know how to Register just for The London Inheritance. Anyhelp will be appreciated.
This is great information – all fascinating. Do you know what is the future of Bridge House, which stands on the north footing of Battersea Bridge on the downstream side? I can find only that there were plans for a make-over in 2005 but the building, which looks late Victorian, plain but handsome, is still there but partly boarded up and very unloved.
Hi Jill, thanks for the feedback. No, do not know the future of Bridge House, have not seen any details of what is planned for that building. Panoramaofthethames looks a fantastic project. I will watch with interest.
Thank you for the response – only just seen it – and for your latest information and images on the Southbank. How very interesting to see the earlier buiildings, including the shot tower and the brewery, topped with the Coade stone lion. The shot towers feature in the 1829 Panorama of the Thames published by Samuel Leigh and this image will be going online on our website. The tower was a wonder of its age, and we have the following entry for it: “This colossal building, built for Thomas Maltby & Co. in 1826 and designed by David Riddal Roper. stands over 160ft high. Down the centre is dropped molten lead which, in falling, cools to the correct shape and weight to form ordnance. It is built of stock brick and at the base measures 30 feet in diameter, with 3-foot thick walls. At the gallery located at the top the tower tapers to 20 feet in diameter with 18-inch walls. The gallery chamber is surrounded by a cornice and parapet with an iron balustrade. The gallery is 163 feet up and reached by a spiral staircase attached to the inside face of the wall. Halfway up there is a floor for making small lead shot, and the gallery at the top is used for making large shot.”
One of your images also shows the Patent Shot Works, east of Waterloo Bridge, built in 1789 and about which we have this entry: “In 1791, Samuel Ireland in ‘Picturesque Views on the River Thames’ spoke of it thus: ‘A little below this place (Beaufoy’s vineyard on the site of the old Cuper’s Garden), a new structure has been lately erected, called the patent shot manufactory. It is near one hundred and fifty feet high, about nineteen feet in diameter, and works half a tun of lead in an hour. It cost near six thousand pounds, but cannot be considered as an object ornamental to the river Thames.’”
I wonder what Mr Ireland would have to say about today’s architecture!
A digital restoration of this image, a View of London from the Adelphi, will appear in a book later this year published by Thames and Hudson, along with most of the 60ft 1829 drawing of the original Panorama of the Thames published by Samuel Leigh. It is the social change that is so profound, and drives the change of use, landscape and architecture of the Thames riverbanks.
It is all fascinating to see.
Hi Admin ,
Im posting on behalf of a friend of mine living in New Zealand that has a box of photos and correspondance that had belonged to her father who was the Public Relations Officer and also fireman for the Thames River Fire Service in London back in the 1940s. If you could assist in any possible way that would be greatly appreciated as we dont want part of Londons history to be thrown away . His name was Bernard Alexander Dewsbury Dessau .
Hi Sarah – have sent you an e-mail.
Amazing post and blog. As it turns out my great great grandparents lived on Eden in a tenement before they emigrated to the US circa 1871. They were originally from Dunmanway, Ireland in County Cork. I posted this info in the FB group The Descendants of Dunmanway and West Cork – and another member of the group shared this wonderful post.
I have been enjoying your posts since I saw the first one last February. Your feeds are the only ones that actually stop me doing whatever I am supposed to be doing – I always read every word and get lost in the photo comparisons.
Keep on with the great work.
All the best, Jane
Jane, thanks very much for the feedback, really appreciated. I subscribe to janeslondon and you have a great eye for detail, fantastic photos.
Hello! I stumbled across your site after Googling “Cockpit Steps”. My mother and I are planning a grand history-immersive tour of London next year–it’s the trip of a lifetime for a couple of American history buffs starved of local history–and your blog has become invaluable in helping us plan our visit! It’s so fascinating to see the juxtaposition of the old black and white pictures with the modern day color shots, and I love reading the stories behind the pictures. Truly enjoying this, and thank you for your work!
Thank you very much for the feedback. I am sure you will have a fantastic time in London next year discovering the history of the city and I am pleased my blog is helping you plan. Despite the amount of new development, there is still so much to explore.
I”m enjoying your the blog as much as ever and always learn something. No doubt like me you are a keen location spotter when old films of London are shown and recently LONDON LIVE gave us all a real treat by showing Sparrows Can’t Sing. Joan Littlewood’s film is a London location spotters dream. Keep up the good work and many thanks.
