See 500 Years Of Londoners In One Exhibition

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 10 months ago

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See 500 Years Of Londoners In One Exhibition
Racing driver Ivy Cummings at the wheel of her 1924 Fraser Nash. © London Metropolitan Archives

What were the people of London up to 500 years ago? Londoners from 1447 to 1980 are the subject of an exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives, featuring photographs, prints and drawings.  

An 1851 portrait of Jack Black of Battersea - a noted rat catcher who worked for Queen Victoria. © London Metropolitan Archives

Careers that are no longer part of London life will be showcased, inlcuding nightwatchmen and crossing sweepers — the person who had to help people across manure laden-busy roads when there were no traffic lights.

A farrier working away at his forge in Deptford, 1981. © London Metropolitan Archives

It's a diverse collection, which includes racing driver Ivy Cummings making an early case for gender equality.

Singers performing at the All Together Now concert in Deptford, part of local effort to combat racism, 1978. © London Metropolitan Archives

Plenty of recognisable Londoners including Oliver Cromwell, Charles Dickens and Isambard Kingdom Brunel will be part of the exhibition too.

An 1820s portrait of a man known as 'The Old Commodore of Tottenham Court Road'. He was a crossing sweeper, a man who would lead pedestrians across a busy junction safely in exchange for money. © London Metropolitan Archives

This promises to be a fascinating look back through London's history via the personalities and professions of the time.  

Two public disinfectors cart the clothes and belongings of the diseased, which were taken away to be cleaned. © London Metropolitan Archives
A London Fire Brigade officer with the station mascot — a pigeon named Joey — poses outside Clapham Old Town fire station. © London Metropolitan Archives
Charles Rouse was one of the last nightwatchmen. Before the introduction of the Metropolitan Police, nightwatchmen were the only protection for Londoners. © London Metropolitan Archives

The Londoners: Portraits of a working city will be on display at London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB from 6 February - 5 July 2017. Entrance is free and the archive is open Monday to Thursdays, plus one Saturday a month.

Last Updated 09 January 2017