England In Colour: 1924-1926

Taken over two years, this uncredited photographer captured London life and other (unmentioned) parts of England using early colour film.

You will notice the same large car in some of the photos, with a distinctive mascot at the front. It was the occupants of this car that took all of the photos.

Hiking In The countryside.

A seaside holiday town and its funfair.

Barges were still used extensively on a network of canals. Goods were transported on them all around the country, and the Bargees and their families lived on them.

Filling up at a petrol station in rural England.

The centre of a small county town.

Old and new transport passing on a country road.

Small boys and a pet cat.


A busy street market in the capital.

A policeman directing traffic consisting mostly of taxis and buses.

A view of Trafalgar Square.

The southern approach to Tower Bridge. (Near where I lived as a child.)

London Bridge. (Much more traffic there these days.)

Women and children outside a small shop, somewhere in London.

The busy Port of London, just west of Tower Bridge. The barges used to line up from one side of the Thames to the other.

Early Colour Photographs From Around The World: 1911-1927

I found these early photographs taken using colour processing of film. They are not ‘colourised’ later, but actual colour prints. I had no idea that the ‘Autochrome’ technique existed over 100 years ago.

Paris, 1914.

A Mongolian girl in traditional dress, 1913.

The Pyramids and The Sphinx. Cairo, 1914.

A German family in the Black Forest, 1911.

A Buddhist Lama in Beijing, China. 1913.

Jaipur, India. 1926.

Girl in a kimono. Japan, 1927.

A family outside their apartment in Paris, 1913.

Religious leaders in Lahore, Pakistan, (Then still in India) 1914.

Lyon, France. 1920.

Inner Mongolia, 1912.

A market in Serbia, 1913.

Ethnic Armenians in Istanbul, Turkey. 1914.

Serbian women in traditional dress, 1913.

A market in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 1913.

Girls in Poland, 1914.

London In Colour 1970-1971: The Photos Of David Wisdom

David Wisdom took these pictures in 1970 and 1971 while he was sharing a luxury flat in Holly Hill, Hampstead with a group of friends from Vancouver. He was born in post-war England to a couple of touring actors of the repertory stage. In 1952 he moved to Vancouver with his parents, and has spent most of his life there.

All photos © David Wisdom

Evangelical street preachers in Trafalgar Square.

Primrose Gardens. An up-market area in North London.

A fashionable woman attracting attention on Kings Road, Chelsea.

Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park. Traditionally a place where people would promote their beliefs in public.

A seasonal funfair in North London.

Street busker with his trained parrot. The bird would hold the cup for any donation money.

Elderly shoppers at a busy street market.

The last shop trading in Stepney Green.

England In Colour: 1928-1932

These photos were taken by Clifton R. Adams, who was sent to England by National Geographic magazine to photograph life in the country.
(Most can be slightly enlarged by clicking on them.)

Mr Adams, who died in 1934 aged just 44, had instructions to record its farms, towns and cities, and its residents at work and play. He took the images in colour using Autochrome Lumière, which was the most advanced colour photographic process of the day. The plates were covered in microscopic potato starch grains coloured red, green and blue-violet, with about four million per square inch. Light passed through the colour filters when an image was taken, with the plate then processed to produce a positive transparency.

Children on a beach. Isle of Wight, 1928.

A postman in Oxford, 1928.

A fashionable lady posting a letter. Oxford, 1928.

Girl standing outside a cottage in Clovelly, Devon. 1928.

Proud of their sandcastle. Bournemouth, 1932.

Boy posting a letter. Sussex, 1928.

More cottages in Clovelly, 1928.

Boy Scouts on parade in Surrey. Exact date unknown.

A girl outside the Cat and Fiddle Inn, Exeter. 1931.

Passengers ride on ‘Billy’, a miniature locomotive running at the Kent seaside resort of Margate, 1931.

A tradtional thatched-roof cottage in Hampshire. 1931.

A girl harvesting barley. Lincolnshire, 1929.

Yeoman Warders parade at The Tower of London. Exact date unknown.

Kew Gardens, London. 1929.

On the white cliffs in Sussex, 1931.

Postcards Of The 1960s: The Photos Of John Hinde

The postcards were produced in the 1960s by photographer John Hinde, a key figure in the development of the colour photograph as a postcard. Each photograph is innovative in its use of colour and stage-management. Shot with large format cameras, the production of these photographs was an extraordinary undertaking. Sometimes photographs could take a day and a half to get right. He used vibrant, highly saturated colours to depict a proverbially beautiful image produced to the highest standards.

It wasn’t just postcards of London that he produced. John Hinde was born in Somerset in 1916 and had always been interested in photography. During the 1940s he took photographs for many series of books, including ‘Britain in Pictures’ and ‘Garden in Colour’ and famously he photographed London during the blitz, which were used to illustrate ‘Citizens in war – and after’ published in 1945. After a short stint in Chipperfield’s Circus, and failing to make a success on his own, he started John Hinde Ltd in Ireland in 1956.

During the following 16 years, he and his studio of photographers travelled Great Britain, Ireland, and many European and African countries taking photographs to produce as postcards. When the company was sold in 1972, it was the world’s most successful postcard company with annual sales of over 50 million postcards.

All images are from John Hinde/John Hinde Collection/John Hinde Ltd)

The Bathing Pool at Ramsgate. A popular seaside holiday town in Kent.

Bottons Funfair, Great Yarmouth. A holiday town on the east coast, not far from Beetley.

