Dark City: London in the 30s

There was another London, before clean air, before the Blitz, before post-war reconstruction. It was a night time London.

It was a city of alleys lit by dim lamps.

Alley

Grand but mysterious arches leading to dark halls and obscure institutions.

Gateway

Secret squares.

Temple

Forbidding locked doors in isolated precincts

Sanctuary

Deserted paths.

Path to the Temple

Cyclopean columns.

Seven pillars

Deserted back streets.

Street

Gardens you should never enter.

Trees

Cul-de-sacs in which someone is waiting for you.

Cul-de-sac

Dark alleys, barred windows. Whoever is in upstairs won’t let you in.

Black Raven Alley

There is an occasional welcoming light indicating a place of refuge and a waiting getaway car.

Blue Dog

A few signs of a new order.

Cathedral

But in most of the city the dark rules. Down long staircases you go.

Stairs

To a place of ancient brickworks, hoping for refuge or an exit.

Arches

Just walk into the light. Will you find release?

Night Fantasy

“Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light? Or just another lost angel…City of Night?”

Pictures from London Night – John Morrison and Harold Burkedin 1934

Quotation from Jim Morrison 1971

Postscript

Quite a few people have looked at this post, rather more than I imagined. So my thanks to you all and here is a more definite set of captions to the images;

1. Grange Street, the Strand. The original Charing Cross Hospital in the background.

2. The Gateway to the General Post Office

3. Middle Temple Hall

4. The Sanctuary, All Hallows, Lombard Street

5. Path outside St Paul’s Cathedral

6. The Royal Exchange

7. A street in the City

8. Villiers Street, Charing Cross

9. Cul-de-sac, Brompton Road

10. Black Raven Alley

11. Cottage Place, Brompton

12. 55 Broadway, London Transport Headquarters

13. Essex Stairs Temple

14. Adelphi Arches, the Strand

15. St Bartholomew’s Hospital

How many of them did you know?

More Dark City pictures here.

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27 responses to “Dark City: London in the 30s

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