On this day: Edwardian London from the air

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7th November 1909: English scientist Norman Lockyer photographed London from the air with a use of a helium balloon. This image shows Sloane Square, on the boundaries of the Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea districts.

Lockyer, who – along with French scientist Pierre Janssen – was credited with discovering helium, was seventy-three at the time the photograph was taken.

Bombed London Under Snow

January 1942: London stands in ruins and covered in snow after German bombing in the Second World War. A crane and truck can be seen clearing debris.

St Paul’s Cathedral – which survived the Blitz – is in the background.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

bombed-london-in-the-snowThe destruction around St Paul's Cathedral air raid on London is softened by a heavy dusting of snow. mobile crane and truck can be seen work to clear up some of

Christmas Day in the London Bridge Canteen

Christmas Day in the London Bridge Canteen depicts HRH Princess Helena Victoria, creator and Chairman of the Ladies' Auxiliary Committee of the YMCA paying a visit to workers during the

Christmas Day in the London Bridge Canteen depicts HRH Princess Helena Victoria, creator and Chairman of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee of the YMCA paying a visit to workers during the First World War.

The princess, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was one of a number of royals to drop German names from her title at the outbreak of the war. She never married, but went on to live through both World Wars.

The image was created by war artist Clare Atwood in 1920. Atwood, an unusual woman for her time, was a known lesbian who lived in a ménage à trois relationship with two other women until their deaths.

On this day: the RAF Balloon Command was Formed

The RAF Balloon Command was formed in Britain on the 1st of November, 1938. The organisation was formed in anticipation of German air raids if war broke out.

The Command operated over the skies of the United Kingdom until February of 1945.

Balloons over London during the war.

Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial can be seen.

Barrage_balloons_over_London_during_World_War_IIPhotograph of Barrage balloons over London during World War II. Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial can be seen in the middle ground.

On this day: a War Child in London

On this day: a War Child in London

This now-famous photograph, taken by Cecil Beaton, appeared on the cover of American LIFE Magazine on the 23rd of September, 1943. It shows Eileen Dunne, aged “3 and 3/4” sitting in her hospital bed in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children after being injured in a German air raid.

 

The LIFE cover.

The cover feature was significant, as it encouraged Americans – still more than a year out from joining the Second World War – to take more of an interest in the conflict.

The original caption for the photograph reads:

The wide-eyed young lady on the cover is Eileen Dunne, aged 3 3/4. A German bomber whose crew had never met her dropped a bomb on a North England village. A splinter from it hit Eileen. She is sitting in the hospital. A plucky chorus of wounded children had just finished singing in the North English dialect, “Roon, Rabbit, Roon.” The picture was taken by Cecil Beaton, the English photographer who generally specializes in fashionable or surrealist studies of society women.

80 Years Ago: the Outbreak of War

 

Civilians gather outside 10 Downing Street in London on the 1st of September, 1939, following the news of the German invasion of Poland and the beginning of the Second World War.

Britain declared war on Germany two days later, as did Australia and New Zealand (then both part of the British Empire).

On this day: Workmen in London

Workers at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London remove scaffolding from the Victoria Tower. The image appeared in The Illustrated London News on the 20th of March, 1954.

From The Londonist, via the British Newspaper Archive.

workers removing the scaffolding from the Victoria Tower Westminster London in 1954. the Illustrated London News, 20 March 1954.

On this day: Edwardian London from the air

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7th November 1909: English scientist Norman Lockyer photographed London from the air with a use of a helium balloon. This image shows Sloane Square, on the boundaries of the Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea districts.

Lockyer, who – along with French scientist Pierre Janssen – was credited with discovering helium, was seventy-three at the time the photograph was taken.

On this day: London on Fire

This photograph, showing smoke and fire drifting across Tower Bridge and the River Thames in London after a German bombing raid, was taken on the 7th of September, 1940.

This was the first major Nazi attack on the city in the Second World War.

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Second World War Two Picture taken during first mass air raid on London 7th September 1940 describes more than words ever could, the scene in London's dock area. Tower Bridge against a b