More Of My London Memories In Photos

I managed to find an interesting selection of photos covering the period from 1957-1966. At the time, I was aged 5-14, but not much changed during those nine years.

Small boys collecting Train Numbers at a mainline station, late 1950s. Hard to believe now, but that was a ‘big thing’ up until the late 1960s. I did it a few times with friends in the school holidays.

People queuing to buy groceries from an open air shop, 1957.

‘Glamour girls’ being used to promote cycling as healthy, early 1960s.

The Supremes (with Diana Ross) taking a photo opportunity with some rag and bone men, mid 1960s.

A respectable young couple on an underground train, early 1960s.

A gang of ‘Teddy Boys’, late 1950s. These fans of Rock and Roll music were known for their violence and street fighting.

Mods on their Italian scooters, mid 1960s.

Soho, 1966. A ‘Sex Shop’and Striptease show combined.

Soho, 1966. A ‘Sex Cinema’.

Soho, 1966. A Strip Club.

The famous ‘2 i’s’ coffee bar, Soho. Many pop stars of the day were discovered there, including the young Cliff Richard. (Photographed in 1966)

My London Social Life

Despite being happy to be away from the noise and pollution in London, I have often lamented the lack of being close to restaurants and venues within walking distance of where we live now in Beetley. This is a selection of some of the places I miss since moving away from the Capital.

The Marrakesh Cafe, Camden Market, London NW1. A short stroll from where I used to live, at the edge of the bustling Camden Market, this cafe was an ideal spot to enjoy mint tea, whilst watching the world go by late at night.

The Jazz Cafe, Parkway, NW1. Even closer, this wonderful venue where you could eat and drink as you watched some great bands or solo artists. Although called The Jazz Cafe, it featured a wide variety of music, and ticket prices were always affordable. We had some great nights in there.

The Feng Shang floating Chinese restaurant, Cumberland Basin, Regent’s Park, NW1. Accessed from Prince Albert Road, literally at the end of the street where I used to live, this upmarket Chinese restaurant serves some of the best Chinese food in London, in a refined atmosphere. Pricey, but worth it, this was also my mum’s favourite restauarant.

Bar Italia Cafe, Frith Street, Soho, W1. A London institution, tables on the pavement allow you to watch the nightlife in Soho as you sip your overpriced double espresso or cappuccino. Nothing better after a night out.

Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, Soho, W1. Not far from Bar Italia, you will find this branch of the well-known pizza chain, with live Jazz performed since 1976. Enjoy your favourite pizza and drinks as you listen to some famous names of the Jazz world.

The Gourmet Pizza Company, Gabriel’s Wharf, SE1. Next to the River Thames on a converted wharf, this pizza place specialises in unusual toppings and little-known beers from around the world. You can eat inside or outside, so it’s a good spot even in the winter. A longer walk from where I lived, but combined with a stroll along the riverside, it’s worth it. And I always ordered the Englsh Breakfast Pizza, a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding) served on a thin and crispy pizza base. Yum!

London In Photos By Libby Hall: 1967

I was pleased to find this selection of photos taken by Libby Hall, in 1967. I was 15 years old then, and this is the London of my teenage years.

The main concourse of Liverpool Street mainline station.

People living in tenement flats above Clapton Station in East London.

Farringdon Station in Clerkenwell, and the surrounding shops.

An overview of Farringdon Station and the Clerkenwell district.

Advertising signs in East London.

A classic ‘row of shops’. East London.

A newsagent and tobacconist shop. They were almost always situated on a corner.

Booth’s Gin distillery and bottling factory, Clerkenwell. The company made gin there from 1740.

Slum London: My Mum’s Youth

The districts of South London where my parents grew up were once considered to be little better than slums. Dwellings not really suitable for the large families that lived in them, lacking most facilities we would take for granted by the 1960s.

They had outside toilets, hot water heated on a stove or cooker, and were back-to-back small terraced houses with poor ventilation and little light getting into them.

In 1924, the year my mum was born, a national newspaper published an article about the lack of living space in those houses.

Two nearby streets, Sultan Street and Sultan Terrace, are shown here in 1939, the year WW2 broke out. Nothing had changed in those fifteen years.

Ironically, despite the loss of life caused by the German bombing of London, it was the devastation left behind that created the space for the gradual rebuilding. This allowed for much better living conditions in working class areas after 1960.

Tower Bridge Raised

At 8:30 this morning, the magnificent Tower Bridge in London was raised to allow the Swedish replica sailing ship ‘Gothenburg’ to pass along the River Thames. This is a rare sight these days, and I was pleased to be able to find a photo of it online. In my youth, the bridge opened numerous times a day to let in cargo vessels. The local traffic would be faced with long delays when that happened.

(Click on the photo for a much larger image.)

London’s Brutalist Buildings

From the 1950s until the mid 1980s, some architects were let loose on projects in London using the ‘Brutalist’ style of architecture. Built in concrete, and favouring function over beauty, these buildings still divide opinion today. I happen to like them a lot. Most people hate the style.

This is just a small selection of those still standing.

The South Bank Arts Complex at Waterloo, South London. Built in 1951, it contains the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library and Arts Council Collection.

Barking Station, East London. Built in 1959.

A Greater London Council tower block in Thamesmead, South-East London. Built in 1966

Brunel University Lecture Theatre in Uxbridge, West London. Built in 1973.

Estate stairwell on the Strawberry Vale Estate East Finchley, North London. Built in 1978

The Mall car park in Bromley, South-East London. Built in 1967.

Croydon Magistrates Court, South London. Built in 1968.

The National Archive at Twickenham, South-West London. Built in 1973.

