First photographs of Londoners displayed in Paternoster Square exhibition

An outdoor photographic exhibition in Paternoster Square, next to St. Paul’s Cathedral, will feature some of the first images of London and Londoners.

Victorian London in Photographs, which is presented by the City of London Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives, brings together a wide range of images from its extensive collections in Clerkenwell.

Highlights include the construction of Tower Bridge, Crystal Palace, and the Blackwell Tunnel; images of London’s poor living in back streets in Kensington; and the capital’s first underground railway.

The exhibition also features a view of The Monument from the 1840s, the earliest photograph of the City of London in LMA’s collections.

The free exhibition, which has moved from Aldgate Square, can be seen at Paternoster Square from 14 August to 23 August.

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“Photography arrived in London in 1839 so prior to that, London and Londoners could only be recorded in prints and drawings.

“These incredible photographs bring to light many aspects of Victorian London and create a fascinating and often, very moving, portrait of the capital during a period of significant change.

“From studio portraits to groups gathered in the street for a photographer, these images record the impact of photography on society and the city, leaving us with a detailed view of life in London over a century ago.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, invests over £100m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of cultural activities after the government, the BBC, and Heritage Lottery Fund.

The City Corporation is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years. This includes £110m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £2.5m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.


Notes for Editors:

For further information, interview requests and hi-res images, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 / Email

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.