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Sights Of Wonderful London

November 17, 2023
by the gentle author

Jonathan Pryce will read my short story ‘On Christmas Day’ at the launch at Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston on Thursday 23rd November at 6:30pm.




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

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Lizebeth permalink
    November 17, 2023

    What wonderful images of an old, dirty, tired, but beautiful London. Now we have a cleaner one, but it is losing its soul — the next thing to die will be Liverpool Street Station, if we, the residents of this great city, do not save it.

    Thank you for letting us see these glimpses of the past, we always try and picture ourselves there.

  2. Mark permalink
    November 17, 2023

    Oh to chat up one of those beauties (pic 2) in the cloche hats from the typing pool. Take me back to the 20’s now!

  3. November 17, 2023

    This glorious array of photos represents YOUR exalted history, so as an American I will side-step that amazing legacy. (and am sure that other readers will rightfully comment)
    However, this morning I am smiling to think that EVERY Hollywood art department must have had well-worn, often-consulted copies of “Wonderful London” on their shelves. I imagine designers in these departments squinting at the endless details, and then ordering up painted
    backdrops. “Let’s have a sea side view!” “Give me a winding back alley!” “Let’s see a fog-draped
    Saint Paul’s here, OK?”. I look forward to another screening of “Green Dolphin Street”, and have no doubt that the settings were inspired by these volumes of wonderful London.
    Wonderful, indeed! See you at the movies.

  4. Sonia Murray permalink
    November 17, 2023

    Thanks for these glimpses of the world our great-grandparents knew, GA. So many people were struggling, back then, as now.

    The aerial shot of London is wonderful.

  5. Heather Cole permalink
    November 17, 2023

    Even at the monuments (amazing), the impression is of soil and decrepitude, but we know that colored and enlivened these scenes would breathe life. So grateful for Wonderful London and everything it has to teach us.

  6. Mark Byfield permalink
    November 20, 2023

    Absolutely fantastic! what lovely old photographs that tell a story.

    Thank you


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