I was fascinated by your blog on Cardinal Cap Alley. I have been working in Southwark Bridge Road for a few months in one of the old warehouse buildings which has now been refurbished and used for office space. I go for a walk along the riverside every day and, like you, was drawn toward Number 49 more so that the Globe reconstruction. I had assumed the plaque was genuine and surprised to read this was not the case. A great pity the alley is gated off as it would be an experience to walk through it if for no other purpose than to do so.
Keep up the good work.
I have been an avid reader of your articles since I came across your site while researching for a book set in 1820. My protagonist walks from ‘The George’ in Borough High Street to St Katherine’s dock. I needed to describe the route as authentically as I could. It was a time when a lot of changes were taking place in that area, so I may not have got the facts as correctly written as they might have been – I continue researching as I write the rest of the book.
I am 70 now and have seen enormous change in London during my lifetime.
In 1970 to ’75, we lived in a police flat in Huntly Street, which runs parallel to Tottenham Court Road. I came to know and love that area, so steeped in History. The flats backed onto Heals, which stands on the site of ‘Capper’s Farm’, so I suppose the flats too cover some of the area that was the farm.
Undoubtedly there is a ‘buzz’ around the old parts of London. Is that because so much has happened over the centuries? Have ‘marks’ been left in the very earth? Or am I being too fanciful?
Hi Patsy, thanks for your comment and good luck with your book, sounds very interesting. That is an interesting route from Borough High Street to St Katherine’s dock. The past 70 years have seen so much change, it was just under 70 years (in 1947) that my father first started taking photos of London, but it does always surprise me that whilst some areas have changed beyond all recognition, other areas are almost the same.
Since my last post here, I discovered that St Katherine’s dock was not built in 1820.
I had to move the action to London dock instead.
Just shows you, It pays to do research.
Nevertheless, Tom still walked the route described to meet his friend.
The book is called ‘Tom Johnson’s submarine and how he met Napoleon.’
Here is what it is based on:
You don’t have to publish this if you don’t want to. Just thought you might be interested.
Thank you for following. And how interesting that we are doing something very similar in exploring London past and present! Maybe we can do some joint or shared posts?
Absolutely love this site… only wish I could could find a search facility.
I’m totally addicted to this site. My grandmother was evacuated from Bethnal Green to South Wales during the war, she was 14. She talks about it so vividly even though she’s almost 90. Thank you for sharing this, it must take some effort!
Thanks for the feedback Sam – really appreciated. Bethnal Green did suffer very badly during the war, I hope to do a post about this sometime in the future.
Hello 🙂 what a great use of your inheritance of your father’s photos, it’s wonderful to see the comparisons. I arrived here because I’m googling the history of St John Zachary, and I went to this post of yours: http://alondoninheritance.com/thebombedcity/st-zachary-st-alban-and-blowbladder-street/. Is there any chance of using the photo of the bomb damaged garden, on my cat blog? I’ve given you the address of the blog when submitting this message, I don’t want to use this post to advertise, but I’d really appreciate it if I could. If you allow me, I’ll update the relevant post and list the credit, of course.
Many thanks for your lovely postings, in any case.
I just wanted to say what a great site you have here. I love the ‘then & now’ comparison photos.
I know you generally use maps & walk to find locations, but do you also use Google Earth with the 3d models turned on, as well? I find it quite useful to get a general location – esp by matching up buildings in relation to each other.
Also, Google earth has imager now of 1945+/- so that could be quite useful.
All the best
With ref to the pic of a “a temporary café on a bomb site” on p9 of your blog, it looks to me that it is made from the top deck of an old pre war “Diddler” type trolleybus which used to run in the Twickenham area. Many of these were scrapped by Cox and Danks in the Bow area on withdrawal. A pic of an almost identical cafe can be found at http://www.flickriver.com/photos/23875695@N06/sets/72157626537594012/, picture no 50 or so. It may be the same one but I don’t think so as there seem to be detail differences as well as a different paint job.
Excellent blog by the way!
Pleeeeeease….. can you include a SEARCH BOX so that I can find some things you mentioned in old posts… Thanks in advance.
Apart from that, keep up the excellent work… I just love it
That is a good point, could have done with a search facility myself sometimes. Will have a look how I can add. Just get worried with adding facilities that I will break something !
Just found this blog. I wrote Vintage London – The Capital in colour 1910-1960 and have hundreds of original unpublished colour transparencies from the 1920s onwards of London. If you want to get in touch then email me as there is definitely a book there amongst your blog pages and I could help illustrate it in colour!
I came across your site and find it fascinating.
I work for VoiceMap, a publishing platform for immersive, location-aware audio experiences. They play through our mobile apps, using GPS, and are made using our publishing tool, with free assistance from our editors.
