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Charles Skilton’s London Life 1950

July 6, 2014
by the gentle author

Now that the summer visitors are here and thronging in the capital’s streets and transport systems, I thought I would send you this fine set of postcards published by Charles Skilton, including my special favourites the escapologist and the pavement artist.

Looking at these monochrome images of the threadbare postwar years, you might easily imagine the photographs were earlier – but Margaret Rutherford in ‘Ring Round the Moon’ at The Globe in Shaftesbury Ave in number nine dates them to 1950. Celebrated in his day as publisher of the Billy Bunter stories, Charles Skilton won posthumous notoriety for his underground pornographic publishing empire, Luxor Press.

You may also like to take a look at

Postcards from Petticoat Lane

William Nicholson’s London Types

London Characters

Julius Mendes Price’s London Types

8 Responses leave one →
  1. July 6, 2014

    They bring back memories about ‘my’ London! Valerie

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    July 6, 2014

    Yet again – note how dirty the buildings are.
    The other clue to the pictures being post-war are, as usual the ladies fashions – look at the skirts in nos 2, 7 & 10.
    No motor vehicles visible, unfortunately.

  3. David j Gabriel permalink
    July 6, 2014

    Memory’s at the age of around 10 in 1964 myself and a few mates used to go to the tower of London on the weekend and bunk in without paying , after we would go down on tower beach for a paddle and off to the square out side the tower to watch the escapist , visitors would through small change into a cloth bag on the floor if any roled away we were always there to collect it for them great times

  4. frank hadley permalink
    July 6, 2014

    many thanks london had less tourists in the 50s and you could move around more easier than today , except maybe petticoat lane which was very crowded on sundays.

  5. July 6, 2014

    Impressive historical city views from the early 50s! — By way of example here are some from the German capital city BERLIN:

    Love & Peace

  6. Pauline Taylor permalink
    July 6, 2014

    The fashions here are unmistakably from the 1950s, I can remember wearing skirts like that, and was probably wearing one when I stopped to look at the work of the pavement artist outside the National Gallery. The escapologist is new to me, I don’t recall seeing him, but the paintings at Hampstead look very familiar, how London streets have changed since those days. I have very unhappy memories of the pigeons in Trafalgar Square as one of them ruined my smart new suit!! A risk one always took and I was unlucky.

  7. Bee (Tingey) permalink
    July 9, 2014

    The Flower Lady looked quite isolated, where is the bustle of Old London! Can’t help thinking it might be my grandmother Becky TINGEY.

  8. December 2, 2016

    A wonderful collection – but I believe the image of the sacks being unloaded at London Docks may be earlier than 1950s. I have seen another image, clearly taken a few moments later when the attendant tug was closer to the lighters, which is dated as 7 July 1940 – and captioned ‘Unloading from a prize German ship. Maize and palm kernels’ I’ve been unable to trace the photographer until now. Does anyone know who would have copyright for this image for a possible inclusion in a museum exhibition?

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