London 1930s-1960s: The Photos of John Turner

These pictures were taken by John Turner, a property manager based in the centre of London, and were recently unearthed by his daughter and her husband, Liz and Martin Carroll.
Following John Turner’s death in 1987 a suitcase was passed to them by his widow, Betty. A quick glance revealed family photos and other pictures taken for his camera club, and it was consigned to the loft for 30 odd years.

A one-legged singer and his accompanist, busking in the 1950s.

Berwick Street Market, 1957.

A man attracted by the window display. Bond Street, 1960.

This lady doesn’t think much of the man’s unusual outfit. 1956.

Elephants being paraded through traffic to advertise the arrival of a circus. 1937.

Canning Town, 1938. This shop-boy is showing off a large pair of ladies’ bloomers!

A well-stocked hardware shop, 1957.

An East End Street Market in 1940.

Football fans on their way to the Cup Final, 1936. London team Arsenal beat Sheffield United 1-0.

A smart newspaper seller on Horse Guards Avenue, 1937.

This car had been completely crushed in an accident. Howland Street, 1957.

A genteel lady collecting for an animal charity. Regent Street, 1955.

After a hard day’s work, they are heading to the nearest pub. Canning Town, 1935.

August Sander: German People 1910-1934

August Sander (1876-1964) was the most significant of German photographers in the first half of this century. From 1910 until 1934, he vigorously pursued a visual documentation project: “Citizen of the 20th Century.” His ambitious portrait series was intended to make viewers aware of the social and cultural dimensions as well as the stratifications of real life.

During military service, August Sander was an assistant in a photographic studio in Trier; he then spent the following two years working in various studios elsewhere. By 1904 he had opened his own studio in Linz, Austria, where he met with success. He moved to a suburb of Cologne in 1909 and soon began to photograph the rural farmers nearby. Around three years later Sander abandoned his urban studio in favor of photographing in the field, finding subjects along the roads he travelled by bicycle.

The performers of a travelling circus.

A small brother and sister, in their best clothes to be photographed.

A smartly-dressed young Jewish man.

A young woman modestly dressed, her hair tightly braided.

Child, dog, and bicycle. Taken in a rural district.

A modern artist, posing in front of her work in progress.

A faming family with their oxen.

This is a bricklayer’s labourer, carrying bricks in a frame.

The passing nun was happy to pose for him.

A stern looking man on a deserted city street.

This father brought his sons to be photographed with him. They look undernourished.

Children in the countryside with a prize sheep.

Serious young boys, immaculately dressed.

A working-class woman with her baby.

The farmer sowing seed in his field.

A young woman captured at her window.

Two sisters, possibly twins.

This man is living on the city streets, but is still quite smartly-dressed.

Three sisters on a city corner.

Working Women In Victorian Britain

These photos are from a book by Michael Hiley. They show Victorian women in their working clothes. We owe many of these fascinating photos, sketches, and detailed descriptions of Victorian working women to Arthur Munby, who interviewed many, and collected their photographs as well as their stories.

Housemaids, early 1860’s. They are dressed in their best for the photographer, but look at their hands. From Victorian Working Women.

South Wales Mine Tip Girls, 1865. From Victorian Working Women.

London Milkwomen in 1864 and 1872. From Victorian Working Women.

Women mine workers in trousers at Wigan, 1860s. From Victorian Working Women.

Yorkshire girls collecting limpets and other fishbait; 1860. From Victorian Working Women. Their skirts and petticoats appear to be tucked up into their belts in back.

Arthur Munby standing beside Ellen Grounds, a “pit wench” at Wigan. 1866. Right, a photo of Ellen Grounds in her “Sunday best.” Munby stood next to Ellen in this photograph to show how tall she was.

A Strange Romance.

