‘Forgotten London’ remembered in City archives exhibition

London’s lost buildings – from coaching inns and horse markets to riverside mansions and gin palaces – will provide the focus of a new exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) in Clerkenwell.

Picturing Forgotten London, which opens at the City of London Corporation’s LMA on Monday 21 May, will uncover places that were once the toast of the capital or an important part of everyday life, but now left behind by successive generations of Londoners.

The free exhibition will feature drawings, engravings, photographs, maps, films, and contemporary recollections to provide a surprising record of the capital - from the 1500s to the twentieth century.

Divided into themes, including Industry, Entertainment, Food, Commerce and Trade, and Transport, visitors will discover open-shout trading floors, pleasure gardens, almshouses, cabmens’ shelters, dockyards, farms, and a 1960s supermarket.

Laurence Ward, the City of London Corporation’s Head of Digital Services at London Metropolitan Archives, said:

“The capital is evolving constantly but despite the ever-changing landscape and skyline, traces of a forgotten London remain.

“Some of them have been preserved deliberately and others have been left behind by accident, and they all provide a fascinating insight into the capital’s history.

“Particular highlights include a glimpse into Devil’s Acre, a notorious neighbourhood in Westminster, and images of long-lost landmarks, such as Euston Arch, Crystal Palace, and a Shot Tower on the South Bank.”

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

“The exhibitions at London Metropolitan Archives never fail to surprise and entertain visitors.

“‘Picturing Forgotten London’ will be no exception, largely, because of the breadth of its subjects and how they will be presented.

“Images of music halls and banking halls will sit alongside those of a pre-NHS hospital, trams, brass smelting, and long since demolished landmarks.

“It will certainly provide a real journey of discovery for those curious to discover how London looked decades and hundreds of years ago.”

Other highlights include features on the artist and writer, Geoffrey Fletcher, whose observational drawings and writings about 1960s/70s London caught the popular imagination; and The Stranger’s Guide, an 1867 illustrated map of public buildings, theatres, music halls and other places of interest to visitors.

The map will be reproduced at a large scale on the floor of the exhibition space, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Victorian London.

Picturing Forgotten London opens at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) on 21 May and runs until 31 October. Admission FREE.

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. It 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 to15 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:

Laurence Ward, Head of Digital Services, is available for media interviews.

High resolution images from Picturing Forgotten London are available. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for further details.

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

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

Notes to editors

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.