Scroll To Top

Lost London – 75 Early Photographs

Some amazing examples of old photographs of London. These remind us just how many buildings in London have been lost to regeneration, The Blitz, changing land use and fashion.

White Hart Inn Yard.Borough.1880
“The introduction of the railways has greatly changed the character of these old inns.The ‘George’ alone seems now to do any considerable business in the ‘receipt of travellers’;in other cases the business of a tavern has superseded that of an inn and the great courtyards are either being gradually encroached on by warehouses or have been taken up by railway companies as receiving offices.”

Bermondsey Street.Bermondsey.1880
“One cannot help speculating as to the origin of this singular group of houses with their eight gables.Mr.Rendle who was good enough to take pains – unfortunately fruitless – to glean something for me about the history of these houses tells me that in the early part of this century houses of this type were exceedingly common in the main thoroughfares and bye places of Southwark.They are good specimens of the houses of the time of Elizabeth and somewhat later;the frame of massive timber, else mere shells of lath and plaster;but though often out of shape and leaning in all directions wonderfully durable.”

Temple Bar.City.1880
“The photograph shows the west side of Temple Bar as it was a short time before its demolition shored up with timber to counteract the effects of the excavations for the New Law Courts…The Bar as we saw it till it was replaced by the ‘Memorial’ and its famous ‘Griffin’ was built from Wren’s designs in 1670…The statues on the west side shown in our photograph were of Charles I and Charles II in Roman habits.”

Gray’s Inn Lane.Holborn.1880

Bishopsgate.City.1880

 

Wych Street.Covent Garden(?).1880
“These are very good specimens of the overhanging houses of the beginning of the seventeenth century.It is only to be regretted that the extreme narrowness of the street made it impossible to give the full effect of this picturesque group” writes Alfred Marks.He goes on to inform us that Dr.Johnson worshipped at St.Clement Danes Church which can be seen behind the old houses.

 

Drury Lane.Covent Garden.1880
View in Drury Lane looking south and showing the St Mary le Strand steeple.A 134 foot tall Maypole was erected on the site of the church in 1661 which Alfred Marks describes in ‘Photographs of Old London’.He also notes the gabled house in this view was formerly the “Cock and Magpie” tavern “a place of entertainment in the reign of Henry VII.”

St Bartholomew’s The Great and Cloth Fair.Smithfield.1880

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 73 Cheapside.City.1880

College Street.City.1880

The Oxford Arms Inn Warwick Lane.City.1875

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saracens Head Yard.Aldgate.1880

Broad Street Station in 1898:

A Passage In Ratcliff c1900.

 

Aldgate High Street c1912.

Black Eagle Wharf.Wapping or Limehouse.

Wapping

George Yard.Whitechapel

 

Shoreditch

 

Mitre Square.City.1938

 

St Pauls

Gardiners Corner Whitechapel
“The Scottish clothing store Gardiner, with its distinctive clock tower, gave its name to the road junction. Laid out in 1870s, the junction brought together the five main thoroughfares of East London: Commercial Road, Leman Street, Aldgate High Street, Commercial Street and Whitechapel High Street.
Gardiner’s Corner became known as “The gateway to the East End”.

Gardiner and Company specialised in military uniforms and children’s clothing. They traded on the site for nearly a hundred years, finally closing in 1971. The six-storey building was gutted by fire in 1972. As over 200 firemen fought to save the famous landmark, the 130 feet high clock tower came crashing down on the streets below.

All that remains of Gardiners are two small pieces of wall in Drum Road and Whitechapel High Road. The area around Gardiner’s Corner was traditionally known as “Aldgate”, busy during the day, but especially at night once the pubs had closed. Then the people would “go to Aldgate” to visit the jellied eel and coffee stalls, all night cafes, or, perhaps, “Blooms” for hot salt beef sandwiches.In the early 1980s, the Greater London Council constructed a one-way system at Gardiner’s Corner and destroyed its character for ever.”

Whitechapel High Street 1906

Piccadilly Circus 1896

Euston Arch,built in 1838,demolished in 1962

Bloomsbury in 1963

The City 1946

London Docks,1938

Queen Victoria Street, City

Holborn Viaduct

Cheapside

Old Montague Street.Whitechapel.Date Unknown

Whitechapel Road.Whitechapel.1900.

New Castle Place.1900-1920.

