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