Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Victorian London, live

This is the earliest known footage of London, filmed over a century ago (from 1896 to 1908) when it was still possible to understand why early engines were described in horsepower.

It shows a number of scenes taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand.

There are plenty of famous landmarks to spot here, including Big Ben, the National Gallery and the Bank of England, and it is fascinating to see the similarities between the customs of “then” and “now” – the dense traffic (mainly horse-drawn, with the occasional motor car) is highly reminiscent of today’s London rush hour, whilst advertising on public transport is clearly no new phenomenon – in one scene, an advert for Nestlé’s Milk seems to be plastered on every other vehicle.

[Hat tip Jeffrey Perren &]

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