The story of Arthur Munby, barrister, Cambridge M.A., civil servant, diarist, poet, friend of many other writers and of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, popular in high society, and obsessed with Victorian working women, is almost incredible. Utterly middle-class, but not wealthy enough to cut loose from the conventions of society, Munby fell in love with a “maid of all work” — about the lowest form of domestic servant — named Hannah Cullwick. They were both in their twenties. After a chaste courtship of almost twenty years, they married in 1873, but — as much by her wish as by his — she continued to pretend to be his servant.
Hannah Cullwick, maid of all work; at right, Hannah “in her dirt.” from Victorian Working Women. She was strong enough to lift her husband off the ground and carry him around. He liked it.

London In 1911: Lantern Slides

A collection of four thousand lantern slides was discovered in Bishopsgate. They were once used in lectures by the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. Here are some examples from that vast archive of 1911.

The Tower of London, flooded by the River Thames.

Lightermen working on the river, towing barges.

A tea break for some London Firemen.

The Old Dick Whittington. A pub in Smithfield.

The Anchor Pub, Bankside. That is still trading.

Inside the dome at the very top of St Paul’s Cathedral.

A barber’s shop in Fleet Street, with a very historical claim to fame.

A Chelsea Pensioner from The Royal Hospital.

Outside Euston Railway Station.

The Reading Room at The British Museum.

Bermondsey In Photos: 1930-2017

The part of London I grew up in has changed since 1930, but most of it is still recognisable.

Girls playing in a back garden in Marden Road, 1930

Shoppers at the busy street market. Blue Anchor Lane, around 1932.

A VE Day street party, 1945.

Market traders and a passing Tram. Bermondsey Street, 1945.

Tommy Steele was a local boy who became a famous pop singer in 1956. He went on to a career in pop musicals and hit records that lasted until today. (He is 85) This is a modern photo, superimposed over one of excited fans greeting him outside St James’s church Bermondsey, early 1960s. The same church where my parents were married.

Tommy again, in 1966. He is visiting a school in Bermondsey.

Paragon Secondary School, early 1970s. The Victorian school in Searles Road Bermondsey was later converted into apartments, in 2000.

A grandmother watching her granddaughter, 1976.

High-rise flats built in the late 1960s, photographed in 2017.

19th Century Whitby: The Photos of Frank Meadow Sutcliffe

I found an article online about this Victorian portrait photographer. He took hundreds of photos of the English fishing port and tourist town of Whitby, in the 1880s. Whitby is in Yorkshire, and is still incredibly popular with tourists to this day. The town also inspired Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, and is the setting for Dracula arriving after a Russian ship is wrecked nearby. It was also the home of the famous explorer, Captain James Cook.

I have visited the town a couple of times, and enjoyed the delicious fish and chips sold there. Whitby is also known for the sale of Jet jewellery. Jet is a gemstone made from decaying wood under extreme pressure. It’s a type of coal-substance that washes up on the beaches of Whitby that’s approximately 182 million years old.

Here are some of Frank’s wonderful sepia photographs.
(They can be fully enlarged by clicking on them, and the detail is superb.)

Fish sellers at the harbour.

A member of the Lifeboat crew wearing a cork life-jacket.

A ‘smoke-break’.

Steam-tug towing a larger vessel into harbour.

Ships at anchor in the harbour. The abbey ruins can be seen on the hill behind.

Farming outside the town.

Local women preparing shellfish on the cobbled street.

More fish-sellers.

The view across the harbour.

A similar view in modern day Whitby. (Uncredited.)

Images Of London In 1875

I found a nice group of photos taken in London during 1875. The photographers were not credited.

The Oxford Arms, in East London. There was a group trying to save this old coaching inn from demolition, and they employed a photographer to publicise their campaign. Sadly, they did not succeed.

Wych Street, WC2.

Old Palace Yard, Lambeth.

Old Aldgate. Rooms to let.

Fleet Street. This was once the home of every newspaper.

The Old Bell, Holborn.


High Holborn.

The White Hart Inn.

Borough High Street, South London.

Drury Lane.

A milkman delivering, Lambeth.