Old Castle Street.1915

Original Regents Street

Oxford Circus (Originally Regents Place)

Liverpool Street Station

Cheapside

Covent Garden

Buckingham Palace

London Bridge

Tower Bridge

Poultry

Ludgate

Cannon Street

Gracechurch Street

101 Queen Victoris St.

Adelphi Terrace, Embankment

Fore Street 1860

Exchequer Place, Lewisham 1870

Lambeth Bridge 1860

Lordship Lane, East Dulwich

New Cut Market, Waterloo 1939

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Alan Spiers
    May 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Brilliant pictures. I’m a lifelong Dickens fan and these pictures help to bring it all to life. Schools should encourage pupils to record local history from an early age. They need to understand that what seems mundane today is tomorrows past. :)


  2. CYRIL MYERS
    June 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I ENJOYED SEEING THESE PHOTOS OF STREETS THAT I HAVE BEEN THROUGHDURING 1935 ===1960 AND LATER
    I REMEMBER MY FATHER REST HIS SOUL TAKING ME TO GARDINERS CORNER *GARDINERS* TO GET ME A SAILOR SUIT we lived in Holborn Bloomsbury which was also quaint too


  3. CYRIL MYERS
    June 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    JUNE 4TH 2012 JUST DID 2ND JUNE
    MY 2ndBARMITZVAH
    MAZELTOV CYRIL WELL DONE


  4. CYRIL MYERS
    June 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    A HEARTY MAZEL TOV CYRIL
    ON YOUR 2ndBARMITZVAH
    KEEP THE GOOD WORK UP
    I KNOW YOU WERE PLEASED
    THE SAME AS WHEN YOU WERE
    MADE A FREEMAN OF THE CITY
    OF LONDN
    FROM THE MYERS FAMILY
    AND FRIENDS AND WAYNE TOO??


    • Eileen
      July 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Cyril, take a look at The Jewish East End group and you’ll see more photos of the East End during the years.


  5. rhona
    June 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Wonderful old pictures of an age gone by, and I agree they should be shown in schools to show them what it wa like, it is amamzing the difference now. I am not a Londoner but it really is great to see these pictures .


  6. Nic
    June 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Wonderful old photos!

    Possible to purchase prints of these photos? There are a couple that I would love to have.


  7. valerie
    June 13, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Born and bred a Londoner, I loved these photos as it showed London where working class peole lived and worked. this gave me an insight into my grand parents and parents lives. I now live in France and teah english I will show mly pupils these wonder photos.


  8. Diane Ward
    June 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Brilliant photos,i worked in the city,and London Bridge.I will show this site to my granddaughter born in Spain and is now 21yrs,I would love to have copies of these photos,or maybe the book.Thankyou.


  9. Frances Dewis
    June 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Love the historical aspect but shows what conditions people had to live in. Would love to use some of these photos in my family history research – is this possible?


  10. Carolyn Leonard
    June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I could feel the spirit of my Grandmother who was born in Old Bailey in 1870. It was then a street address and all my other forebears who must have walked those streets since the 1700′s. Would love to find more pictures of residential streets and alleys.


  11. Richard Starling
    June 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Great photos! Most poignant for me was Warwick Lane, with The Oxford Arms. My grandfather and possibly his father came from there, before moving to Somers Town. I look at the people in those surprisingly clear photos, wondering if they are related to me. Fantastic!


  12. flynnsmum (sometimes residing in e14)
    June 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    stunning photos. liked the ‘london docks’ one in particular. thank you for sharing them


  13. Joan Butler
    July 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Wonderful photos , knew most of the areas . Born in Limehouse and then lived in Poplar for 22 years until 1972..photo’s take me right back thank you for sharing


  14. Gerard Gilbertson
    July 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Fabulous old pictures. Helps me on quest to retrace family history in East End
    (Grandfather Mayor of Poplar 1938/39)Thank you!!


  15. Fred Riches
    August 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Great photos .Born in Hoxton and worked for fifty in and around the city.Loved the photos


  16. helen burdett
    August 20, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Fabulous photos..I worked on Holborn Viaduct, and also on the corner of Holborn Circus, and watched the world go by as I sifted industrial diamonds.some of the scenes were reminiscent of my young working life 60 years ago.


  17. Nancy Pocock
    August 21, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Lovely photos. I hadn’t realised it was possible to see what London streets were like 400 years ago or more. Wonderful, thank you.


  18. molly wickham
    March 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I have many ancestors who lived in these areas-never realised the poverty!
    Brilliant photos.


  19. Donna
    May 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    400 years? Sorry, not possible Nancy as photography was not around then. Although the camera was invented much earlier, the first photograph was not until the early 19th century. The oldest photograph I recall seeing in this collection was 1860 which makes it 153 years old. I take it it was an oversight on your part :) Wonderful photos though! Would love to see more


Leave A Response