Rarely seen photographs of Victorian London will be displayed in a free exhibition this spring, at the City of London’s archives building in Clerkenwell.

Photo credit: London Picture Archive, London Metropolitan Archives

Presenting a wide range of forgotten views, the exhibition will feature photographs, prints, watercolours, and documents of buildings, horse-drawn transport, docks, artists’ views of the capital, and varieties of entertainment.

Highlights include photographs of the Oxford Arms, a 17th-century coaching inn in Warwick Lane near the Old Bailey. The exhibition features images of this lovely but ramshackle building taken in 1875 by the Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, two years before it was demolished.

Philip Henry Delamotte was commissioned to record the move of the Crystal Palace from Hyde Park to Sydenham. Constructed for The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, the iconic building was re-erected in south-east London the following year. Beginning with the first girder going into the ground and ending with Victoria and Albert’s appearance at the opening ceremony, Delamotte created 160 images, two of which will be displayed in the exhibition.

Photo credit: London Picture Archive, London Metropolitan Archives

Dressed in protective blouses and leggings, public disinfectors set to work once infectious diseases had been identified and deemed no longer a risk, removing all infected textiles and placed in a sealed hand cart, ready for disinfection. The group in the exhibition’s photograph are standing in front of the outbuilding which contains the disinfecting oven.

Photo credit: London Picture Archive, London Metropolitan Archives

The free exhibition, Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared will run from 13th May 2024 to 5th February 2025 at the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell from Mon to Thur, plus the following Saturdays:

  • 8th June
  • 13th July
  • 10th August
  • 14th September
  • 12th October
  • 14th December

In the meantime, the current exhibition, Unforgotten Lives is running until 27th March 2024.


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