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Charles Skilton’s London Life

August 14, 2019
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

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    August 14, 2019

    Definitely of ‘unique interest’! Thank you for sharing…

  2. Ian Silverton permalink
    August 14, 2019

    Good collection of old London Life in these Postcards, brings back memoirs of my youth in East London, the first post card of the Pearly Kings and Queens reminds me of what was said by our parents about them always well dressed always healthy looking always well fed!! And all lived or moved to Chingford or Woodford, nothing wrong with that we know,but what did they have that the rest of the poor people of the East End never had? The Guys escaping from the sack and chains where always a favourite of mine as a Boy over at Tower Bridge on the cobbled Roads loved that act. Stay Safe London.

  3. Ann Meacher permalink
    August 14, 2019

    I do hope you are feeling better after your fall and that your arm will soon repair. Thank you so much for your blogs, I very much enjoy them.
    Best wishes
    Ann Meacher

  4. August 14, 2019

    My favourite is “The busy docks”. I would have loved to see the escapist in action.

  5. Pamela Traves permalink
    August 14, 2019

    Great Pictures of the Past!!!

  6. Claire permalink
    August 14, 2019

    All good photographs but I think ‘ The Busy Docks in the Port of London ‘ is outstanding.

  7. Anne Scott permalink
    August 14, 2019

    I enjoyed looking at these postcards, particularly of the pavement artist and the flower seller.

    Card 3 of the docks made me think of a movie from 1953 called “The Limping Man” with Lloyd Bridges and Moira Lister. There are a number of scenes filmed on the Thames where they are actually sailing on the river in her small boat, as well as scenes of the steps down to the river, along with the pub at the top of the steps. I thought while watching it, “I’ve been there…with the gentle author!”

    Boston, MA

  8. Amanda permalink
    August 14, 2019

    Reminiscing with these photos provoked a lot of happy memories:

    The glowing pride of the Southwark ‘Pearlies’ in their plumes.

    At Orators (now Speakers) Corner, the couple strolling hand in hand.

    The amazing dockland scene of the busiest port in the world, notice the out of place character in a raincoat about to be ‘decked’ by a swinging ton of potatoes.

    Posing with Trafalgar Square pigeons, the waving foreign tourist in his trendy outfit among the English suits.

    The flower seller with her stacked empty baskets at the end of her day.

    At Charing Cross a half nude man standing with the immaculately dressed spectators. Did HE tie the escapologist l asked myself?

    The Soho street market – my most exciting memory – l can see and hear all the accents and banter and being teased in Berwick Street. Buying 2 yards of glitz from Theatreland Fabrics, a dash to John Lewis for stockings, home by noon to my machine, wearing the garment that night.
    And wherever l went, l parked outside.

    Thanks GA for putting me in a good mood all day.
    And thanks Anne from Boston – l just watched LIMPING MAN. Terrific seeing my favourite actors in early roles.

  9. August 15, 2019

    A London just before the modern world – a decade before my time but still a London I remember in my early years and that my parents were part of and passed on to me. I can smell and hear those streets still, so very different to todays.
    This blog is a wonder of dedication GA. May the enthusiasm of its readers sustain you for many a year yet, there are many stories yet to know.

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