Dawson’s Heights Estate in Dulwich, South-East London. Built in 1964.

Trellick Tower in Golbourne Road, West London. At one time the tallest housing block in Europe. Built 1972.

The Barbican Complex in the City of London. Built 1982.

Some More London Nostalgia In Photos

Alma School, Bermondsey. This photo was taken near the end of WW2. A bomb-damaged area is being cleared. On the left you can see some new prefabricated asbestos-sheet houses. We called them ‘Prefabs’, and they were supposed to be temporary. But the people loved them, and over 100 still exist in London today.
I went to that school from 1957 until 1963.

Children playing in a bombed-out building in Bermondsey, 1953. By the time I was old enough to be out playing in 1958, I was playing in the same building.

A young couple sheltering from the Blitz in an underground station, 1940. My mum was doing the same thing at the time.

Choosing an engagement ring, 1953.

Taking tea in a Lyons Corner House, late 1950s. Despite the elegant surroundings, anyone could afford to have tea there.

Making the most of a hot summer in London. Sunbathing in a basement ‘area’, 1954.

A Skiffle Club in Soho, 1960.

Cards advertising the services of prostitutes in Soho, 1960.

Guest Post: Gavin Marriott On London Songs And Music

London music

When I went to school in NZ, we had no TV, and so we played games like Monopoly. We were a musical family and on Saturday nights we had a talent quest or one of us organised a show. From the other side of the world I had certainly heard of the “British invasion” – the term for the pop groups of the day. I got into a band myself and learning their songs was expected.

So when I went to London in 1980 it all proved real. Getting dispatched to jobs from Ambulance Control was like they were using a Monopoly board.

Then our Chelsea station did a social trip to Dagenham to a pub where a band called The Tremeloes were playing. “How dare some local lads call themselves the same name as one of my favourite bands” I said to our organiser. I was persuaded to be sociable and so I went.
Well this band poked into the pub corner started off with a Tremeloes hit and sounded and looked like them. Gobsmacked I yelled at my workmates “This is The Tremeloes”. They all laughed saying “how come you have heard of them?” The band heard this and said “You sound like a Kiwi. We are number 1 over there. Would you like a request?” So I rattled off all their hits and my workmates were speechless.

There are so many things I loved about London. I have London pictures etc in my house. When Pete puts his nostalgic posts on here, my tears raise the Thames each time.

But there’s another part of London that’s unique and that’s its music.

A good question to ask is how many songs there are? Thousands. I will rattle off some and you can look them up yourselves or comment on your own favourites – and there will be many of all genres.

A Foggy Day in London Town by Gershwin, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square by Vera Lynn, Any Old Iron by Harry Champion, Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty, Burlington Bertie from Bow by Herbie Flowers, Carry On London by Billy Cotton, Changing the Guards at Buckingham Palace, Dark Streets of London by The Pogues, Dedicated Follower of Fashion by The Kinks, Donald Where’s Your troosers by Andy Stewart (“I went down to London Town I had some fun in the underground”), England Swings by Roger Miller, Finchley Central by New Vaudeville Band, In A Golden Coach by Billy Cotton, Itchycoo Park (Little Ilford Park) by Small Faces, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Kew Gardens by Ralph McTell, Knees Up Mother Brown, Knocked ’em in the Old Kent Rd by Albert Chevalier, The Lambeth Walk, Last Night in Soho by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Last Train to London by ELO, London Bridge is Falling Down, London‘s Burning, London Pride by Noël Coward, Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner by Hubert Gregg, Old Father Thames, Paddington Bear by Bernard Cribbins, Petticoat Lane by Stanley Holloway, Puttin’ on The Ritz by Irving Berlin, Rainy Night in Soho by The Pogues, Streets of London by Ralph McTell, Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks, Werewolves of London, West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys, When the Lights Go Up in London by Hubert Gregg, The Wombles, (lots of songs about Piccadilly & Soho)

Then there are military band items like London Calling by Eric Coates, Birdcage Walk, Down the Mall, Knightsbridge and the Yeoman of the Guard by Gilbert & Sullivan.

London Nostalgia In Photos: Street Markets

Pets were often sold on the streets. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen now.

Club Row Market. East London, late 1950s.

Petticoat Lane Market. East London, early 1960s.

It was also possible to buy more exotic animals, like this little monkey, or large parrot.
Petticoat Lane Market, early 1960s.

Lambeth Walk General Market. South London, early 1960s.

Pearly Kings and Queens dancing ‘The Lambeth Walk’ in Lambeth Walk Market. Late 1950s.

Lewisham Market, South London. 1967.

East Street Market, South London. Late 1960s.

New Caledonian Antiques Market. South London, late 1960s.

Chapel Street Market, North London. Having corns removed in the street, 1959.

Brick Lane Market, East London. This photo is from 1983, and shows how little had changed.

London In Photographs: 1953

I found a selection of photos online, taken by the Dutch photographer Cas Oorthuys in 1953. At the time, I was one year old, and not much was to change during my childhood.

Window shoppers.

The doorman outside the Ritz Hotel. He is protecting customers from the rain with his umbrella.

The evening commute on a Northern Line Underground train. Everyone concentrating on their newspapers.

Berwick Street open-air market, Soho.

A busy pub interior.

Newspaper seller, Piccadilly. News headline of ‘The Hampstead Strangler’!

Traffic chaos in Lower Regent Street.

High Holborn. Those buildings famously survived the Great Fire of London, and still stand today.

The busy junction outside The Bank of England.

People queuing for a bus outside London Bridge Station. British people tend to queue in an orderly fashion.