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The Gentle Author’s Next Lantern Show

November 3, 2013
by the gentle author

Window cleaner & man with a wheelbarrow at Buckingham Palace

There are plenty of pictures of Buckingham Palace in the glass slide collection of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society used for lantern shows at the Bishopsgate Institute a century ago – no doubt employed to encourage patriotic sentiments in the audience.

But this is the one that interests me most, because of the man with the wheelbarrow walking past and the window cleaner perched so precariously upon the second floor window ledge. These individuals may have been merely incidental for the photographer but, to my eyes, they are the subject of the picture – revealing an unexpected glimpse of the people who maintained the facade of power.

Today, I publish photographs of the working people of London from the collection – in some rare examples they are the primary focus of the picture but, in many more, they are just caught unexpectedly by the camera in the midst of toil.

The publication of my Album gives me a wonderful excuse to stage live presentations of some of the photos of London I love the most and announcing these gives me the opportunity to publish more unseen glass slides from the collection.

Through coming weeks, I shall be undertaking a peregrination around London performing my magic lantern show at diverse venues. Next week’s stop is at Woolfson & Tay, an enterprising independent bookshop in Bankside SE1, and I look forward to seeing you there on Thursday night.



Thursday 7th November 7:00pm at Woolfson & Tay, 39 Bear Lane, Bankside, SE1

I will be showing 100 pictures – including selected glass slides from a century ago, telling the stories and counterpointing them with favourite photographs of the unexpected wonders of London today.

Tickets are £3 and reservable by calling o20 7928 6570 or you can buy them online here


Packing chocolates

Waiting outside the British Museum for a fare

Sweeping snow outside the Green Dragon

Minding an automated bakery

Packing tea

Guarding Parliament

Taking a break at the distillery

Selling papers in the gutter

Making a delivery to a bookshop in Wych St

Practising with the hoses

Minding the cart outside Drury Lane

Counting coins at the mint

Casting bells

Shepherding in Richmond Park

Minding the pumps in Canonbury

Wheeling the barrow through Parliament Sq

Cleaning the optician’s sign

Lugging the timber down Whitehall

Selling flowers in PIccadilly

Glass slides courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

9 Responses leave one →
  1. November 3, 2013

    What a daunting idea to have to clean all the windows of the palace, I will bear it in mind next time I grumble about cleaning my few windows! Valerie

  2. Paul Kelly permalink
    November 3, 2013

    The picture of the fire pumps practicing with the hoses is in Southwark , adjacent to Southwark fire station. It is where Firefighters do their basic training and still use it to this day. Those old buildings are still there but are infrequently used and because the London Fire Brigade have moved to nearby modern quarters the old buildings have an uncertain future. Maybe the G.A. could request permission to photograph the courtyard today and compare then and now?

  3. November 3, 2013

    what a great set of photos!

  4. Roger Tiller permalink
    November 3, 2013

    Just Fantastic keep them coming

  5. November 3, 2013

    I am so pleased to have found your fantastic blog. Dear Frances from New York (City Views Country Dreams) introduced me to it.

  6. Susan Proctor permalink
    November 3, 2013

    Do you have more information about the church behind the shop in “Cleaning the optician’s sign”?

    Thank you for the wonderful photos.

  7. Paul Adderley permalink
    November 3, 2013

    St. Ethelburga’s Church is still there to this day on Bishopsgate although, sadly, the shop in front is long gone.

  8. Carol Himmelman-Christopher permalink
    November 5, 2013

    Thank you. Such treasures you have found — and shared.

  9. bob lilly permalink
    November 18, 2013

    Dick Hobbs, my dear friend and colleague in crime, sent me the photos. They are great and I enjoyed very much.

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