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.
A Pied Piper plays in Covent Garden, 1952. Source London Life The Mall, 1953 Source Flashbak Tube stop, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Goodge Street deep-level shelter and dormitory Source Londonist Pea Shellers at Covent Garden, 1950 Source Rob Baker Regent Street looking east towards Piccadilly Circus, 9 November 1956. Source Rob Baker Dancing in a Soho car park, 1956. Source Old London The Waiters' Race in Soho, 1959. Source Nika Garrett Piccadilly bus stop, 1956. Source Stockholmtransportmuseum Commons Piccadilly Circus, 1950s. Source Old London Dancers in Soho, 1950s. Source Aucharbon The making of the Coca-Cola neon sign for Piccadilly Circus, 1954. Source Adbranch 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 Charing Cross Road in 1951. Source Old London Piccadilly Circus, 1956. Source Vikinga That famous Coke ad at Piccadilly Circus, 2 April 1956. Source Allhails Escalators at Piccadilly Circus Underground station, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Kettner's Wine Shop, 13 Old Compton Street, c.1950. Source Discovering London Berwick Street Market, 1955. Source Nika Garrett Rush hour, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Have fun on a bike at the Soho fair, 1950s. Source Old London A rainy night in Soho, 1955. Source Nika Garrett Shop window in Soho, 1956. Source Rob Baker The opening of Agatha Christie's long-running play The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors Theatre, West End, 1952. Source Londonhistorian Corner of Old Compton Street and Greek Street, 1955 Source Cristina 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 A welcome pop of colour at Rupert Street Market, 1956. Source Flashbak.Com Trafalgar Square, 1953. Source Flashbak Corner of Dean Street and Old Compton Street, 1950s Source Nika Garrett 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 Piccadilly Circus, 1952 Source Buzzfeed Leicester Square, 2 April 1956. Source Bowshrine Inside a Soho pub, 1955. Source Aucharbon Whitehall, 1950s. Source Flashbak Hamleys in the run-up to Christmas 1951, looking rather different to today. Source A London Inheritance Sunbathing on a Piccadilly rooftop, circa 1953. Source Historyphotographed Hustle and bustle of Covent Garden Market, 1950s. Source Covent Garden The Houses of Parliament, 1953. Source Flashbak A newsagent on Frith Street, 1956 Source Ibtimes 88 Regent Street had been a showroom for Ford cars since the 1920s. Here it is at Christmas, 1951. Source Ford Uk Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, 5 November 1955. Source Allhails Looking in the shop window of Hamleys, 1957 Source Old Pics Archive
Rupert Street Market, 1950. Source Discovering London
Last Updated 14 March 2017