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Homepage. This page: Old photographs that feature cars, vans and lorries negotiating the roads of London in byegone days.

London scenes.

This page has been set aside to feature scenes photographed in London, that have some motoring interest to them. Initially at least, only original and un-published photographs will be included. Many of these photos also show familiar London landmarks, as quite often it was the landmarks that would have been the subject of the photo(s), rather than the cars, vans and lorries that just happened to be in shot.

1. Princess Margaret's marriage celebrations near Buckingham Palace.

I doubt any London landmark is better known than Buckingham Palace, so the first photograph to feature here shows the Palace in the background. The occasion was the marriage of Princess Margaret in 1960, and it seems a convoy of cars was allowed to parade down The Mall and around the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of the Palace.
Thousands of people are in the crowd, milling around while a host of 1950's cars drive by. Visible in this shot, a Phase 1 Standard Vanguard, a four door Austin A30, and a Mk2 Consul. I'm sure none of the drivers, especially the chap in the Austin with his arm casually resting on the window ledge, would have believed that their drive-by in front of the Palace gates was recorded for posterity in print.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Parade of cars in front of the Palace in London
The second of these photos faces back up The Mall, with a convoy of vehicles driving towards the Palace, two-abreast. Cars that I can make out include an F-Type Vauxhall Victor, a split-screen Morris Minor, L-Type Vauxhall, Trojan bubble car, Morris MO Oxford, two Ford 100Es, Hillman Minx, pre-war Austin, Mk2 Ford Consul, A30/A35, Morris 8 Series 1, MG TF and a pre-war Wolseley. Look to the left, nestling within the crowd at the kerbside, and you'll spot a lonely A35 that seems to be suffering from a mechanical malady. Its unfortunate owner has the bonnet up, and is peering at the 948cc engine buried within. Of all the days to have a breakdown!
Classic cars of the 1950s drive down The Mall

2. An unidentified London street.

This next photo formed a group of images that were taken on 7th September 1954, as part of a review concerned with rising levels of traffic - coupled with poor standards of parking - in London. A feast of now-classic cars and vans line either side of this unidentified street. To the left is the curvaceous rump of a Phase 1 Standard Vanguard, while behind it resides a V8 Ford and one of the Austin "Counties" cars, either an A70 Hereford or more likely an A40 Somerset. Next furthest away is I think a Ford, the windscreen surround reminds me of a Prefect, but beyond that the cars are a little vague. Someone has chosen to double park their small 5cwt van - quite likely a Morris Z series - which could be why the photograph was taken originally. Maybe it was a GPO (post office) example, on its rounds.
To the right, are examples of Minor, another A40 or A70, and a noble Humber. Behind that is a roadster, initially I thought that it could be a drop-top Daimler Conquest but the door line isn't correct. Another, larger, van has been double parked facing the photographer, the two legs of a gent can just be made out below and behind it, presumably a delivery or collection is being made. It reminds me of a Morris-Commercial, and again could well be in use with the post office.
A street in London, in 1954

3. London traffic in colour, 1963 & 1964.

Three colour photographs now follow, the first two were taken in 1963 while the other was in 1964. To the first picture, and the Union Flag can be seen fluttering in the breeze above the Houses of Parliament, while in the foreground a chap on a scooter - minus any form of "bone dome" or "skid lid" (crash helmet) - does his best to outrun a Mk2 Austin A40 and a Mk2 Consul. The Austin is finished in a two-tone scheme, as were most examples, in this case Cumulus Grey with a Snowberry White roof.
Austin and a Ford car in traffic
Looking like it could do with a steam clean is Westminster Abbey, August 1963 as before. Note the old-style traffic lights in operation at the time. Automotive gems in shot include a walk-through Austin or Morris LD van, a two-tone Commer artic lorry in British Railways colours, and a "Varitone" MG Magnette saloon.
Westminster Abbey
To Piccadilly Circus now, August 1964, and queues of cars negotiate their way around the Shaftesbury Monument, while the Statue of Eros spectates from aloft (or is he busy aiming his arrow at the passing pigeon?). Then as now, huge advertisements are in view, here advertising products from the likes of Wrigley's, Gordon's, Max Factor, Martini, and Grant's. Playing at the London Pavilion was The Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night", the fab four "In their first full-length, hilarious, action-packed film". Vehicles in view include an Austin taxi, a BMC Farina saloon, and another Mk2 Ford. Visible through the taxi's windows, is a blue car. It looks to me like a Daimler Majestic Major, its squared-off boot can be seen protruding out from behind the taxi's rear end.
Cars in Piccadilly Circus, 1964
More photos showing scenes in London will be added in here soon.
Return to Page 12 in the vintage and classic car gallery.

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