Dublin Airport, Ireland. (Yes, people bought postcards of airports. Air travel was something exciting then.)

Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire. Created in the grounds of an ancestral stately home, this became a very popular attraction that still exists today.

Cars racing on a beach in Jersey. The Channel Islands have long been a popular tourist destination for British people.

Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland.

A caravan park in Pentewan Sands, Cornwall. I spent all my childhood holidays in Cornwall, and the county is still popular with holidaymakers today.

The Royal Festival Hall, South bank, London.

The Post Office Tower, London. This opened in 1965, and once had a revolving restaurant at the top. I took my first wife there for a birthday meal in the 1970s.

The Houses of Parliament at night, London.

A policeman on traffic duty.

Battersea Park Funfair, South London. (Now closed.)

The open-air paddling pool at Battersea park.

Swinging London In Photos: 1960s

During the 1960s, London was trying to become the new fashion capital of the world. It rebranded itself as ‘Swinging London’, and photographers were out on the streets taking photos of the new fashions, regularly using professional models too. This selection includes some styles that never caught on.

A man sporting the early ‘Mod’ look. Smart suit, and an Italian scooter.
(This was how I dressed at the time, but I was too young to own a scooter.)

Three young women shopping for clothes.
(Or a set-up by the photographer.)

A carefully posed group in very colourful attire.
(I think this might be the very early 1970s.)

Models in London wearing what almost appears to be a uniform.
(I don’t recall any ‘ordinary girls’ wearing such things.)

The famous model Twiggy, pictured with children and animals all wearing paper masks of her face.

Colourful dresses and berets posed by models.

Another model showing off a designer fashion.

This young lady was very on-trend.

Showing the fashion for wearing old military uniforms.

Taken to show ‘ordinary’ young people trying their best to be fashionable.
(And failing.)

Nearer the end of the 1960s, the trend for Eastern clothing began to emerge.

London In Colour: 1972

Fifty years ago, an American tourist went on a trip to London and took lots of photos. In 2016,those photos were discovered, and put in an online article. Sadly, the photographer was not named.

Denmark Street. This is known as ‘Tin Pan Alley’ and was the home of many record companies and shops selling musical instruments.

Underground public toilets in Great Marlborough Street.

Carnaby Street, the place to shop for fashion at the time.

Caledonian Antiques Market, Bermondsey.

Oxford Circus at the junction with Regent Street and Oxford Street.

The famous Selfridges department store, Oxford Street.

Piccadilly Circus.

Police officers near Whitehall. Check out the trendy uniforms of the policewomen back then!

The Serpentine Cafe, by the river Serpentine in Hyde Park.

Strand, close to Charing Cross Station.

A snack bar window. See how cheap the sandwiches were 50 years ago!

Modern Londoners: Some Of Today’s Population

I post a lot of historical photos of London. The places, the people, the unusual jobs. But what of London today? I discovered a 2016 exhibition staged by Historic England in 2016. They invited Londoners to submit photos and personal details to document the diverse population and jobs of London at that time.

All photos are the copyright of Historic England, and the photographers they employed.

Martyn Hayes, Brick Lane.

Lucy Hawley. Zookeeper at London Zoo.

Bisi Amili, Gay Rights Activist. Photographed by Tower Bridge.

Kim Abraham, a teacher. Outside her school at Netley Road School, Camden.

Liberty Clayton. Apprentice Coatmaker, Mayfair.

Jacqueline Cooper. The owner of the Manze Pie and Mash Shop, Walthamstow Hight Street.

Daniel Harris. Founder of The London Cloth Mill, Epping.

Gerhard Jenne. Owner of Konditor and Cook, Waterloo.

Amy Lamé, LGBT performer. Photographed at the Vauxhall Tavern, SE11.

Dave Wilson. At work in the control room of Tower Bridge.

Stephen Andrade and his son. Meat traders at Smithfield Market.

Dr Nirav Amin. A volunteer at Neasden Hindu Temple.

Kate Barlow of The Royal School of Needlework. Photographed at Hampton Court Palace.

Non-Tourist London: Ed Sijmons, 1978

In 1978, Dutch tourist and photographer Ed Sijmons walked around central London with his camera. He avoided the usual tourist sights, and instead took photos of everyday life around the capital. Most of these colour photos are quite grainy, and make 1978 seem a lot further back in the past than it is. Nonetheless, much has changed in those 44 years.

The Wimpy Bar in Soho.

Run down shops in Tachbrook Street, Pimlico. (All since demolished.)

Cars in a Soho car park. Even then, the cars shown were quite old.

An Express Dairy electric milk float. At one time, milk deliveries were all done using such vehicles.

The Ladies’ public toilet in Rochester Row, Victoria. The lady posing is Ed’s girlfriend.

Ed seemed to like English ice cream vans. Here are two he photographed in Victoria.

An Evening Standard newspaper delivery van. They would be rushing around London all day, delivering newpapers to street vendors.

A single decker ‘Red Arrow’ bus. Those buses went some distance across London from A-to B, without stopping in between. Long gone now.

The classic London licenced taxi. This one is painted to advertise a coffee company.

The Art Noveau Michelin Tyre building in Chelsea. Now renamed The Bibendum, it is an expensive eatery.

Hamley’s famous toy shop in Regent Street. Still as popular today.

Ed made the journey across to East London, to Cheshire Street near Brick Lane. At the time, it was a rather shabby street market.