Presbyterian Archives Research Centre

Photo Gallery No 20 :

"A Tourist's View of Victorian London" (Page One)


Our Summer 2010 - Autumn 2011 Gallery features a selection of late Victorian era Lantern Slide images of London which form part of a larger set of 35 images. We believe these slides, which all appear to have been privately taken, are almost certainly unique.

On most slides the photographer's handwritten initials "WTF" appear along the top of the slide, with the description. Unfortunately nothing is known of "WTF", however the photographer appears to have had more than a passing interest in historic buildings, monuments and statues around London. These slides in fact form part of a much larger collection of lantern slides of other [mostly commercially produced] English, Scottish and European views, New Zealand scenes, as well as Religious based lantern slide sets. Unfortunately the original provenance of the collection has been lost but the fact remains that this is a significant and valuable collection.

Accurately dating these slides proved to be a challenge. While they are obviously indicative of the early to mid 1890's, the key proved to be the slide of a busy Fleet Street. Posters on a building state that the long established Men's Outfitters "Chas Baker & Co." moved to Ludgate Hill on the 1st June". We now know that this move took place in 1892.

So, sit back and enter a busy world of horse drawn hansom cabs, hackney carriages and omnibusses but without a motor car in sight; the world that was Victorian London.

We would love to hear your comments and feedback : Corrections to any information quoted on these pages are welcome. While the copies shown here are strictly copyright, high resolution copies are available, please enquire for rates.

Presbyterian Church Archives Research Centre Home Page

Donald Cochrane
Curator of Photographs (Retired)

1 December 2010

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Cecil Hotel and Savoy Hotel, London 1892


The Cecil & Savoy Hotels :

Towering above the Victoria Embankment Gardens sits the imposing Cecil Hotel. The Royal Air Force occupied this building as their first headquarters from 1918 to 1919 before being demolished in the 1930's. Shell Mex House now occupies this site.

Alongside to the right is the still extant Savoy Hotel.

Victoria Embankment Gardens :

Sitting in the sun in Victoria Embankment Gardens, top and bowler hatted gentlemen take time out to enjoy the tranquility the garden affords within the bustling metropolis.

At left rear can be seen the bronze statue of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns by the sculpter Sir John Steell RSA. Sir John is also responsible for a number of similar copies of this statue, one being sited in the Octagon here in Dunedin on the other side of the world.


Victoria Embankment Gardens, London 1892



London City Guilds Institute 1892


The London and Guilds of London Institute :

Opened 1884 and designed by Alfred Waterhouse (better known as Architect of the Natural History Museum), the London and Guilds of London Institute (later called the Central Technical College) is seen here on Exhibition Road, South Kensington. The buildings have been demolished although the distinctive clock tower remains at the Imperial College campus on the same site.


Royal School of Art Needlework :

Two women standing outside the entrance to the "Royal School of Art Needlework" just along the road from the London and Guilds Institute. Their premises (mostly hidden behind the trees) had formed part of the Belgian and Australian annexes of the 1871–74 International Exhibitions. The Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone for new premises in 1899.


School of Art Needlework, London 1892



Scotland Yard, London 1892


Scotland Yard :

The distinctive "New Scotland Yard" Police building by the Victoria Embankment in Westminster, which was occupied from 1890 to 1967. New Scotland Yard then moved to further "new" premises with the original buildings now being known as the Norman Shaw Buildings. Since 1979 this Grade One listed building has been used as Parliamentary Offices.

Trafalgar Square :

The famous fountain in Trafalgar Square dating from 1845. Immediately behind the fountain is St Martin in the Fields Church with Morley's Hotel at right and the National Gallery at left.


Trafalgar Squarel, London 1892



Fountain, Trafalgar Square, London 1892


Trafalgar Square :

A close-up of a man and two chidren taking an interest in the Trafalgar Square fountain.

Until replacement in the late 1930's the fountain had been fed by a steam engine located behind the National Gallery and drawing water from an underground artesian well.

Buckingham Palace :

Passers by outside the sombre east front of Buckingham Palace, designed by Edward Blore and built by Thomas Cubitt in 1850. This is how the east frontage appeared prior to the 1913 resurfacing in Portland Stone to a design by Sir Aston Webb which gave the Palace its rather more appealing modern day appearance.

