London Then And Now: Composite Photos

Some images from an exhibition held at The Museum of London eight years ago. They took photos of certain areas in 2014, then ‘merged’ them with photos of the exact same spot taken throughout history.

(All the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Gloucester Road Underground Station. The original dates from 1868.

Duncannon Street, WC2. The original image is from before WW1.

The view from Tower Bridge. The original photo was taken in 1920.

Covent Garden Station, WC2. The original photo was taken in 1930.

London Bridge Station. The original photo dates from around 1930.

Bow Lane. 1930 and 2014.

Brick Lane, East London. 1950s and 2014.

Soho, 1950 and 2014.

Victoria Station, 1950 and 2014.

Piccadilly Circus. 1953 and 2014.

London Then And Now In Photos

In 2010, journalist Claire Cohen wrote a newspaper article comparing old photos of London with the same locations then. The old photos had been discovered in the archives of English Heritage, and she asked photographer David Crump to take images of the identical places to compare them.

Earlham Street, 1903. At the time, the Seven Dials district was considered to be a terrible lawless slum.

Earlham Street, 2010. Now part of the trendy Covent Garden area, the 1903 pub has become a designer clothes shop.

Borough High Street, 1903. Just south of London Bridge, it was in one of the poorest districts of London.

Borough High Street, 2012. The same area, with the old buildings replaced by a horrible office block.

Bush House, Aldwych, 1932. Looking quite elegant.

Bush House in 2010, the same area overcrowded with offices.

Tower Bridge under construction, 1887.

Tower Bridge in 2010.

The Pool of London in 1914, busy with commercial shipping and warehouses.

The same view in 2010, with only pleasure craft on The Thames.

Oxford Circus, 1910.

Oxford Circus 100 years later.

Regent Street at the junction with Piccadilly Circus, 1910.

The same corner, 100 years later.

Vaping v Smoking: My conclusions

I have been asked to write an update about using electronic smoking products, as opposed to smoking ‘real’ cigarettes. So, Madelyn, this is for you. (And anyone else who is remotely interested.)

In 2012, Julie and I both gave up smoking. That’s not strictly true, as we actually gave up smoking real cigarettes, and switched to the electronic alternatives instead. Less chemicals, no carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. Few (if any) cancerous by-products, and absolutely no odour on our clothes, or in our house. Our main reason was financial, we make no secret of that. The cost of tobacco cigarettes was getting out of proportion, and exceeding our ability to justify spending such a large part of our income on them.

After a couple of years, we switched from the electronic cigarette ‘lookalikes’ to vaping machines that use separate fluid. The main reason for this was because the smaller batteries were unreliable, and there was a lack of choice in the range of flavours. However, this also brought an unexpected reduction in costs too, making it even cheaper to keep away from ‘real’ smoking.

So just how much do we save? Is it worth switching to vaping, purely in monetary terms? To show just how much you could save, (and without going on about the additional health benefits) I will give an example of one typical year. Of course, you have to allow for the setup costs of buying the vaping devices. But once they are out of the way, daily costs are minimal, compared to the equivalent for cigarettes. Here is one year, broken down purely in financial terms. I am allowing for two of us using vaping devices here. If you are one person, you can halve these figures.

Conventional cigarettes. (UK prices for Marlboro Red/ Lucky Strike.)

Approx £9 per packet. ($11.27 US) This is the lowest estimate, at current prices.

Me. Ten packets weekly.
Julie, Six packets weekly.
Weekly cost. £129 ($161.62 US)
Annual cost. £6,708 ($8,404 US)

Vaping. Prices based on buying online, from Amazon, and other online retailers.

Kangertech Evod Mega devices X 6 units (Three each, so we have spare batteries)

Cost £19-£26 each, depending on retailer. Say £22 ($27.50 US) each for the sake of this post.
Total. £132 ($165.37 US)
Fluid to fill devices at around £1.50 a bottle.
Me. Three bottles weekly.
Julie. two bottles weekly.
Weekly cost. £7.50 ($9.40 US)
Annual cost. £390 ($488.51 US)
Replacement heating coils for vaping devices.
We use around four each week, between us. They cost £1.20 ($1.50 US) each.
Weekly cost. £4.80 ($6 US)
Annual cost. £249.60 ($312.65 US)

Total cost for vaping in one year, for two people. £804.97 ($1009 US)
Divide by two for one user. £403 ($505 US)
Second and subsequent years. Remove the initial cost of vaping devices by deducting the £132, and annual costs come down to an average of £673 ($843 US) for two people. So, the saving is easy to work out.

First year saving. £5,903 ($7,394 US) For two people
Second and subsequent years savings. £6,035 ($7,560 US) for two people.

I think that the sums are right, but feel free to tell me if I have made an error. Even if I am out by a little, you can see that the cost differences are immense. If nothing else, you will have a great deal more money in your pocket. You may still have to face being addicted to nicotine, but you will not be inhaling hundreds of other poisonous cocktails present in the normal cigarette smoke. You will also have something to hold, something to put into your mouth, and a device that fulfills the secondary desires of most smokers, as well as the primary one. That of inhaling nicotine in vapour.

For my wife and I, it has been a success story. We have not had a cigarette since September, 2012, and see no reason why we would ever go back to them. It is not, ‘Not Smoking’, I make no claim for that. But it is without doubt safer smoking, and incredibly cheaper too.
There are hundreds of devices available, in many styles and sizes. I only mention the brand we chose for cost estimation purposes.