Video: Driving Round London In The 1950s

A fascinating glimpse into the recent past, with unfamiliar shops, quieter streets and lingering bomb sites. But what are the locations? Thanks to Pier Paolo Rinaldi for the tip.

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  • CaraR

    I think much of it is west London – many of the buildings with porches look like the Holland Park or Westbourne Grove areas to me.  The opening shots are traveling east down Hammersmith Road.  The modernist building with the 3 arches at around 0.45 is Latymer Court.  Around the 4 minute mark the car is driving west down High Street Kensington then turns up Phillimore Gardens.  Just before the turn the camera looks back up High St Ken and you can see Barkers in the background. 

    • Adam

      I think they make two passes along Phillimore Gardens, the first time filming the left of the street and the second, the right.  Then turning into Upper Phillimore Gardens.

      • Jake

        Yes, you’re right, there are two passes along Phillimore Gardens. I live there (Argyll Road) in 1960 – and much of the film covers a newspaper route I made as a 10 year old.

  • circospetto

    Let’s not forget all the digital work behind the uncannily smooth drive – which otherwise would have been bumpier. The poster sez: “This is the result of enhancing and stabilizing the ‘Driving through London (1950’s)’ video that can be found elsewhere on Youtube.It demonstrates how modern videoprocessing tools (like Deshaker, Contrast and Brightness adjust and Enhancement) can really improve an old video. Four Virtualdub filters were used to obtain this result.”

  • LoopZilla

    Peter Ceresole says….

    The first bit is Hammersmith Broadway- well, Hammersmith Road after a few
    seconds. The red brick building on the right is the old Hammersmith
    Hospital, now on Wormwood Scrubs- I went there as an outpatient. Later,
    towards the end of the fir…st
    shot on the left, is the Red Cow pub on the corner of (I think) Colet
    Gardens. Called ‘Latymers’ now. Immediately afterwards on the right the
    camera goes past a row of advertising hoardings which fronted the unused
    Colet Court building, which was built as a preparatory school for St
    Paul’s, across the road, and later became a London HQ for Air France. I
    can’t remember all the detail but I walked there every day for seven
    years, from 1953 to 59. Later in the film, in High Street Ken, on the
    left the camera sees some fine red brick mansion flats, under which BEA
    had a terminal; you went in from the High Street, they weighed each
    passenger and their luggage, and you passed through to Philimore Walk,
    at the back, where they loaded each flight into special BEA buses which
    were split level; luggage on the lower deck at the back. I loved
    those… It’s easy to forget how tiny passenger planes were then; the
    extended version carried less than 30 passengers. Or how slow and noisy.
    All that was moved to a specially built terminal above the underground
    tracks at Cromwell Road- now a large Sainsbury’s supermarket. On the
    film you can’t quite see the BEA terminal, which I found very
    frustrating… I do recognize the shops though, where I used to go with
    my mum.


  • Jfegan

    First is Hammersmith road heading east to the junction of
    Brook Green, second south side of Kensington High St turning right into
    Phillimore Gardens then into Upper Phillimore Gardens, third north side of
    Kensington High St again turning right into Phillimore Gardens then into Upper
    Phillimore Gardens.

  • Reggie Best

    So sad,unrecognisable now,I wouldnt go to london to collect a free gold bar now.

  • Joy Chatsworth

    The first red brick building on the right is my old school, Sacred Heart Convent. The hospital was a bit further along and was called West London Hospital when I was there in 1964.