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Charles Skilton’s London Life, 1950

July 21, 2017
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. Jim McDermott permalink
    July 21, 2017

    From one age of austerity to another …

  2. July 21, 2017

    I particularly like the London docks picture boats loaded with cargo …
    perhaps someone could a do on set of today ?

  3. July 21, 2017

    Summer visitors help support the London infrastructure, in return the city provides lots of culture and quality attraction’s 24 7 unique in this world of ours. The continual through-put of visitor no’s arriving is just staggering. Just a few places shown to visit, Buckingham Palace, Greenwich, & The Tower. I suggest the visitor also searches out the smaller venues, such as community gardens, riverside places & Brick Lane/East End they are the very soul of London & of course all things Samuel Pepys (1665). If you visit Kew Gardens expect to see some 15 nationalities in one day all smiling & in harmony. ! Look up in the low sky here, Jumbo’s are arriving every few mins with more visitors – nice. London is working so hard on continual upgrades, it has too. Visitors are London’s ambassadors when they go home I hope they say; sure had a great time in the UK will go back again soon. Many fly long distances to get here, mine are from Oklahoma US. Poet John. PS – Visitor advice: Good pre-visit research saves time & money. Just pace yourselves during the day.

  4. Eddie Johnson permalink
    July 21, 2017

    1950 was the year I joined the army and looking back, albeit through that golden haze of nostalgia,I had a sense that life was so much better then, I note Jim McDermott’s comment about one age of austerity to another but the difference then was the sense of hope and an optimism for the future that is sadly lacking in these sorely troubled times.

  5. July 21, 2017

    So much better than the postcards of London today.

  6. July 21, 2017

    Goodness! – That photo of the London docks is a show-stopper. The way the wind has captured the man’s coat, etc. Every detail is stunning — One of the most amazing photos I have seen on this wonderful blog. (And that is saying a mouthful! ) I was transported to that time and place.
    What an incredible City. Onward and upward.

  7. Helen Breen permalink
    July 21, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, nice selection of London scenes from mid century.

    Thanks, Poet John, for your observation about visitors: “Visitors are London’s ambassadors when they go home I hope they say; sure had a great time in the UK will go back again soon.”

    I count myself among them. For the tourist, the charms of London are limitless. Missing London today …

  8. Phyllis permalink
    July 22, 2017

    Only five years after the end of WWII. The end of rationing still four years away. Not many people in the streets because so many had been lost but life was still resolutely getting back to normal. Very very poignant #tears

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