Thursday, 7 April 2016

More wonderful black and white photos of the world's greatest city, courtesy of the Old London Twitter feed

Damned shoplifters! Although I'm not sure this one had quite mastered the art of the quick get-away back in 1937...
Book-lovers never change. This was the London Library, after being bombed to buggery by our EU partners:

And here's what they did to Theobald's Road - well done H.M. Buckea (I think it says), whatever you got up to in there: 

I'm not sure these S&M costumes for Windmill Theatre lovelies in 1941 are necessarily doing it for me:

And, frankly, I've seen more obviously welcoming pubs than The Birdcage in Bethnall Green, 1930 - bet that got a bit frisky late on Saturday nights:

I would't have minded chowing down at Harrington's Pie & Mash Shop, Lambeth, 1938, even with all the screaming kids:

I'd have thought twice about strolling down Black Lion Yard, Whitechapel on a foggy night. This picture of the "Hatton Garden of the East End" was taken in 1961. Despite a lively campaign to preserve it, it was knocked down in the '70s (may God have mercy on the souls of the planners - I certainly won't):

For sheer creepiness, this picture of a 1953 Coronation street party takes some beating. It's Rillington Place. I think No. 10 is the last house on the left:

This has to be the set-up for a joke involving a young woman, a dwarf, a kangaroo and a bloke in a hat:

Remember the days when every surface in London wasn't plastered with adverts? Me neither:

You were always assured of a friendly reception at the Ace Café in the early '60s:

A bus driver and his conductor broiling in the 1930s, before global warming:

Foot clinic, Chapel Street Market, 1955. Don't show it to Jeremy Hunt - it'll only give him ideas:

Young louts disrupting traffic outside 102 Edith Grove, 1962:

If you're not one of the 38,300 clued-up folk who follow the Old London feed on Twitter, you really should be. If you're not on Twitter, get on it just so you can follow the Old London Twitter feed (and the Art Pics channel as well, of course).

I'll leave you with the oldest known photograph of London. Taken in 1839, it shows Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, with the statue of Charles the First in the foreground:

You can find more of the earliest photographs of cities around the world here.


  1. Wonderful Photos.The nearest Pie 'n Mash shop to the leafy lanes of SW19 was in Tooting-eels thrown in for good measure.

    1. Can you remember where the shop was? Did you ever order the eels? And, if you did, were they edible? I've been tempted, but - as with tripe - never had the courage to try them. We have a bakery round the corner (a proper one - not at all poncey) which does really good pies - steak, chicken, etc. - tasty tid-bits involving ham and cheese, and fairly authentic Cornish pasties, but I'm not allowed to eat any of those things more. Chiz, chiz. Still, it's a while since I had a treat - and my mouth is watering...

  2. There were two of these.One was on the same road as The Popular Book Centre.The other was in Tooting Market just a stone's throw away on the other side of Tooting High St.
    The eels 'fresh' from the muddy Thames never proved a temptation squirming around in a viscous liquid.The garish pea green sauce did'nt look very appetising and whats more the mash appeared to be lumpy.So the answer is no.However,I'm a great fan of honest to goodness working class food:liver and bacon,bangers 'n mash,Irish stew with dumplings etc.,but where nowadays can you bleedin'well find it!

    1. Don't you worry, me old sahn - one of them is still there - see comment below.

      The Popular Book Centre is no more (although there appears to be a branch in Vauxhall), but, should you happen to find yourself in Tooting you can always visit the Ruposhi Bangla bookshop in Tooting High Street or the Islamic Book Shop & Da'wah Centre in Upper Tooting Road - although I doubt they stock the kind of pictorial literature (of an artistic nature) which made the PBC such a popular hang-out in our day.

  3. Smoked eel and chilled vodka is one of the world's great combinations. And to answer Southern Man's question, most of the dishes he mentions are on the menu at Shepherd's near Millbank, but not at working class prices.

    1. "Smoked" eel sounds like cheating to me - but I expect they taste pretty good.

  4. Wikipedia is quite good on early photography and on the Victorian transformation of London. That Bazalgette really got about. The Embankment is his and it's lined with granite from Lamorna Cove in Cornwall. I suppose everyone else already knew that but.

    1. And of course, one of his descendants, "Sir" Peter Bazalgette, added lustre to the family name by giving us Channel 4's Big Brother. For some odd reason, the great and the good feel this qualifies him to the Chairman of Arts Council England.

  5. I remember the eels being sold in Tooting Market. My old gran used to take me there and I was always horrified by these squirming creatures. They were kept in a sort of porcelain tank. She told me that you bought them alive, took them home and decapitated them with a sharp knife. I've got a feeling she was pulling my leg.
    There used to be a pie and mash shop in Wandsworth Road. I never tried the eels but did enjoy the pies and that peculiar green goo that they called liquor. The place was always thronging, but, alas, last time I ventured down that way it had disappeared.

  6. Hot news! There's still one pie and mash shop in Tooting - Harringtons, at 3 Selkirk Road (nearest station: Tooting Broadway). Been there since 1908. And there are quite a few others listed in the Time Out article:
    - with several more recommended in the comments section. And it says Manze's - the only one I'd head of - has several branches, including one in Sutton! The green liquor looks utterly disgusting in all the photos - but I'm going to have to brave it (and the eels) some day. The nearest one to me is probably Cockneys Pie & Mash in the Portobello Road.

  7. Brave Man!On a more serious note,has there ever been such a people so put upon as the British working class.Even their food has been denied them and its not because of the plethora of curry takeaways.One is more likely to encounter a real steak 'n kidney pudding made with suet in a Gentleman's club than down The Old Kent Road.
    Some blame lies at the foot of Ronald McD,but by no means all,no sir.Its a cryin' shame.