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Sights Of Wonderful London

March 1, 2014
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to publish these splendid pictures selected from the three volumes of Wonderful London edited by St John Adcock and produced by The Fleetway House in the nineteen-twenties. Not all the photographers were credited – though many were distinguished talents of the day, including East End photographer William Whiffin (1879-1957).

Roman galley discovered during the construction of County Hall in 1910

Liverpool St Station at nine o’clock six mornings a week

Bridge House in George Row, Bermondsey – constructed over a creek at Jacob’s Island

The Grapes at Limehouse

Wharves at London Bridge

Old houses in the Strand

The garden at the Bank of England that was lost in the reconstruction

In Huggin Lane between Victoria St and Lower Thames St by Andrew Paterson

Inigo Jones’ gate at Chiswick House at the time it was in use as a private mental hospital

Hoop & Grapes in Aldgate by Donald McLeish

Book stalls in the Farringdon Rd by Walter Benington

Figureheads of fighting ships in the Grosvenor Rd by William Whiffin

The London Stone by Donald McLeish

Dirty Dick’s in Bishopsgate

Poplar Almshouses by William Whiffin

Old signs in Lombard St by William Whiffin

Penny for the Guy!

Puddledock Blackfriars

Punch & Judy show at Putney

Eighteenth century houses at Borough Market by William Whiffin

A plane tree in Cheapside

Wapping Old Stairs by William Whiffin

Houndsditch Old Clothes Market by William Whiffin

Bunhill Fields

The Langbourne Club for women who work in the City of London

On the deck of a Thames Sailing Barge by Walter Benington

Piccadilly Circus in the eighteen-eighties

Leadenhall Poultry Market by Donald McLeish

London by Alfred Buckham, pioneer of aerial photography. Despite nine crashes he said, “If one’s right leg is tied to the seat with a scarf or a piece of rope, it is possible to work in perfect security.”

Photographs courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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Wonderful London

25 Responses leave one →
  1. len permalink
    March 1, 2014

    I am fortunate to have all three books and enjoy dipping into them now and again

  2. March 1, 2014

    Wonderful photos. Love the attitude of Alfred Buckham! Valerie

  3. Jill permalink
    March 1, 2014

    I want to have tea with the ladies on the terrace in the cloche hats! These are wonderful photos, especially the aerial shot. Thank you.

  4. March 1, 2014


  5. Elli Pyne permalink
    March 1, 2014

    Great Photographs and I was fascinated by the London Stone, I looked it up on Wikipedia but unfortunately no one really knows just how old it is or what it was for. Of course many speculations but wouldn’t it be wonderful to know its true value and meaning.

  6. Chris F permalink
    March 1, 2014

    Brilliant set of photos… I would love to be able to step into these scenes unnoticed and have a good snoop around. Where those figureheads preserved anywhere? Also, what happened to the remains of the Roman galley? I genuinely hope that you never exhaust your supply of these old images.

  7. March 1, 2014

    “Those were the days my friend …”

    Would like to browse the book stalls in Farringdon Rd and the bookshop in the Strand! And then have a pint at Dirty Dick’s in Bishopsgate …

    Love & Peace

  8. David Whittaker permalink
    March 1, 2014

    Just Fantastic to see these old photographs..Thank You.

  9. March 1, 2014

    I love these photos, and it’s good to see that the London Plane tree on Cheapside is still there when so much else has been lost.

  10. Rosemary Hoffman permalink
    March 1, 2014

    Love these Liverpool street _ I can remebr it in the 1950s but that is superb !Isnt Puddle Dock where teh Mermaid Theatre was ?

  11. John Campbell permalink
    March 1, 2014

    Listened to a chap recently on Robert Elms’ show who told the fascinating story of a company called Aerofilms who also pioneered the use of aerial photography of London and indeed Britain. Lots of fantastic images available via their website. Enjoy!

  12. March 1, 2014

    So great! Love these books, I have two.. on the look out for the third volume. Thought of scanning the pages many times, but did not to damage the spines. The text is full of lovely observations, such as a chapter on ‘London Types’ which notes many trades (with photos of such people) that have since ceased to exist!

  13. March 2, 2014

    Marvelous photographs of lost London! Thank you for posting them. I need to get these books.

  14. March 2, 2014

    Some magical pictures in the last two London offerings… much appreciated. Would be good also to see some 20th c. versions, especially of the Farringdon Road bookstalls which I remember haunting in the not-so-distant past.

  15. shirley Steans beaumont permalink
    March 2, 2014

    I have been searching a long time for old photographs of London and I am thrilled to see such great pictures , would love to see some of old St Giles in the Fields, if there are any in the books. thankyou so much for sharing them.(from Australia)

  16. AnKa permalink
    March 3, 2014

    Thanks again for another insight into wonderful London. It’s fantastic that these photographs still exist and bring a London to life that has in many parts gone.

  17. Mo06 permalink
    March 3, 2014

    I’ve enjoyed a few pints in Dirty Dicks over the years.

    Great set of photos, thank you.

  18. Colin permalink
    March 6, 2014

    On the strength of this article, I managed to trace and buy a near mint set of three volumes from Amazon Marketplace. This set is truly wonderful and I thank the Gentle Author for highlighting these books.

  19. Hellen Martin permalink
    August 2, 2014

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos – William Whiffin was my grandfather and I’m pleased you acknowledge his – and the other photographers’ – skill and talent. It’s worth remembering that these images were taken with heavy cameras, using glass negatives and all before the age of digital technology when we can check the photos immediately rather than wait until processing in the darkroom! Also an important record of places and things which don’t exist anymore.

  20. Cydney permalink
    February 6, 2016

    Great pictures, thanks for sharing them.

  21. Shawdian permalink
    July 20, 2016

    HELEN MARTIN – Thank you, the camera is a Valid Point. So different to our iPhones! The skill of taking a photograph in those days was something to be proud of needing a lot of effort and elbow grease to carry and set up the camera. Now we just click & there it is. I must buy these books, the quality of subject is to be treasured, scenes we will never see again.

  22. Douglas Gray permalink
    February 19, 2017

    These are all wonderful photos,I have so enjoyed them,thanks.

  23. Jo McKee permalink
    April 23, 2017

    Since I started my Ancestry quest and found my family part of the teeming masses the pictures give me context and imagery. My Dad left London in 1950, I was born in New Zealand, making these photos a treasure-trove for me

  24. Val Marsden permalink
    May 11, 2019

    Some of these photos are still recognisable today, like Dirty Dicks, Leadenhall Market and Wapping Old Stairs (had some great times in the Prospect of Whitby!). The photo of the Thames sailing barge is particularly interesting as my mother’s family worked on the River as Waterman from 1840s-1950s, my great grandad had his own barge but sadly the river took his life and one of his sons. Really interesting research for me!!!

  25. Pamela Traves permalink
    July 24, 2019

    Amazingly Wonderful Pictures So Long Ago!! Thank You So Very Much!!

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