March 2020 began like any other year, but disaster was looming...
For many of us, central London was rarely glimpsed in 2020. The pandemic trapped millions in suburban homes for long periods. Even when restrictions eased, we were discouraged from using public transport unless essential. Large numbers were furloughed and had no business in town. Tourism was all but absent.
Central London was uniquely quiet. Not since ancient times had fewer people walked the daytime streets. This is the unprecedented year captured by David Ramzan in his book London in Lockdown.
Ramzan chronicles time of upheaval with over 90 colour photographs. Most show very familiar parts of the capital, normally thronged but now almost entirely absent of people.
Alongside the photography, Ramzan explains the history of disease and pandemic in London — from Roman times to the Black Death and Great Plague, and then on into the 20th century. The text provides historical context to put the most recent pandemic into perspective. Many of the photographs are taken at sites with connections to earlier plagues.
This is a poignant yet historically underpinned account of a remarkable year (or two) that none of us shall ever forget.