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Step into the Dark City:
Evocative 1930s´ pictures reveal
the eerie alleys and lost
buildings of London

Daily Mail [UK], by Sam Webb

Original Article

Posted By:Attercliffe, 1/6/2013 6:31:34 PM

These atmospheric images show buildings, alleys and streets from the rapidly-disappearing London of the 1930s - cloaked in darkness. They were collated by a pair of photographers called John Morrison and Harold Burdekin for a book called London Night, which was published in 1934. They show the capital as it was before smog, before the Blitz changed the face of the city forever, and before the brutalist concrete monoliths of post-war rebuilding. They used newly-emerging night photography techniques to capture London´s unique atmosphere. It was a city of alleys lit by dim lamps, stark contrasts of light and dark and

Comments:
Quite stunning photos. I knew a few places like this in the English industrial city where I spent a good part of my childhood. They´re places where the cobblestones, bricks and sidewalks talk to you. The photographer has captured those qualities.

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: halfnorsk, 1/6/2013 6:50:19 PM     (No. 9102078)

How can you exhibit such great art without a crucifix in a beaker of urine?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: The Other Guy, 1/6/2013 7:06:32 PM     (No. 9102096)

Reminds me of scenes from old suspense movies that were typically aired on TV late at nite during the 1950´s. Don´t recall any specific movie, but watched many of them. Seemed that the action always occurred at night in a fog and was only partially lit by intermittent street lives or some such source.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: whyyeseyec, 1/6/2013 7:23:16 PM     (No. 9102112)

Where are Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet when you need them.....

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Sheepfarmer, 1/6/2013 8:25:06 PM     (No. 9102194)

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce should be there.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Charactercounts, 1/6/2013 10:46:32 PM     (No. 9102323)

Wonderful pictures! They made me think of all those wonderful old movies set in London. Thank you for posting, OP.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: reddfroge, 1/7/2013 12:23:26 AM     (No. 9102407)

wonder how many of those ´scenes´ made it through WWII???

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Reply 7 - Posted by: reddfroge, 1/7/2013 12:25:03 AM     (No. 9102410)

Oh, #3...love the Peter Lorre reference

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Reply 8 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623, 1/7/2013 1:22:33 AM     (No. 9102451)

The only thing missing from the photos was a caped person running away like Jack the Ripper.



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Reply 9 - Posted by: Islander, 1/7/2013 5:55:54 AM     (No. 9102547)

Before smog!?! Surely we jest. Post WW2 London was a dark gray, dingy city with a thick coat of several centuries of soot from a million coal burning fireplaces which were the only source of heat.
Discovery of the southern North Sea gas fields gave them a cleaner alternative and oil revenues from the northern oil fields fueled enough prosperity for them to sand blast most of the buildings in the 1970s´ and early 80´s. Saw it first hand.


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Reply 10 - Posted by: Attercliffe, 1/7/2013 6:48:16 AM     (No. 9102614)

Actually, #10, the sandblasting performed on the buildings in London and industrial cities (including the one where I spent part of my early days) was not because of access to cheaper and cleaner fuel. The trigger was the Great Smog of 1952, which reportedly killed 12,000 people.

The air was so dirty in the city where I was living in 1952 that you tried not to sneeze because the product would be black. White shirts could be worn only once before laundering and housewives spent countless hours scrubbing collars and cuffs where the soot accumulated.

An intensive program to produce cleaner coal products and clean up the air and buildings was implemented--please see the Daily Mail report (and even more evocative photos) at:

http://tinyurl.com/af43nd

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Reply 11 - Posted by: Emerson, 1/7/2013 11:40:59 AM     (No. 9103182)

Wouldn´t it be nice if #1 had skipped that ugly and irrelevant post?

The photos are fascinating. Thanks for posting. Sorry that #1 had to jump in and spoil the thread.



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Reply 12 - Posted by: earlybird, 1/7/2013 11:43:36 AM     (No. 9103189)

The blitz destroyed parts of almost every neighborhood in London. The buildings that replaced those that were destroyed stick out like sore thumbs, devoid of character and not always compatible with their neighbors.



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