We are constantly publishing new tours and currently offer 34 tours in London
Here is a video that gives you an idea of how VoiceMap works:
Sir Ian Mckellen, for instance, takes the listener on a journey through the Theatreland of London’s historic West End.
If you are interested, please contact me,
First of all, fantastic website. You’ve done some terrific work, so thank you.
Secondly, I was wondering if I might be able to use your photo of the Gun tavern for an audiowalk I’m making about Wapping? On this page: http://alondoninheritance.com/londonpubs/the-gun-tavern-a-tale-of-two-wappings/
I’d love to tell the story of how it was used to hold inquests, and showing how Foxtons used to be a pub would be really helpful.
I love your father’s photos of crowds waiting at the coronation in 1953.
I am making a short unfunded video for Wycombe Museum about people’s memories of the coronation. I wondered if I might use a couple of these photos to illustrate some-one’s memories of waiting all night for the procession?
I recently saw a photograph of the shop J Rogg in the East End of London on someones blog and noticed the copyright was attributed to you. I am an artist based in Scotland and I would love to make a painting from this image but need to check with you first this would be ok?
Thanks David for all the information and photography you have shared so generously on your blog. At the moment, my travels around London are restricted to blogs and Google maps. I have been wanting to attend the annual Bloggers Bash in London but haven’t made it yet. Have you been?
London has so many, many layers of history. It’s incredible. I think it would blow my socks off if I could go there now. I share your love of detail and stories and would only have the time as a visitor to skim the surface…or see very little. That’s before I even get to the people I want to meet up with.
Great blog and so much interesting information and history we just walk past every day.
I’ve just found out my ancestors are from the St Olave area and I’m trying to locate two addresses where they lived but I guess the roads don’t exist:
1891 – 10 Foxlow Street, St Crispen Bermondsey- worked as a corn porter on the docks.
1881 – 8a Seven Step Alley, Christ Church Rotherhithe.
Seems such a shame we have lost the information.
My Great Grandfather Joe Craigie was born at no.9 7 Step Alley.
An interesting fact is that there were only 5 steps in the Alley.
My wife’s grandfather lived in Seven step alley, Chris Ash.
I love your blog – I lived in London from the mid 1980s until I moved here to Turkey 14 years ago. I lived and worked around the West End/Covent Garden/Soho, as well as a long spell in the original Paternoster Square in the late 1980s, so many of your photographs bring back happy memories of my time there.
I wonder if you or any of your followers can help me with a puzzle. Back in the late 1980s – probably getting towards 1990/91, we used to go to a restaurant in Covent Garden that is no longer there, nor do I think the entrance to it is still there – i think it might have been removed as part of the renovations that took place in the 1990s relating to the Opera House. I think it was on the side of the Garden that faces the Jubilee Market Hall (ie south side of the Piazza), but can’t be absolutely sure – it might have been around one side, either Transport Museum side or the side facing the church (sorry, being a bit hopeless).
I think it was called something like The Rock and Roll Cafe – you went up a flight of external stairs (covered I think) and on the landing upstairs that formed the main entrance there was a Harley motorbike behind a glass screen. The restaurant itself was laid out in booths and sold cocktails and burgers, ribs etc.
Even my friends that I used to go there with cannot remember it – I think it had a late licence, as I seem to remember it was always a venue for later in the evening when everyone had the munchies. We either went there, or to the horrid Mexican restaurant on Leicester Square or to the Spanish Garden, which was a slightly dubious bar in a little pedestrianised street off Brook Street in Mayfair – now redeveloped and home to some very upmarket restaurants. I can only think that eating and drinking must have been a great deal cheaper in those days, as we seemed to do quite a lot of it!
If anyone can remember the American place in Covent Garden that I am thinking of, I’d love any info that would satisfy my curiosity.
There is a chain of restaurants in the United States called “The Hard Rock Cafe” — is that what you are thinking of? Here, they’re places where people go later in the evening (after concerts or theater) for drinks or late suppers. It still exists, and according to its website it’s located at 150 Old Park Lane in Mayfair.
Was it the Rock Garden? – a late night club that showed lots of bands. I saw the first london gig by the Smiths there in the early mid 1980s.
Although that was upstairs you say whereas this was a basement club.
All I can find quickly is here – http://www.historyextra.com/article/feature/history-london-10-best-live-music-venues
Great blog by the way -many thanks. Do keep it up.
