20 Remarkable Photos Of London In 1992

Last Updated 18 December 2023

20 Remarkable Photos Of London In 1992
A small crowd looks at a blown up high rise
The Commercial Union building (now St Helen's), after being bombed by the IRA.

Patrick Keiller's 1994 essay film London was a landmark in psychogeography.

Using extensive footage shot in London throughout 1992, the filmic trilogy captured both dramatic moments that defined the era (the Baltic Exchange bombings, the construction of some of the contemporary buildings which define the city today) to workaday scenes of bustling shopping centres, and commuters waiting for trains.

Old British Rail trains pull in as commuters wait
London Bridge station.

Keiller's narration of the film (a clip of which you can see here) is a skewed version of the usual documnetary style; in a somewhat lugubrious tone, he takes on the role of an unnamed narrator, who along with a companion called Robinson, venture around the city to investigate 'the problems of London'.

A colourful indoor shopping parade
Granville Arcade, Brixton Market.

It's neither documentary nor fiction — or otherwise, it's both documentary and fiction — certainly it's a one heck a a unique film, in which at one moment, Keiller discusses how the Tories want to limit London's independence, and the next Robinson details a strange dream he had.

The old Wembley stadium rises above red roofed terrace houses
The old Wembley stadium.

The film is now a book, published by FUEL in 2020, and recreates the film in vivid stills, with the Keiller's voiceover printed beneath.

A cow grazes on an expanse of grass, with pretty Georgian terrace houses in the back ground
A cow on Petersham Meadows.

Here, we've picked 20 remarkable images from the book, which bring back to life a London of over three decades ago — a time of Concorde, IRA bombs, the Chippendales, and feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

Hogarth's bust in Leicester square, with the Empire Cinema behind
Wet Wet Wet, Zandra Rhodes and Todd Carty... what a weird lineup, at Leicester Square Empire.

For the whole, offbeat effect, we recommend seeking out the book — and also watching the film (it's available in its entirely on BFI Player, although you'll need a subscription to watch.)

One Canada Square peeking over a hedge
One Canada Square saying hi to Greenwich Park.
A man in front of police tape, wearing a bowler hat, covers his eyes
The corner of Cornhill and Lombard Street. This chap was apparently a well-known fixture, famous for his erratic behaviour.
The MI6 building under construction from across the Thames
The MI6 building under construction.
A McDonald's with a huge Ronald McDonalds sat on top
Old Kent Road.
A man in green overalls surveys phone booths with terrorism hotline ads pasted in the windows
100 Parliament Street, at a time when terrorism was rife.
Man sit around a fire by tents in the middles of a park
Rough sleepers, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Red buses beneath a stunning concrete roof
Stockwell Bus Garage.
A bustling Elephant and Castle, with a bright pink elephant mascot on a pole outside the shopping centre
Elephant and Castle, when the shopping centre was still thriving.
Battersea Power station from across the Thames
Battersea Power Station.
An ad for the Chippendales, with a big greased up torso on it
High-brow show at Strand Theatre.
A fountain spurts out from a pond inside a shopping centre
Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
A Rolls Royce pulls up outside the Swiss Cntre, chased by photographers
The Queen's limousine pulls into Leicester Square.
People feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square, when feeding the pigeons was still allowed.
Concorde flying low over a terrace house
Concorde roars over Myrtle Avenue, Hounslow.

LONDON by Patrick Keiller, published by FUEL.

We featured this book because we know it's the kind of thing our readers will enjoy. By buying it via links in this article, Londonist may earn a commission from Bookshop.org — which also helps support independent bookshops.