1950s London In Photos: Frank Horvat

Frank Horvat was an Italian professional photographer who made a name for himself whilst working in France after WW2. Between 1954 and 1959, he often travelled to London, capturing city life just before the Swinging Sixties changed so many things in England.

(Most but not all of the photos can be further enlarged by clicking on them.)

Teenagers in a snooker club, 1959.

A policeman on traffic duty, 1959. He is wearing white oversleeves so that drivers notice his directions.

A bowler-hatted man admiring a fashionable lady. Piccadilly, 1955.

A well-off man having made-to-meaure shoes fitted in the shop of the famous shoemaker, Lobb’s. 1955.

Salvation Army ladies having a tea break during one of their meetings. 1959.

Lady friends chatting on a bench in Hyde Park. 1959.

This man is standing on London Bridge, admiring the view of Tower Bridge in the distance. 1955.

Children having a boxing match in Lambeth, 1955. They have chalked out their ‘Boxing ring’ and corners.

Men selling puppies at Club Row market, 1955.

People travelling on an underground train during the evening rush hour, 1959. Everyone seems to be busy doing something.

A self-portait of Frank Horvat captured opposite a street market mirror stall.

Rich diners at a Cafe Royal function, 1955.

A veteran car rally from Westminster Bridge to Brighton, 1954.

49 thoughts on “1950s London In Photos: Frank Horvat

  1. (1) Is that a hooker in the snooker club?
    (2) Is the policeman also wearing white shoelaces so that drivers can see which way his feet are turned?
    (3) The bowler hat man is actually admiring the poodle.
    (4) “Next time, please don’t wear yesterday’s socks!”
    (5) Can the Salvation Army ladies save the broken tea?
    (6) Mr. Hyde is known to prey on ladies of the night. That park is prime hunting ground!
    (7) That man on London Bridge is Phileas Fogg.
    (8) Brass knuckles are better than boxing rings.
    (9) Are those really puppies? Might they be odd-looking pectoral muscles?
    (10) The guy in the foreground is clasping his hands on a document folder. He’s not doing a darn thing!
    (11) Mirror, mirror on the street market stall, who’s the fairest photographer of all?
    (12) The rich diners are amused by the guy wearing a baggy white T-shirt that reads “I ♡ Twiggy.”
    (13) “Why am I riding this tricycle backwards?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Police wear much bulkier clothing now, Maria, including a stab-vest. When I worked for the police in London, I knew many very slim police officers. I am happy that you enjoyed the photos. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Pics are great. In the first two the legs seem very short? That lady has what we called a wasp waist…shape was fashionable then I think. I love the ladies knitting on the underground. I suppose if you had a long journey you might do that. I used to love watching people when I took the train. It’s funny how even then all heads were bent, just like now with cellphones. Little boys all seemed very keen on beating each other up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some richer people in this set, undoubtedly. But there was also the pet-market, the mirror stall, the policeman, teenagers playing snooker, commuters on a train, and the working-class kids boxing in a poor area. I think he managed to get a good cross section of society, Liz. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Diana. I always think the thing to remember about cars in old photos is that most ordinary people could not afford them. And if they did buy one, it was usually already very old and they kept it until it ‘died’. So a photo taken in 1960 might well show cars from the 1940s or even earlier. 🙂
      (My own car is 15 years old now, for example.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an era, after WW2 and the rebuild, and of course us baby boomers came on the scene eh Pete and now rule the world. Ummm delete that last comment and replace it with stuffed up the world.
    They are times I remember so well especially (by fluke) I now live near my first home. I still smell the late 50s in my mind as I drive or walk through.

    Liked by 1 person

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