Chicago Meatpackers maybe. They sold fantastically naughty fried onion loaf
I really enjoy your blog – a really interesting way to explore old and not-so-old London.
Your blog is fascinating and I’ve been following you for sometime. So thank you. Rather boring question but what camera do you use ? I know it’s the photographer and not the camera that make photographs- and yours are just so good. But it would be interesting to know what you use….,,, many thanks
Thanks Martin – the camera is a Nikon D300 which I have had for several years. No great skill on my part, just that London is so photogenic.
My father worked for the LCC many years ago. I have a book he owned called London Housing published by the LCC in 1937. It contains many photos of council housing with plans of estates built, discussion of finance and housing associations and lots of other related topics. I do not want the book but reading through some of your blog I thought it may be of interest to you. If you are interested let me know and I will post it to you. It seems a shame to bin it when the right person would enjoy having it. It is of fairly limited interest to the most people but I thought you might like it or know someone else who would appreciate it.
If the owner of this blog doesn’t want this book (however, I guess he might!) then you could offer it instead to John Boughton of https://municipaldreams.wordpress.com — it would be right up his street.
Hi David, I just stumbled across your blog as part of my research into the reconstruction of London post-war. I am an academic researcher in Ireland focusing on the history of Irish migrant labour during the reconstruction period in London. Would you be okay with me citing your blog as part of my research? Just so I know, do you have any background in history or associations with academic history? (it’s the kind of thing you get asked by academic peer reviewers!) Either way it’s a brilliant blog. Keep up the good work 🙂
Hello, I just found your blog which I find fascinating. I was wondering if you could provide any information on the likely age of row houses that were demolished to breathe the Wickhams Department Store at 69-89 Mile End Road. In particular I am interested to know the age of what was once the Spiegelhalter clock shop. Thank you.
Queens Square London 18th century school Mrs. Denis’s (for girls)
I’m part of a tutorial of students of the university of Oldenburg researching about the Prize Paper’s Projekt of the National Archives, in particular the ship „Concordia“ (Bremen).
I’m now working with a personal letter from John Moore,Antigua Antiqua January 3d. 1758
to Mrs Moore, Chesterfield street, May Fair, London.
This is an extract from the transcription:
I wrote to you a little while ago by such another conveyance, sending of it to St. Eustatius, & so by Holland, and in it answer’d that letter of ‘yours where in you mention putting Kitty to School at Mrs. Denis’s. I approve much of her going to School but think Queen square too far off, otherways have no objection to that, I shall her afraid of your Aunt finding for Her, or calling often to
brace up her theorys. But one thing I must repeat again my first injunctions that Kitty may not be beat, but punish’d (if she deserves it) in a proper manner for children, I know some people have a nack at cuffing their Arms & thumping of them, which very often is very fatal to children.
Can you help me to find out, of which kind of school Mrs. Denis’s once dealt? Even any other informations are welcome.
Can you say something more about your father, why he took up photography, the cameras he used, whether you are working from his prints or negatives? Was his work ever published or exhibited?
I too was a PO TTA starting in what was city area in 1969. Great 3 years apprenticeship, including plenty of exploration of Hostelries and even historic buildings.
Loved your articles on the Founders Arms and Horn Tavern. Both an integral part of my career in the early ’70’s.
Have just found your blog post on Stepney. I’ll be in London next year (from Melbourne) and plan to do some research around the East End particularly Whitechapel, Holborn, Tower Hamlets as well as Southwark. My ancestors seem to have been mostly involved with river trade from rope makers to lightermen. Do you conduct any tours or can you point me in the right direction if I provide more information?.
Hi Carol, sorry for the delayed response. I do not conduct any tours (would like to but not enough time), however let me know if there are any specific areas you need more information on.
I have tried to subscribe but the “confirm” but on the reply email is not live.
Love the blog, and especially the posts tracing your father’s footsteps. It is fascinating to see how London has changed since 1950 (and since I lived there in the late 1980’s). You have given me renewed appreciation for the post-war period, which I had long neglected in favour of earlier periods.
By the way, I know that you are familiar with the 1895 Ordnance Survey maps, but do you know about the OS National Grid Maps from 1940’s & 1950’s for London & SE England, also available from the National Library of Scotland? They are on a similar scale to the large 1890’s OS maps of London. Because they date from the 1940’s & 1950’s, they show changes since the 1890’s & often still show war damage. These maps may be an additional help in your sleuthing. I have used them to follow your explorations.
Access them at: https://maps.nls.uk/os/national-grid/index.html
This is such a superb blog – just discovered thanks to the internet, and am now working my way through all the past posts, which should keep me in reading for the rest of 2018.
