London in the 1950s was going through some massive social and economic changes.
The heyday for the baby boomers, this decade saw the emergence of coffee houses and rock n roll music; all perfectly suited to life in London's ever-exciting West End.
Familiar features that have stood the test of time, and can still be seen in the West End today include shops like Foyles (albeit having moved down the road) and Hamleys, and London's long-running theatre show, The Mousetrap.
Goodge Street deep-level shelter and dormitory, 1956. Source Londonist The Mall, 1953 Source Flashbak A Pied Piper plays in Covent Garden, 1952. Source London Life Charing Cross Road in 1951. Source Old London The Houses of Parliament, 1953. Source Flashbak Regent Street looking east towards Piccadilly Circus, 9 November 1956. Source Rob Baker Inside a Soho pub, 1955. Source Aucharbon Tube stop, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Moka Bar was the first coffee house in London to install a Gaggia espresso machine. It was a hugely popular place, serving more than 1,000 cups of coffee a day. Source Nika Garrett Piccadilly Circus, 1950s. Source Old London The Waiters' Race in Soho, 1959. Source Nika Garrett That famous Coke ad at Piccadilly Circus, 2 April 1956. Source Allhails Rupert Street Market, 1950. Source Discovering London Rush hour, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Hustle and bustle of Covent Garden Market, 1950s. Source Covent Garden A rainy night in Soho, 1955. Source Nika Garrett Corner of Dean Street and Old Compton Street, 1950s Source Nika Garrett A policeman at a police telephone box, 1953. Source Old London Whitehall, 1950s. Source Flashbak Corner of Old Compton Street and Greek Street, 1955 Source Cristina 88 Regent Street had been a showroom for Ford cars since the 1920s. Here it is at Christmas, 1951. Source Ford Uk Sunbathing on a Piccadilly rooftop, circa 1953. Source Historyphotographed Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, 5 November 1955. Source Allhails Dancing in a Soho car park, 1956. Source Old London Pea Shellers at Covent Garden, 1950 Source Rob Baker Piccadilly Circus, 1952. Source Buzzfeed 2i's Coffee Bar on Old Compton Street, 1959. Cliff Richard and The Drifters was its resident group for a while in 1958. Source Londonhistorian Shop window in Soho, 1956. Source Rob Baker Hamleys in the run-up to Christmas 1951, looking rather different to today. Source A London Inheritance Piccadilly bus stop, 1956. Source Stockholmtransportmuseum Commons The making of the Coca-Cola neon sign for Piccadilly Circus, 1954. Source Adbranch A welcome pop of colour at Rupert Street Market, 1956. Source Flashbak.Com The opening of Agatha Christie's long-running play The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors Theatre, West End, 1952. Source Londonhistorian Buckingham Palace, 1953. Source Flashbak Dancers in Soho, 1950s. Source Aucharbon American troops and their girlfriends wait at Piccadilly Circus station, November 1955. Source Buzzfeed Piccadilly Circus, 1956. Source Vikinga Kettner's Wine Shop, 13 Old Compton Street, c.1950. Source Discovering London Leicester Square, 2 April 1956. Source Bowshrine Looking in the shop window of Hamleys, 1957. Source Old Pics Archive Escalators at Piccadilly Circus Underground station, 1956. Source Buzzfeed A newsagent on Frith Street, 1956 Source Ibtimes
Flamingo Jazz Club, Wardour Street, Soho, 1950s. The nightclub ran between 1952 and 1967; it played an important role in the development of British rhythm and blues and jazz. Source Jazz Izzin
Last Updated 14 March 2017