History lovers find lost Victorian London at archive’s exhibition

Visitors to London Metropolitan Archives’ new exhibition are being promised a tantalising glimpse of a London that they will be unfamiliar with.

Presenting a wide range of richly evocative and forgotten views, ‘Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared’ will feature photographs, prints, watercolours, and documents of buildings, horse-drawn transport, docks, artists' views of the capital, and varieties of entertainment.

The free exhibition will run from 13 May 2024 to 5 February 2025 at the City of London Corporation’s Clerkenwell-based archives during normal office hours.

Highlights include photographs of the Oxford Arms, a 17th century coaching inn in Warwick Lane near the Old Bailey. The exhibition features images of this lovely, but ramshackle, building taken in 1875 by the Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, two years before it was demolished.

Philip Henry Delamotte was commissioned to record the move of the Crystal Palace from Hyde Park to Sydenham. Constructed for The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, the iconic building was re-erected in south-east London the following year. Beginning with the first girder going into the ground and ending with Victoria and Albert’s appearance at the opening ceremony, Delamotte created 160 images, two of which are displayed in ‘Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared.’

Dressed in protective blouses and leggings, public disinfectors set to work once infectious diseases had been identified and deemed no longer a risk, removing all infected textiles and placed in a sealed hand cart, ready for disinfection. The group in the exhibition’s photograph are standing in front of the outbuilding which contains the disinfecting oven.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Munsur Ali, said:

“Thoughtfully curated and full of fascinating insights, this free exhibition at our wonderful archives will put the spotlight on how the capital has changed and grown so dramatically since early Victorian times.

“With such rich and extensive collections from which to draw, the expert teams at London Metropolitan Archives always enjoy using their popular exhibitions to take its visitors on a journey, very often, surprising the most knowledgeable of London history lovers.”

Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared’ forms part of the City’s arts and cultural offering and forms part of the City of London Corporation's Destination City programme, which sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.


Notes to editors:

For further information about ‘Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared’, as well as images, and requests for interviews, please contact Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, and Heritage), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 /

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, 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 –

About London Metropolitan Archives:

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is the archive repository for the Greater London area. The documents and books that LMA cares for, and provides access to, date from 1067 to the present day and collections are constantly expanding. The archives are free to use, as are the majority of resources in the public research rooms.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB

London Metropolitan Archives is open to visitors at the following times:

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10am - 4.30pm

Wednesday 10am - 7pm

Saturdays 9 March, 13 April, 11 May, 8 June, and 13 July 10am - 4.30pm

NB: documents must be ordered in advance on Saturdays

(Closed on Bank Holidays - check the website for full details)