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The arrival of photography in London in 1839 changed the way people saw their city, and each other, forever. With the ‘whoomph!’ of a photographer’s flash, quite suddenly it was possible to see real life images captured ‘in the flesh’, rather than as an artist’s sketch or painting.

The collections at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) contain an extraordinary range of photographs from Queen Victoria’s reign, recording the capital and its people in stunning detail. Whether in carefully posed studio portraits or images of people gathered in the street, it seems that almost everyone wanted to be recorded on camera.

This exhibition delved into these collections to present some of most striking images of London and Londoners from the era, from the first known photograph of the capital to the opening of Blackwall Tunnel, taking in the Crystal Palace, the first Tube line and life on the city’s streets.

Outdoor Exhibition 2018

This exhibition originally ran in 2015, but you can now see many of the images again, at Aldgate Square from 24 July to 12 August, and again at Paternoster Square from 14 August to 24 August 2018.

You can see many of the images used on Collage - the London Picture Archive.


Collage Search images