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Sights Of Wonderful London

January 2, 2019
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

23 Responses leave one →
  1. Marie-Anne Knight permalink
    January 2, 2019

    What absolutely marvellous photographs! A collection of gems.

  2. January 2, 2019

    The most atmospheric collection of photos of ‘old London ‘ that I’ve ever seen.

  3. Ian Silverton permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Puddle Dock, featured picture here,was in Blackfriars, the future home of the Mermaid Theatre,built on a barge the Actor,comedian,director, Mr Bernard Miles,who I met many times down this dank,dreary puddle dock,when us boys used to fish swim in the Thames,he told us many funny stories, as he was then a famous TV personality,always on TV, Music hall,as well as children’s programs,nice man. Sadly it closed in 2003, I have just been told. When we left his company we went on to the MITHRAS site further up the road,this turned into another,London Land Mark,in 1954, we collected a lot of Roman Artifacts from the night watchman there,who allowed us to dig,for Roman Remains, only just re opened under the Bloomberg Building,great site for all ages.

  4. jennifer galton-fenzi permalink
    January 2, 2019

    What wonderful, atmospheric photos.
    Very happy New Year to you, dear Gentle Author, I look forward to what you have to give us.

  5. January 2, 2019

    Marvellous historical photographs. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall at the Langbourne Club for women tea afternoon.

  6. Libby Hall permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Wonderful photographs!
    Forty years later, in the mid 60s, the bookstalls in Farringdon Road were almost exactly the same and were, I believe, owned by the same family.

  7. Helen Breen permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a great variety of shots in WONDERFUL LONDON edited by St John Adcock. My favorites include:

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

    “Old signs in Lombard St by William Whiffin”

    “Piccadilly Circus in the eighteen-eighties” Thanks so much…

  8. January 2, 2019

    The old building in The Strand pre-dates the Great Fire of London (1666) and is still there at number 230. In the 1950’s the site housed on the ground floor, The Wig & Pen Club that catered for journalists and lawyers. I think today there is a Thai restaurant. Above the Wig and Pen were the offices of a firm of accountants, Jarvis, Maxwell Chalmers & Co. The stairs were narrow and steep and as a workplace, it was left a lot to be desired. It’s where I had my first job.

  9. bellehelen permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Really wonderful so interesting and evocative. Thank you.

  10. January 2, 2019

    Any hope of getting to work early today has just evaporated. I need to study each of these photos,
    in granular detail. Wow. What a bonanza. This is a start-of-the-year reminder of why I
    love beginning my day with Spitalfields Life.

    Oh my — the textures, details, fascinations of “Thames Sailing Barge”!?
    I’m brewing more coffee — time to settle in and really feast on all of these photos.

    A pearl beyond price.
    Thank you!

  11. Laurence Eyton permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Wow! Your reproductions from Wonderful London actually look better–higher definition– than the original pictures in my copy of that book. Wondering how you did it, or whether there was a more expensive edition of the book with better plates and I have the cheap one.

  12. Mick Adams permalink
    January 2, 2019

    The tree on Cheapside is still there, a very large Plane. As are the three small shops in the picture! I have a photograph, taken today, from the same spot if you would like to compare?

  13. Jean B. permalink
    January 2, 2019

    What wonderful atmospheric photos! While I was going through them, I started thinking about books set in Victorian times.

    Does even one of the buildings depicted still survive?

  14. Mary permalink
    January 2, 2019

    “Wonderful” indeed, and also wonderful to here from others that some of those buildings are still there. Fascinating memories from Ian Silverton too.

  15. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Yes – Wonderful is the word!

    But there are manners questions arising… What happened to the Roman galley? What was Dirty Dicks? (the mind boggles!) What was the Bridge House and why did it have such a camp porch? What was the London stone and where is it now? And more info on the Langbourne Club please (I’d love to know what the ladies were gossiping about…)

    Nearly all the photos could become a blog in themselves – great stuff!

  16. January 2, 2019

    Excellent, as ever.

  17. Robert Silverman permalink
    January 2, 2019

    Wonderful photographs and wonderful selection, definitely worth reprinting in hard copy along with some of the others. Thanks very much.

  18. Ray Joe permalink
    January 2, 2019

    At least, Bunhill Fields has barently changed!

  19. Saba permalink
    January 2, 2019

    GA, yes, more on the Langbourne Club, if possible. Thank you, always, and Happy New Year.

  20. January 3, 2019

    Jill Wilson – Dirty Dick’s was and still is a pub opposite Liverpool Street Station on Bishopsgate, just a stone’s throw from the wonderful Bishopsgate Institute.


  21. Linda Granfield permalink
    January 3, 2019

    230 Strand–David Cantor’s additions here made me look it up–sure enough, the staircase is mentioned and is important!

    Always so much to learn AFTER reading S. Life.

  22. Jenny Moore permalink
    January 13, 2019

    I’m very late to this (as ever!) but just wanted to agree with Mick Adams – the plane tree on Cheapside, and the three little shops it towers over, are still there…I stood at a bus-stop opposite not long ago.

    Sadly, though, Friday Street, on the opposite side of the road – and therefore the building that can just be seen on the photo with the plaque declaring it to be ‘the oldest building on Cheapside’ – have, almost inevitably, disappeared and been replaced by a crass pile of glass and steel housing yet more ‘retail opportunities’.

    Interesting to see the Bermondsey house built over the creek on Jacob’s Island, where my husband’s family lived in the 19th century. Wonderful photos – thank you.

  23. Deborah permalink
    January 21, 2019

    Absolutely wonderful pictures. I love London, every bit of it, & go whenever I can.

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