It’s incredible how a single photo – although you have thousands of great photos – can stimulate so many thoughts and remind us to ‘look harder’ at this city, or even get off our arses and leave our preferred corner or stamping ground. Great text & commentary as well.
Just found the blog and found it to be a very relaxing read at a hectic time, so thank you. I live near Trinity Church Square in Southwark, which you featured in a post. There is an author living there who is similarly knowledgeable about the the city who gave us a very nice tour of old Southwark locations. I was reminded of his devotion to little forgotten histories while reading this.
As with a previous commenter I would also really love to hear more about your grandfather and his extensive photography! I’m fascinated.
This site is really wonderful! I’ve just been looking at your London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine pictures. They’re great; I’ve been there many times in the course of my research. I teach a university course on the history of health and medicine in the colonial world. Would you mind if I used one of your photos of the LSHTM on my course website?
Hi Juanita, yes that is fine to use one of the photos.
I always read your blog and enjoy it a great deal. At the moment, I am reaearching ordinary people’s back gardens. Do you have any photos of anything like that? Or could you suggest a resource?
I love your site. Thank you. I had the huge gift of being a medical student at Barts 1969 – 1975. I lived at college hall in Charterhouse Square and later in the Barbican. I love the City of London and it’s history. I became. Freeman of the City of London. I was married at Barts the Great. I took part in the revival of Bartholomew Fair in 1973 in the 850th anniversary of the founding of Barts. Your piece in the Hand and Shears pub was wonderful. In the early 1970s the landlord had links to the Polish RAF of WW2 and at one time he banned the Barts rugby club who would go in the evening humming “The Damnusters March”
Smithfield market is a sanitised shadow of its former self when lorries arrived from midnight with all the different types of porter, “pullers coward” and the Kings of the Market, the Bumarees.
Well done, keep it up, it is great stuff.
I´ve foun your page just by chance, while looking around on the Internet. I have been looking for two restaurants in which I worked at London around the year 1978- They were Oslo Court Restaurant, at Saint John´s Wood and the other one Overton´s at Terminus Place, very near of Victoria Station. Oslo Court is still open, but I found for my sorrow last year, that Overton´s had changed along the years to a typical Pizzeria, The Prezzos, loosing its wonderful and genuine shellfish restaurant and besides the whole building was to be demolished.
It´s really, really difficult finding a simple photograph on the Internet about Overton´s of Terminus Place. There was another one called Overton´s, but near St. James. Now changed to Boulestin, but my very interest was about that one from the neighbourhood of Victoria Station.
Congratulations for your really really nice work in showing everyone how nice is London indeed.
Thanks a lot!
Joseba Iruretagoyena Garrastazu.
From Zarautz, Basque Country, Spain.
I’m Beck and Pollitzer’s archivist – trying to replace all our lost history!
I’m interested in any pictures at all of Bankside area up until 1967 when we left the area.
Your history of BPE was better than ours!
great stuff … informative and entertaining. Would The Town of Ramsgate image be available for my next book – with appropriate acknowledgment of course? (Commissioned as The little History of the East End). would need a high res TIF or poss jpeg. Thanks. let me know.
I always assumed Godfrey Street was named after Walter Hindes Godfrey but he was active much later than you suggest as your first reference for the street.
I have tracked down the mysterious photo by your father called Flockton Street. It is in fact a view down Bevington Street. The little chapel-like building at the right of your photo still exists and can clearly be identified. It is visible on Google Street View. You might like to go there and photograph it. Bevington Street is a few streets east of Flocton Street.
I’m a late arrival to your blog and I wish I found it sooner. Thanks for the fascinating posts and you and your father’s photographs. I have a historial interest of the wharves and buildings on the South Bank of the river and like yourself enjoy visiting the foreshore with my camera when the tide is out.
I recently bought a Sangamo Weston S75 ammeter/voltmeter/ohmmeter (I don’t think they were called multimeters at the time), and I have found other models by the same company, but not this one. However, I was looking on Google images and I came across one of a poster with the same model on it. The picture was from your website, and I don’t know if you know much about electronics, but I was wondering if you knew anything about the model since you have the poster?
Thanks in advance,
Hi – I’d like to use one of your photographs in a book publication. Please could you contact me by email so that I can send through the details? It’d be great if you could get back to me at some point over the next couple of days if at all possible. Many thanks!
Thank you for posting the Manchester Piccadilly Gardens images!
