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Some Sights Of Wonderful London

March 3, 2016
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

12 Responses leave one →
  1. March 3, 2016

    Wonderful photos and memories. Valerie

  2. Nanna permalink
    March 3, 2016

    Beautiful – I really enjoyed these old photos – and recognized Whistler “style”

  3. Sue permalink
    March 3, 2016

    Wonderful photographs. Mr.Buckham might have been wiser to tie his left leg in as well.

  4. March 3, 2016

    Many, many thanks for this incomparable grouping. These photos are so full of rich, dense, lavish detail. Each one is an “imagination prompt”. I can only guess what the gents found in the book stalls, the racket the kids made as they raced through the streets, the chatter of the ladies having tea with that amazing vista behind them, and the intricacy of the various trade signs, etc. Each and every photo, a preserved “show and tell”. A total treat.

  5. Linda Granfield permalink
    March 3, 2016

    That aerial shot with the clouds cooperating so nicely as backdrop– Dramatic!

    You left the best ’til last!


  6. Penny Wythes permalink
    March 3, 2016

    Wonderful pictures – wish someone would re print this book. I’d love a copy.

  7. Ian Silverton permalink
    March 3, 2016

    Who was the famous comedy actor of the 50s who made puddle dock his base for a stage shows,met him many times,when he was working on it on a BARGE, Bernard something ????

  8. Ian Silverton permalink
    March 3, 2016

    Got it, Bernard Miles,nice man.

  9. Ron Pummell permalink
    March 4, 2016

    Re the photo titled ‘the plain tree in Cheapside’. There is a shop there headed ‘Salmon and Gluckstein’ and it seems that they are tobacconists. Strange, because it a well known fact that the Salmon and Gluckstein families were the founders of the J.Lyons & Company.(Teashops etc. etc,)

  10. Shirley Brittin permalink
    March 5, 2016

    Great photos. My Father spent hours looking through the books in Farringdon Road and as a scientist initially he bought some huge scientific books. He loved London all the history gained from books. I wish he were here to enjoy all these and the “Gentle Author”

  11. Richard Arnopp permalink
    May 19, 2017

    Wonderful photos!

    On a pedantic note, the Roman ship was not a galley, though it was often described as such.

    “The Roman boat found in 1910 during the excavations for the concrete raft on which County Hall is built, excited much interest. Parts of the timbers were destroyed before their presence was recognized, but what was left of the boat was carefully lifted, treated with preservative and deposited in the London Museum. At the time she was thought to have been a Roman galley, and from the evidence of three coins found in her was dated at about the year A.D. 300. One theory was that she went down in a fight between Allectus and Constantius in the year A.D. 296, and the large round stone embedded in her timbers, which might have been ammunition thrown from a Roman ballista, lent colour to this assumption. (fn. 145)

    More recently experts in nautical research have considered that her timbers were too lightly jointed for a sea-going vessel and that it was unlikely that she ever possessed a mast. It seems probable that she was a ferry boat plying across the river and that she became derelict in her old age or was sunk by accident. There was a large hole in her bottom and she may have met her end by drifting on to her mooring post in a high tide. This type of vessel would have been much shallower in draft than a galley and much shorter in proportion to her width. She could have been propelled by one man rowing her standing as is still done on vessels of this type. If, as is suggested on p. I, a Roman road from Canterbury crossed the river to Westminster from a point between Westminster and Lambeth Bridges, then this may have been one of the boats employed at the crossing; this is, however, conjecture. Her timbers had been repaired in a number of places, showing that she was an old boat when she met her end. A varied collection of pottery and other objects were found in and around her, most of which have been preserved.”

  12. Peter Harris permalink
    July 2, 2023

    These are great volumes. I believe they were compiled from weekly magazines around the 1920’s. Some interesting photo also show the before and after photos of developments in that period & before. In particular The Haymarket, which has 3 different periods of development. Sadly you can add a 4th to it now of bland modernist.

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