Then And Now: Photos Of London, England That Bring History To Life
On May 11, the United Kingdom will mark the 75th anniversary of “The Longest Night,” the final horrible night of the Blitz. The Blitz, from the German word for ‘lightning’, was the name applied by the British press to the eight-month-long heavy and frequent aerial bombing offensive launched by Nazi Germany during World War II. This concentrated, direct bombing of industrial targets and civilian centres began with heavy raids on London on 7 September 1940, during what became known as the Battle of Britain. Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering’s plans to destroy the Royal Air Force to allow an invasion of Britain were failing and, in response to a RAF raid on Berlin, which itself was prompted by a mistaken German bombing of London, they changed their tactics to the sustained bombing of civilian targets. Between 7 September 1940 and 21 May 1941, 16 British cities suffered aerial raids with at least 100 long tons of high explosives. More than 40,000 British civilians were killed in the Blitz, 1.5 million Londoners were left homeless, and the city’s landscape was left shattered.
Getty Images photographer Jim Dyson recently traveled to locations across London to make comparisons between scenes from the Blitz and present-day images. Take a look at his photos of London below.
Also check: Photos of England In 1939 Before World War II
1. An eastward view, down the Thames towards smoke rising from fires in Surrey docks, following the first German air raid of the London Blitz on September 7, 1940. The present-day scene is a view of Tower Bridge taken on April 25, 2016.
2. Wrecked Humber car on Pall Mall street after an air raid during the London Blitz, October 15, 1940. Present day photo shows Pall Mall street scene in Piccadilly on May 1, 2016.
3. Londoners sheltering on a platform at the Bounds Green tube station during an air raid. Present day photo was taken on May 1, 2016.
4. A bus is left leaning against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, in the aftermath of a German bombing raid on London in the first days of the Blitz, on September 9, 1940. The bus was empty at the time, but eleven people were killed in the houses. The scene is overlaid on a present-day image of housing near Mornington Crescent on April 21, 2016.
5. An area near St Pancras Station in London showing the damage caused by a German air raid on September 19, 1940. The present day photo shows a view of the British Library beside St Pancras hotel on May 3, 2016, in London, England.
6. Then: September 14, 1940, a crater and damaged railings outside Buckingham Palace, London, after the explosion of a German bomb dropped in an air raid the previous day. Now: Tourists gather outside Buckingham Palace on April 26, 2016.
7. Bomb damage caused by an air raid on Berkeley Square, London, on April 29, 1942. Now: The same scene in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, on May 1, 2016.
8. Soldiers help to clear the debris of Bank Underground Station, in front of The Royal Exchange in London, the morning after receiving a direct hit during the Blitz. The present day photo shows the same scene at Bank junction in front of the Royal Exchange on April 25, 2016.
9. Bomb damage in London’s Leicester Square caused by German air raids on May 3, 1941. Now: A view of the Vue cinema in Leicester Square on May 1, 2016.
10. A blaze in the Negretti and Zambra building at Holborn Circus, London, after a German bombing raid. Now: The same scene at Holborn Circus on May 1, 2016.
11. The interior of Westminster Abbey after a German bombing raid, in May 1941. Now: A view of the choir and altar of Westminster Abbey, on January 13, 2015.
12. A police officer and a soldier inspect the aftermath of a German air raid, Portman Street, London, on September 19, 1940. The present day photo shows the same scene at Portman Sreet near Marble Arch, on April 21, 2016.
Source: The Huffington Post