Hi, I love your blog! I do something similar (but only comparison photographs, and not just London – https://timeviews.home.blog/ – please have a look at my site and let me know if you need any of my ‘modern’ photos. In the meantime, have you any objection to me using photos from your pages? Steve
Hi Steve, thanks for the link, fascinating set of comparison photos. Thanks for asking about my photos. I would prefer to keep them on my blog so they are kept part of the overall story of my father’s photos.
I’m writing from a TV production company called Woodcut Media currently making a documentary about VE Day which mentions the St Pauls Watch in it. There’s a particular picture on your post about it, the 10th down with a number of watchmen looking directly into the camera, which we are trying to find the copyright holder of to ask permission to use it. I’ve asked St Pauls collection which its credited to but they can’t find it on their system (but this may due to lack of resources during the lockdown situation). I was wondering if you could confirm via email if it did come from there, or if it came from a different source elsewhere? Any help would be really appreciated!
I’ve really enjoyed reading through your blog outside of that particular post as well!
I’ve just found your website and have been reading with great pleasure articles on London’s past and lost buildings. I thought you may be interested in a project I am running, on Instagram, to trace every street of the 1746 Rocque map of London with historic images and photos to try to recreate the lost buildings, alleys and courtyards of late medieval and Georgian London.
The project started before lockdown, and may take many years to complete – but right now this ‘virtual’ tour of London’s past is a great way to reconnect with a city I cannot visit, and explore the world from the confines of home. I am reaching out to see if a story on ‘virtual tourism’ is something that you may want to do an article about? I’d be happy to assist with images and quotes, if required.
Oxford Circus Avenue may be an interesting topic for your research, although no longer in existence, apparently the street is still included in some maps as a proof of copyright. The entrance was via a barred gate located between Hills Place and Argyll St, I went there once in the early 90’s and remember it as being more like a narrow mews than an avenue. Despite being in such a prominent position I can only find scant information on the web but no photographs.
I stumbled across your site on Friday, when I was researching my London Ancestors who lived around Horsleydown in Shad Thames and saw some wonderful photos of that area! They were lightermen and one address was Three Oak Lane, family name James. Another was Matilda Beer and she was the licensed victualler of The Ship at 94, Shad Thames in 1881. I have wandered around that area once but plan to return as soon as we are allowed to in these strange times!
Jane from Cambridge.
What a fantastic blog! I lived in Wapping and Shadwell up to 1999. Including residing in one of the flats at St George-in-the-East, as well as in the Rectory before it was updated in the 1990s. Your tours brought tears to my eyes.
I was having fun reading this blog when I came across your post. I’m a history student and I’m very interested in the local area, especially about the secondary school that was there just after the war (1945) called St. George-in-the-East. Does this ring a bell? Sorry for the bold message.
Thanks you! Sandra
Hello – I was wondering if you have or know of any photographs of 50 Tufton Street, prior to it’s current rebuild, as I’m researching the Free French Navy Club which had 350 members and was there from 1940 onwards. Thank you –
Can’t be certain from the following resources but:
Number 50 appears to be the Dutch gabled buidling seen in the foreground on the left in Collage collection number 141921 of 1935.
Cross references: OS 1951 marks number 50 but as a ruin and shows the kerb recess on the opposite side of the street as a distance gauger to match to the photo; OS 1895 indicates the Poor School opposite, again a useful gauge in the absence of street numbers in the Collage photo.
To complicate things, Britain From Above collection number EAW028520 of 1950 shows a simpler white-faced building at the same location in Tufton Street. The street is marked with a pin on that photo to help find it. A first rebuild of the WWII damaged building of the 1935 photo?
A free login account is essential to be able to zoom in on that BFA photo, well worth the setting up.
Wishing you fruitful further studies
Hi David. I, today, just had a notification pointing out your article on Broad St. I read it through, then the one on Moorgate, and then the one on London Wall. I worked in the City from 1970-1985 in the areas aforementioned as a messenger, for several City firms including Phillips & Drew, the largest Stockbroking firm at the time. When I joined in 1970, P & D were in Lee Hse, on the corner of Wood St and London Wall.
Sadly it was demolished along with St Alphage Hse to make way for the current redevelopment I bitterly regret the passing of the old City as it has lost forever the atmosphere, the visible history, and , most importantly, the people who worked there, who had the fine qualities of respect, honesty, and honour.and what have they replaced it with…….? I echo the positive comments of others who enjoy your blogs.
