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October 1, 2014

35 Amazing Vintage Photographs That Capture Street Life of London in the Late 19th Century

These incredible snapshots of life of Londoners were taken by photojournalist John Thomson from 1876 to 1877. The pictures of Dickensian poverty on the streets of London show the grim reality of life in Victorian Britain.

John Thomson was a talented and influential photographer, who had spent ten years traveling in, and taking photographs of, the Far East. On his return to London he joined with Adolphe Smith, a socialist journalist, in a project to photograph the street life of the London poor. The volumes were published in monthly parts as Street Life in London, and were an early example of social and documentary photography.

Photography on Clapham Common

The street locksmith

A convicts home

The dramatic shoe black

Convent garden labourers

The temperance sweep

Street Doctor

Street advertsing

Suffereres from the floods in Lambeth

Donkey for hire on Clapham Common

Workers on the "silent highway" (boatmen on Thames)

Dealer in fancy ware (jewelry, imitating gems and ornaments)

"Tickets", The Card Dealer

"Hookey Alf" of Whitechapel

Cheap fish of Giles's

London Cabmen

Mush-Fakers and ginger-beers

London Nomades

Covent Garden flower women

Public disinfectors

The independent shoe black

"Carey" the clown

The Crawlers

The flying dustmen

Black Jack

Cast-Iron Billy (a driver, holding whip)

The Water-Cart

The London Boardmen

An old clothes shop, Seven Dials

Italian street musicans

The wall-worker

The seller of shell-fish

Halfpenny Ices

November effigies

Recruiting Sergeants at Westminster


  1. Model/actor Jason Lewis looks like young Clint Eastwood

  2. Loved the pictures but you might want to look up the definition of "teenage".

  3. I thought they were supposed to be teenagers.




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