London Then And Now: 1973-2013

A collection of photographs taken almost 40 years apart show how London’s streets have changed. (Or in some cases, hardly at all) In 1973, civil servant John Hutchinson photographed areas in London which were under threat of redevelopment. He feared the Victorian buildings that had survived the Blitz would be lost forever, so he set out to photograph them for posterity.

The modern photos at the same locations were taken by Rosie Hallam / Barcroft Media.

South side, Piccadilly Circus.

North side, Piccadilly Circus.

Romilly Street, Soho.

Covent Garden Market interior.

Tottenham Court Road, under redevelopment in 2013.

The Trocadero building, Coventry Street.

Gerrard Street, Chinatown.

Old Compton Street, Soho.

Rules, the oldest restaurant in London. Covent Garden.

The Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus.

The Coliseum Theatre, St Martin’s Lane.

Covent Garden Underground Station.

Cecil Court, WC2.

Then And Now: Brixton In Photos

Brixton is a district in South-West London. It was one of the first areas to become popular with West Indian immigrants in the 1950s, and over the decades has become one of the most multi-cultural boroughs in London. Famous for large markets, some on the street and another inside a purpose-built market hall, at one time it was also a hotspot for street crime, and heavy-handed policing as a result. In the early 1980s, those tensions erupted into open rioting that lasted for days.

Since then, there has been much investment in the borough, and the proximity to the centre of the city attracted wealthier residents, causing property prices to increase and a gradual process of gentrification. In 2021, Journalist Martin Godwin revisited the area, and compared modern Brixton with the same streets in 1981 and 1985.
(The photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

The Indoor Market.

A bleak 1960s Housing Estate, demolished to provide nicer homes for people and give a sense of community.

The main street, close to the train station.

A run-down area repurposed for social housing.

The Street Market.

Unwanted shops now open with new owners and thriving businesses.

Another Street Market. The goods sold in them have changed over the years.

Spitalfields Then And Now: 1912-2012

The Photographer C.A. Matthew took many photos of daily life in East London during 1912. His photos of Spitalfields were discovered by modern-day photographer Adam Tuck, in 2012. He set out to recapture the same locations one hundred years later, and rather than try to ‘merge’ the photos into a split-screen effect, he overlaid them.

The results give a strange ‘ghostly’ feel to the scenes, and I found that to be very affecting.

Sandys Row.

Sandys Row South.

Steward Street.

Middlesex Street.

Bishopsgate.

Crispin Street.

Bell Lane.

Artillery Lane.

Spital Square.

Frying Pan Alley.

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.