Past and present: Historic London merges with modern-day capital in series of impressive photographs

These astonishing images blend London’s past and present, marking a continuity in one of the world’s fastest changing cities.

From Tower Bridge to the London bus, the Mall to gutsy swimmers in the Serpentine, they merge black and white pictures of times past with shots of a modern capital.

London’s most iconic bridge is split the middle. On the right is Tower Bridge as it looks today – on the left it is under construction circa 1893. When Sir Horace Jones’s vision was completed in 1894 its colour scheme was a blue-ish green. Today it is red, white and blue, after being repainted ahead of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Another product of the Victorian era is captured in the composite shot of the Serpentine Swimming Club going for a dip in the Hyde Park lake. In one part, members take a chilly plunge for their Christmas Day race, which has taken place every year since 1864. Above, some apparently more sensible club members prepare for a refreshing summer dive.

More than a simple attempt at cropping has gone into the so-called “merged composite” images. Some impressive Photoshop wizardry allows a modern-day Tube at St Paul’s to appear to whizz through an early 20th century Bounds Green Underground station, with the train superimposed from the left-hand side of shot in its original image to the right-hand side in its new one.

Although in some of the pictures a seamless blend is harder to achieve. Cars shooting up the Mall in 1929 pass winter trees shed of their leaves, as they make their way towards a modern-day Buckingham Palace flanked by summer in full bloom.

The Museum of London’s head of history collections Alex Werner said: “They are interesting images. They capture the past and the present and they give us a sense of the continuity of the city – an example being something like commuter routes, with the picture of the escalators on the Tube.

“It shows we are a city with a past – which is something that creates problems because of our older infrastructure – but it also gives us the landmarks and the character that other cities don’t have.”

He added the gallery also highlighted London’s longstanding ability to show itself off.

“The picture of the London Eye and the wheel at Earls Court show us London’s always been quite good at creating spectacular ways of looking at the city,” he said.

Sebbastian Mann

Photos by Gareth Richmann

Source used


This entry was posted in Culture.

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