I came across your excellent blog a few weeks back while researching Pimlico and since then I look forward to each week as you release more facts about London. I know how much work goes into creating each blog and I take my hat off to you for doing so. I am working on research project for a museum archive and I have some details that you may find interesting and of use regarding the businesses along Grosvenor Road, SW1. Please feel free to make contact.
I lived in London for three years from 1987-1990 but it has only been recently, since starting to trace my family history, that I realised that some of my ancestors lived in places I had visited or lived close to.
Reading about your exploration of Mile End Road (New Deal For East London – Stepney Green) made me wonder whether the pub which had been demolished to make way for the Genesis Cinema was that run by my 3x great grandfather, William Swatton. (1818-1865) According to Pub Wiki, he ran the Ben Jonson at 83, Mile End Rd, but from Google Maps I can’t make out the street number there, if it exists. He died at No 72, but I don’t think the house exists any more. There seems to be a post WW2 block of flats there now.
Thank you for your fascinating blog!
Great stuff! I have developed an illustrated talk on the Festival of Britain which I am giving (currently via Zoom) for educational purposes to interested groups, making no charge. Might I use two or three of your pictures showing the Festival site under development please?
I have just stumbled across your wonderful website and was greatly pleased to read the article about the Regents Park Power Station. I grew up on the Regents Park Estate in the 50’s and 60’s. My late mother was born and lived in Cumberland Market in the old houses that would be demolished to build the new estate. As a child that enjoyed the freedom of that era the estate became my playground and I have always looked upon that area as my home. I try and re-visit the place often but like many others am saddened and dismayed over what damage has been done by HS2. I would be interested in seeing any old photos of the estate, the children’s playground as well as the Crown Flats. Thank you so much for letting me join the group.
Your website is by far my favorite on the internet. Well written, well photographed and just in general fun to read. I’m a midwesterner living in Michigan in the US and longing to be able to travel again. Can you recommend any books on the history of London? I know there are gads of them.
Keep up the great work!
I am working on a guide for teachers for fieldwork in this area and would like to include one of your older photographs. Is this possible? If you could get in touch then I could provide more details of the publication and how we would like to use it.
Fascinating reading. Although I’m in the North East of England I love the twists and turns of London History.
I found your blog through researching Clerkenwell. My Great Grandfather John Henry Kirtley Henderson was born there in 1859. His father had been married in Tanfield, Co Durham in 1858, then immediately moved to London but back to Tanfield for young JHKH to be baptised in 1860. Then moved to South Shields in 1861 then Hartlepool (Where I still live). I was wondering where I could find out why my G G Grandfather would move from Co Durham to London for about 1 year?
His mother’s family were big shakes in Locomotive engineering, (Uncles Matthew and Thomas Kirtley especially) and cousin William was the Locomotive Superintendent of the London Chatham and Dover Railway in England from 1874 until the merger to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway at the end of 1898.
Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction?
Thanks in advance
Hallo, your blog is really fascinating. I’m trying to find out about the street I used to live on in Bermondsey called Rotherhithe New Road. I was dismayed to see that Bermondsey wasn’t included in the London survey and wondered if you could help or give me any information? The Southwark Archives are also closed at the moment..Many thanks,
I am interested to discuss Fleet street heritage – is there anyone who can get back to me? Thanks
Hi, I wonder if you have thought about a map, with all your blog posts plotted on it ? Perhaps it exists already, but I couldn’t find it!
It would take some work to create it, but could be addressed as a group project by your followers
Thanks so much for a really informative & most enjoyable walk around the South Bank, this morning. It is an area close to my heart as I was born in General Lying In Hospital & 15 years later spent my Sundays skateboarding under QE Hall. Please let me know when you start your guided walks around the London Bridge area as I remember it from 1970s when my dad worked in Bermondsey St.
I truly hope to visit London again someday! when travel is not so complicated with the Covid-19 restrictions. In the meanwhile thanks for letting me visit remotely.
Just found your site , and have to say I’m really fascinated with the amount of detailed content on this site it’s fabulous ! Well done and keep up the great work
My ggg father (Vant) moved from Ripon to 27 Assembly Row Mile end and was a military tailor in the mid 1800s I would love to know what happened to assembly row In the years after Cooks time there up to the demolition, was it celebrated area or just another street? Also is there any photos or records of this particular house and if so how could I find it ? I’m living in France so the internet is my only way to check out things these Covid days
I’ve just stumbled across your outstanding blog by pure chance.
This week, I was given a vintage camera by a patient of mine.
In the case was sticker of the original seller..R.G.Lewis of Southampton Row.
Although I knew the shop (I’m born and bred London and also a very keen photographer) during a Google search, I found you and very pleased to do so!
