Candid Photos Of London Life: 1873-1978

Many photographers seek out situations where the subjects are not posed, or perhaps completely unaware of the camera. These are generally known as ‘Candids’, and there are many to be found on the Internet. Here is a selection, covering a long period of London’s history.

1873. A fish-porter at Billingsgate Market.

1873. A woman selling magazines and newspapers on a London street.

1900. A street scene taken in the North London borough of Barnet. It looks like a village in the countryside.
The children are resting against a horse-trough, which would be filled with water for thirsty horses.

1900. Busy financial workers close to The Bank of England.

1905. Sloane Square in London. It appears to be amazingly quiet on that day.

1957. Children playing cricket on a Paddington Street.

1957. A street scene on Latimer Road, Notting Hill. One of the first multi-cultural districs following post-war immigration.

1957. A woman feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square, Central London. The sale of pigeon food was banned there, in 2000.

1961. A top-hatted banker outside the Bank of England.

1961. This lady saw the camera, and was not happy to be photographed outside a branch of Woolworth’s.

1961. A street flower-seller brandishing his bunches of flowers.

1969. Piccadilly Circus, Central London. A group of neo-Nazi skinheads strut past some hippies relaxing on the statue. A clash of cultures.

1973. Two women chat on an East London Street.

1978. A bus stuck in traffic on London Bridge.

34 thoughts on “Candid Photos Of London Life: 1873-1978

  1. (1) I’m a fish-porter supporter.
    (2) Next day’s headline: “Woman Selling Newspapers and Magazines Run Over by Horse and Carriage.”
    (3) A fish jumped out of the fish-porter’s basket, landed in the horse trough, and is now entertaining the children.
    (4) Art Longstreet: “I wonder what Banksy is up to today?”
    (5) If photographs could talk…
    (6) Jiminy is really good at cricket.
    (7) “I slept here all night. I want to be the first person to buy a pack of Gold Flake cigarettes when the store opens!”
    (8) “This photo gives me an idea.” (Alfred Hitchcock)
    (9) The banker does magic tricks on the side. There’s a rabbit in his hat. Take my word for it.
    (10) “Now that you’ve taken my picture, I guess I’d better take back that stuff I shoplifted at Woolworth’s.”
    (11) “Hey, Romeo! Did I bring enough flowers for you today?”
    (12) Skinhead hipsters and headstrong hippies are like oil and water, and yet they must have something in common.
    (13) Overheard:
    Mum #1: “My baby can spell ‘lackadaisical’ backwards.”
    Mum #2: “That’s nice, but mine can do a dozen one-arm push-ups!”
    (14) “Hey, driver! I just watched that Keanu Reeves film, ‘Speed’. It was nothing like this!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant captures. I can remember seeing most of those (well those that are from ’57 on anyway!) Skin heads, neo-Nazis….there always will be a bunch of miserable yobos to make life hard. Don’t you wish they would just beat each other up and leave the rest of us to all those other problems?


  3. The skinheads from that era didn’t identify as ‘neo-Nazi’. They were renowned followers of Jamaican music and (to a lesser extent) culture. They did however clash with Asian immigrants. It was the second wave of skins (post punk, 1978/9 onwards) that tended to be violently racist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that clarification, popman. I was 17 in 1969, and most of the skinheads I encountered in South London were football hooligans, to be honest.
      My caption was based on something similar in the original article, referring to the hippies being afraid of ‘an aggressive neo-Nazi group of skinheads’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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