After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria, who disliked the Palace in anycase, preferred to reside at Windsor Castle rather than stay in London. Thus the Palace remained shuttered up and sadly neglected for most of the remaining years of her reign. The 'Belle Epoque' of the Edwardian age under King Edward VII breathed new life into the Palace with much internal redecoration being carried out and a return to entertaining on a grand scale.


Buckingham Palace, London 1892



Passing Buckingham Palace, London 1892


Passing Buckingham Palace :

A passer by, perhaps a Grandmother with her grandson, perhaps a Governess with her charge, appears to be pointing out the Queen's Residence to her young companion.

Ankle length dresses, fanciful hats, and umbrellas to shade oneself from the sun were obviously 'de riguer'.


The Thames From Westminster Bridge :

A paddle steamer arriving at Victoria Embankment, the flag flying from the flagpole (reading from behind) reads "Thames Conservancy". Unfortunately we are unable to read the name of the steamer.

The National Liberal [Gentleman's] Club "Whitehall Court" and the iconic "Royal Horseguards Hotel" (built as one building in the style of a French Chateau) looms at upper left with the Cecil Hotel (as per above slide) and the Hungerford railway bridge spanning the Thames River to the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company Charing Cross Station both being visible in the distance.


The Thames from Westminster Bridge, London 1892



Charing Cross Hotel, London, 1892


Charing Cross Hotel :

Charing Cross, a Victorian replacement for the original Eleanor Cross erected by King Edward I in 1291-94 (and demolished in 1647), stands in front of Charing Cross Hotel at the junction of Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur street in Westminster.

Built in the French renaissance style in 1865, Charing Cross Station Hotel formed the main London terminus of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Company with extensive services to South Eastern England.

Charing Cross Hotel :

A close up of the frontage of Charing Cross Hotel. Although the attractive wrought iron conservatory over the entrance portico and the original frontage itself survives, the top two floors with the mansard roof have been considerably rebuilt in a plain neo-Georgian style with the chimneys removed. This was most likely due to the extensive bomb damage the hotel suffered during World War Two.


Charing Cross Hotel, London 1892



Street Artists, London 1892



Street Artists :

A street artist patiently displaying his work on the pavement of an unknown London street.


Beaconsfield Statue, Parliament Square :

The statue to Benjamin Disraeli, First Earl of Beaconsfield, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdon from 1874 to 1880.

His statue has since been moved to one side of the Square and re-aligned to face Parliament buildings but sadly without the decorative wrought iron fence which may well have succumbed to the war effort.



Statue to Lord Beaconsfield, London 1892



Statue to the Prince Consort, London 1892


Statue to the Prince Consort :

The statue to Prince Albert, Consort of Queen Victoria, situated at Holborn Circus. The Prince is depicted in the uniform of a Field Marshall and raising his hat in acknowledgement of a salute. Designed by Charles Bacon in 1874 and erected by the City of London as their official memorial, the statue sits atop a plinth of Scottish granite with an allegorical figure of history at the base.

Hansom Cab at Holborn Circus :

A horse drawn hansom cab, no 13657, passing Holborn Circus. While the passengers were to a large extent protected from the elements, the driver sat atop the rear in a commanding vantage point but exposed to all weathers.


Horse drawn taxi cab, London 1892



Piccadilly and Albany Court, London 1892


Piccadilly and Albany Court :

A view down Picadilly with the access to Albany Court just visible at right of centre. The "eccentric" residents of Albany Court were memorably and rather humorously described for posterity by the Novelist and Journalist Marmion Savage.

Further along Piccadilly can be seen the frontage and centre tower of the Piccadilly wing of Burlington House. From a variety of owners, the building now houses the Royal Academy.

Sandwich Board Man, Piccadilly :

While a horse drawn hanson cab and Hackney carriage ply their trade along Piccadilly, a walking 'sandwich board man' advertises what appears to be a publication. Shoppers were well provided with awnings over the pavement.


Street scene, Piccadilly, London 1892


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