Outstanding work, a true labor of love and passion for the best city in the world, no apologies to anybody, no matter where your from.. but it just is!
Thank you for your work.
I happened upon your article “Horselydown Old Stairs” and want to say thank you. I’m Australian but had ancestors living in the parish of St Johns Horselydown in the early 1800s. Some were watermen and may have used the stairs photographed. I enjoyed learning about the area from your post.
Just found your website and have now subscribed.
Dad was born in Camberwell in 1912 and Mum in Bermondsey in 1916. They lived in southwark until they married in 1938, so the area is steeped in their history. Dad became a firefighter at Whitefriars Station and helped to defend St Pauls during the blitz He trained as a bookbinder and received the Freedom of the City. Mum worked at the flag loft in Holborn, then moved to Kellys bookbinders near London Bridge, which is where they met. We are currently researching their family history, so this blog is brilliant!
During my writing of an historical novel based on the loss of the packet ship Hanover, I put one of my characters in the City. She is a clockmaker and I did quite a bit of research around the 1760’s, with, it has to be said, lots of kind help from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Mum was born and brought up in Beehive Lane, off Tower Bridge Road. I have access to the 6 inch map of Southwark for 1920 and there are lots of little unnamed streets of Tower Bridge Road. We have a suspicion that one of them might be Beehive Lane. Any help would be appreciated.
I have lots of information and notes for Southwark around the 1920’s and 30’s and would be happy to post.
What a wonderful site for exploring London.
In researching my family history there are two locations of interest. Coleman Street with specific reference to St Steven’s Church where my Hewett family were married and baptised in the 1700s.
Also the Castle Inn in Moorgate where my ancestors (both Hewetts and Hollingsworths) were landlords. A fellow researcher has found out that there was a connection between the Castle Inn and the Bethlehem Hospital.
Have you explored either of these area?
I would be interested in any information.
Hello. I stumbled across your website just now and so glad I did. This is a brilliant resource you’re creating and clearly putting a lot of effort in. I’m interested in the ‘inheritance’ angle as my brothers and I are also wrestling with a photographic archive we’ve inherited from our father which includes street photography of, amongst other places, London in 1960s and 70s. It’s http://www.robertblomfield.co.uk if you want to take a look. I’d be interested to hear more about your archival work so will DM you. Thanks again!
I was born at the Bethnal Green Hospital 17th July 1930. I am writing my second book entitled “There was once a street in Bethnal Green” It’s intentions are to record lgrowing up in Bethnal Green from the 1930’s- late 1950’s, before the history of this time disappears. All profits from the book are being donated to Cancer Research & The British Heart Foundation. You have an image of Attenborough’s, the Jewellers & Pawnbrokers of 344 Bethnal Green Road. Would it be possible to have your permission to include this in my book? Thank you
Fascinating photos of Chepstow during your fathers National Service: you mention that you have not been able to locate the military hospital. It was known subsequently as St Lawrence Hospital and for many years specialised in burns injuries and microsurgery until its closure and relocation to Morriston, Swansea. Now a housing estate the entrance of the hospital was at approx https://w3w.co/wider.sheds.downward
some aerial photographs exist: https://museum.wales/collections/online/object/63298810-a7bb-3060-9b6d-88002b087c4d/Chepstow-film-negative/
thank you for your dedication in publishing these wonderful photos
Hope you see this note
Been a follower for a while and you have a wealth of information that is very interesting – thank you
Have you ever covered the canals (barges) of London from the 1700s – 1900s ?
Or covered the Wood Green area?
I have looked but been unable to find.
Not subjects I have covered yet (the canals, barges or the Wood Green area), but all interesting topics.
Problem with London is that there is so much to research and write about, and I have a very large list of subjects for future posts.
The canals of London are on the list. They have contributed so much to London’s industrial history, and much of their infrastructure still survives.
Thanks for your interest in the blog.
I really enjoy this site does the author publish any books please let me know I will buy any from you
Hello, I was wondering if there is any way you can establish a google maps current now view of where the Boar’s head in southwark stood? not to be confused with the eastcheap one which I am confused as well!
(1) The site of the old Boar’s Head Inn, Eastcheap, is shown on a map overlay on Google Maps in the blog . . .
(2) The site of the old Boar’s Head Inn, Borough High Street, is shown on Rocque’s map of which a small reproduction in the blog . . .
The inn is labelled on that map which is to be seen to the RIGHT of the letter ‘U’ in the name ‘THE BOROUGH’ (near St Thomas’s Hospital).