Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

London in the 1950s

I often think about my childhood in London, and today was no exception. So with the help of some images found online, I would like to give you some idea of how very different the city was, more than sixty years ago.

We grew up around sites that had been bombed during the recent war, and were yet to be rebuilt. And they were our playgrounds.

This was the area around St Paul’s Cathedral at the time.

Much of the infrastructure around the inner-city railway lines had been badly damaged.

Traffic was just as bad then as now. No bus lanes, and every one for themselves. This is Hyde Park Corner, around the time I started school.

And Regent Street, the famous shopping district.

Most people lived in very poor conditions at the time. These are flats in Wapping, East London, around 1955.

But there was always escape, in the luxurious cinemas of the West End. This one is still there today. It was showing ‘Giant’, in 1956.

53 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. This was delightful, Pete. Wonderful photos and important pause for thought of living in a war torn area. Americans have never experienced that with the exception of our own Civil War. Gee, I thought the 50โ€™s was not so long ago. ๐Ÿ™‚ Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In big cities time seems to move faster and the landscape also changes so much faster than in villages, doesn’t it? It’s amazing. Due to a variety of historical anniversaries I’ve seen quite a few old pictures and been to talks about Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War, and goodness, it has changes since as well… Thanks for the memories, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olga. I have seen many civil war photos of Barcelona, and recognised some places when I visited the city. But the changes along the beach district and the outskirts were very noticeable.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. It must have been strange growing up in black and white ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a building site to play in as they built a new estate close to us as I was growing up, the danger factor not quite as real, but non the less there.
    Lots of old military site still around here, very popular with the metal detector brigade who always seem to be finding something unexploded.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Pete ๐Ÿ™‚ You know when you talk about going to the movies being an escape, I am reminded of Terence Davies for some odd reason. I think it may be because that is the way he depicted it in both his early short films and subsequently, in both Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, which are all said to be autobiographical. Speaking of Davies, here is a wonderful youtube video link of him talking about his love of Ealing comedies ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I spent about ยฝ of my childhood in Badger Village, Wisconsin. The village was built during WWII as housing for a munitions plant. After the war it was used as married housing for the U of Wisconsinโ€”GI Bill housing so to speak. Then with the Korean War, the pant was revitalized and workers again used the housing. I do not know if it is even still there.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the guy on the stilts in the first photo. I remember having a pair of stilts made by my dad from odd bits of wood. You donโ€™t get that sort of stuff now.

    The boy with the pickaxe looks like a prototype for knife crime. If we found something like that, itโ€™d be along to the junk shop for a few bob in cash. I found an epee once and got two quid for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, wow! Those bomb site playgrounds, well described in Rose Macauleyโ€™s โ€˜The World my Wildernessโ€™…the wrecked and flowering wastes around St Paulโ€™s

    Liked by 1 person

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