19th Century London

Collection by Micah Champion Illustration

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Micah Champion Illustration
This picture shows Custom House, one of London's best surviving examples of 19th-century architecture, viewed from the river circa 1875. Part of Billingsgate market can be seen on the left; the crane is probably being used to demolish the old building, and help construct the new market.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

Another Lambeth picture, this time of the Thames foreshore where many people found work as labourers or sailors, shortly before the building of the Albert Embankment in 1866-9. It is part of a collection of images by William Strudwick, which are among the only surviving mid 19th-century images of a London working class district.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

Gray's Inn Lane, 1885. In 1827, Dickens was sent to work as a clerk at Gray's Inn for a friend of his father's. He later described it as "one of the most depressing institutions in brick and mortar known to the children of men". These houses on the lane were demolished to widen the road in 1878-9.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

A Punch and Judy show in Waterloo Place, with the Crimean War memorial in the background. Such raucous street entertainment was often disapproved of by authorities, but Dickens once defended it as a relief "from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive".

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

London Bridge, filled with vehicles and pedestrians in 1875. By 1902, the bridge had become so busy that the width of the pedestrian pavements were increased by one metre.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

Lower Fore Street, a narrow cobblestoned street in Lambeth, pictured in 1865. This industrial area became very densely populated over the Victorian period; its inhabitants rose from 28,000 in 1801 to nearly 300,000 by the time this photograph was taken.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

The coming of the railways transformed London. This picture shows construction workers or "navvies" on the Metropolitan District Railway at Praed Street around 1867. The roof of the new Paddington Underground station can be seen in the distance.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

A view of the Strand around 1890, taken from in front of St Mary le Strand.

Dickens's London: in pictures

A new collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

View Across the Thames to St Paul's Cathedral, c.1850 © Museum of London.

Discover London through history

Inspired by our upcoming event at the Museum of London in which Sebastian Groes and Iain Sinclair discuss representations of Victorian London in 19th century literature, we’ve put together a selection of photographs which show the capital at the time. Click on each image below for more information. Taking these images into consideration, do you think the portrayal of Victorian London by Dickens and his contemporaries was realistic? Have your say in the comments section below or join us at…

Victorian London 1900.

Victorian London around 1900

Explore Mark Davids' photos on Flickr. Mark Davids has uploaded 5055 photos to Flickr.

Victorian London street scene.

Ludgate Hill and Circus from Fleet Street: 19th century, Anonymous

Ludgate Hill and Circus from Fleet Street: 19th century by Anonymous. Museum quality art prints with a selection of frame and size options, and canvases. Museum of London

A Rare Color Photograph of a London Street in 1900 (via London in 1901 - the End of the Victorian Era) This is Cheapside in the city of London.

Cœur de l'Histoire

History graduate student, teacher, traveler, lover.