London Then Vs. Now
If you’re considering a trip to London, no doubt the history of the city is a significant factor in your decision. Royalty, the war, the glitz and the glamour of the West End. It all makes London a fairytale-esque city to visit.
But how does the modern and metropolitan London of 2018 compare to the London of days gone by?
Well, using the power of data and photography, you may just be able to take a trip into the past and find out. Analysing historical data, facts and old photographs, we reveal the changing face of the nation’s capital.
The literal meaning behind London’s boroughs
Occupied by Romans in the 1st century, London’s history starts in the year AD43. Built as a strategic location for conquering Britain, it would take London 1800 years to grow into the London we know and love today.
Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, finding photographs from AD43 is increasingly difficult - even with the power of the internet.
However, if you want to get an insight into what London looked like when it was first discovered, you can look to its names.
The borough of Enfield for example. The borough originates from an Anglo Saxon settlement and literally translates as “open land for lambs”.
Another interesting borough is Barnet. The borough also originates from an Anglo Saxon settlement and literally translates as “land cleared by burning”.
Which borough produced the most celebrities?
If you’re visiting London for the first time, no doubt the celebrity history of the city is partly what attracted you.
The Beatles on Abbey Road. Mick and the Rolling Stones selling out Camden. Eric Clapton and the Ealing Jazz club. So much glamour, style and history.
But which borough is responsible for producing the most London celebrities?
The GIF below shows you which London borough produced the most celebrities in each decade since the 1900s.
(If you’re looking to go celebrity spotting, then we suggest heading down to the South Bank or Covent Garden. Keep an eye out and you’re almost guaranteed to spot an A-lister.)
London politics - Then and Now
As the home of Britain’s parliament, London has played a crucial role in the birth and proliferation of democracy around the world.
But how does London look when it comes to local politics?
Well, the gif below shows you how London’s political preferences have changed since 1964.
As you can see, London embodies democracy, with more council seats changing hands than any other region in the UK.
First opened all the way back in 1703, Buckingham Palace is the residence and headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken sometime in the late 20s or early 30s and shows the new Guard marching towards St James’s Palace to relieve the old Guard.
Credit to Leonard Bartley for providing the photograph.
Home to Britain’s printing and journalist elite, Fleet Street is an iconic London road that has played a key role in shaping the modern world.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken by Jane Valentine in 1890 and shows the citizens of 19th Century London going about their daily work.
Credit to David Levy for providing the photograph.
Built 123 years ago, Tower Bridge is one of, if not the, most famous bridges in the world. With tourists flocking in their millions to see the bridge each year, the bridge is recognisable all around the world and is synonymous with the name London.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in the early 1940s and captures London burning the morning after a Blitz raid.
Credit to user G-13114 for providing the photograph.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Residing in the city for over 700 years, St Paul's Cathedral was first built in the year 1256 and is the home of the Anglican church, the Bishop of London and the Mother church of the Diocese of London.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken on the 29th of December 1940 and shows the damage left behind by bombers. St Paul’s, as it does on most days, towers over the London skyline.
Credit to user Fæ for providing the photography.
If England is the birthplace of Football, then Wembley is the church. First built in 1923, Wembley is the home of English Football’s greatest triumph - our sole World Cup win!
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in August 1948 and shows a bustling crowd watching the showjumping at the London Olympics.
Credit to National Science and Media Museum for providing the photography.
London has one of the most unique and recognisable skylines in the world. For everything that changes at a ground level, the skyline rarely changes at all.The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in July 1948 and shows the London skyline recovering, just a few years after the war.
Credit to Londontopia for providing the photography.
One of London’s famous West End streets, Shaftesbury Avenue is the home of London’s dancing musicals and glitzy productions.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in 1949 by Chalmers Butterfield and shows the corner of Piccadilly and Shaftesbury in full, vibrant flow.
Credit to F64too for providing the photography.
Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)
Built in 1859 Elizabeth Tower, or Big Ben as it is nicknamed, is probably London’s most famous landmark. A key feature on the Thames skyline, Big Ben is said to be photographed over 10,000 times each day.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in the late 1970s and shows Big Ben shot from the steps of Victoria Embankment.
Credit to Leonard Bentley for providing the photograph.
As one of London’s largest open spaces, Clapham Common is a popular area for families and tourists to sit back, relax and watch the city pass them by.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in 1915 and shows the same laid-back Clapham Common that we know and love today.
Credit to LondonPast.org for providing the photograph.
Balham is a famous district set in the south west of London.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in 1940 and gives you a glimpse of the destruction left behind by German bombers.
Credit to Imperial War Museum for providing the photograph.
Set between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge, Blackfriars is one of London's most famous bridges that dates back to 1669.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in 1912 and shows the bustling bridge with busy Londoners making their way to work.
Credit to LondonPast.org for providing the photograph.
Isle of Dogs
The Isle of Dogs is an area in London that is bounded on three sides by the largest meander in the River Thames. The area is a key feature in the opening credits of the popular soap Eastenders.
The photograph on the left of the Juxtapose below was taken in the early days of the Blitz and shows a battered London.
Credit to Londonist for providing the photograph.