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.
Leicester Square, 2 April 1956. Source Bowshrine Dancing in a Soho car park, 1956. Source Old London Pea Shellers at Covent Garden Source Rob Baker Goodge Street deep-level shelter and dormitory Source Londonist Rupert Street Market, 1950. Source Discovering London Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, 5 November 1955. Source Allhails Shop window in Soho, 1956. Source Rob Baker The Waiters' Race in Soho, 1959. Source Nika Garrett Piccadilly Circus, 1952 Source Buzzfeed Piccadilly Circus, 1950s. Source Old London The Houses of Parliament, 1953. Source Flashbak The Cinerama Casino, Soho, 1950s. Source Old London Corner of Old Compton Street and Greek Street, 1955 Source Cristina Tube stop, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Sunbathing on a Piccadilly rooftop, circa 1953. Source Historyphotographed Regent Street looking east towards Piccadilly Circus, 9 November 1956. Source Rob Baker A newsagent on Frith Street, 1956 Source Ibtimes The making of the Coca-Cola neon sign for Piccadilly Circus, 1954. Source Adbranch Hamleys in the run-up to Christmas 1951, looking rather different to today. Source A London Inheritance Whitehall, 1950s Source Flashbak American troops and their girlfriends wait at Piccadilly Circus station, November 1955. Source Buzzfeed Buckingham Palace, 1953. Source Flashbak Charing Cross Road in 1951. Source Old London A Pied Piper plays in Covent Garden, 1952. Source London Life That famous Coke ad at Piccadilly Circus, 2 April 1956. Source Allhails Kettner's Wine Shop, 13 Old Compton Street, c.1950. Source Discovering London Dancers in Soho, 1950s. Source Aucharbon 1951, and a City of Westminster employee relaxes in the sun during his lunch break on the Embankment. Source Old London The Mall, 1953 Source Flashbak The opening of Agatha Christie's long-running play The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors Theatre, West End, 1952. Source Londonhistorian Inside a Soho pub, 1955. Source Aucharbon 88 Regent Street had been a showroom for Ford cars since the 1920s. Here it is at Christmas, 1951. Source Ford Uk 2i's Coffee Bar, 1959. Cliff Richard and The Drifters was its resident group for a while in 1958. Source Londonhistorian 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 Escalators at Piccadilly Circus Underground station, 1956. Source Buzzfeed A rainy night in Soho, 1955. Source Nika Garrett A welcome pop of colour at Rupert Street Market, 1956. Source Flashbak.com Berwick Street Market, 1955. Source Nika Garrett Trafalgar Square, 1953 Source Flashbak Piccadilly bus stop, 1956. Source Stockholmtransportmuseum Commons Rush hour, 1956. Source Buzzfeed Piccadilly Circus, 1956. Source Vikinga 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 Have fun on a bike at the Soho fair, 1950s. Source Old London A policeman at a police telephone box, 1953. Source Old London Hustle and bustle of Covent Garden Market, 1950s. Source Covent Garden Looking in the shop window of Hamleys, 1957 Source Old Pics Archive