London in the 1940s was dominated by the second world war. Suffering horrific bombing during The Blitz, large parts of the city were destroyed, especially the industrial areas in east London. Looking through some of these photos you'll notice the statue of Anteros in Piccadilly Circus is missing. It was removed for safekeeping, and returned in 1948.
The 1940s was also the decade that saw London host the Olympics, the Queen married Prince Philip, and the Empire Windrush brought excited and hopeful young people from the West Indies to London.
VJ Day street party Source Old London Clapton FC return to the Old Spotted Dog ground, 1943 Source Old London An American soldier and his English girlfriend on the lawn in Hyde Park. Source History in Pictures A new musical play, Jenny Jones, was running at the Hippodrome Theatre. Source Old London Mothers protest to demand day nurseries for their children so that they could engage in war work, Hampstead Source Home Front Museum The 1944 Summer Games - due to be held in London - were cancelled Source Ww2 Tweets From 1940 Children in London celebrate Christmas in an underground bomb shelter, December 25. Source History in Pictures A Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, 1947 Source Historicroyalpalaces Two small girls wave flags in the rubble of Battersea, VE Day Source Iwm Tram on Westminster Bridge Source Londonhistorian The ruins of the City of London from Southwark Bridge to Blackfriars - photo taken from St Paul's Cathedral in 1942 Source Davenant West End book business basement shelter, Bloomsbury.
Source Flashbak A familiar face in uniform Source Londonhistorian Elephant and Castle Underground station shelter Source Flashbak A teenage Princess Elizabeth in her ATS uniform, 1942 Source Lost in History Winston Churchill with General Eisenhower on VE Day Source Michael Beschloss The East End bombed in the Blitz - note the Tower of London in the background Source The Ripper 22 June1948: The Empire Windrush brings first group of 492 Jamaican immigrants to the UK Source Daily Radical History Elizabeth Taylor in Trafalgar Square, 1948 Source History in Pictures Shelterers sleep on the benches which line the wall of this London trench shelter Source Flashbak Women protest for a raise, 1949 Source Dr Bernie Borgstein Aldwych, used as an air raid shelter, October 1940 Source Pinterest London, 1941 Source Old Pics Archive Shaftesbury Avenue, 1949 Source Retro Mark The wreckage of a bus, which was blasted against a house during the Blitz, 9 September 1940 Source Old Pics Archive 1948 London Summer Olympics - opening ceremony Source Bbc A waiter in wartime Soho, 1942 Source Discovering London Camden children collecting penny for the Guy, 1948 Source The London Sound Survey Prefabs around Galbraith Street on the Isle of Dogs, built quickly to create further housing following bombings, 1946 Source The Ripper Trafalgar Square, 1947 Source Nika Garrett Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs Source Buzzfeed A Heinkel He111 bomber flies over central London, 7 September 1940 Source Avax Piccadilly Circus, July 1941 Source Londonhistorian A Journey Unknown - short comic looking at the Empire Windrush in 1948 Source Orlando Maths lesson in the Elephant & Castle Underground station during an air raid alert Source Yesteryear Cow Lane Bridge, Peckham was hit by a V2 missile, and repaired within two days. Source Old London Defiant signs at Wally's barber shop on St Martin Street, after losing its windows during the Blitz Source Vintage Photos Second world war bomb damage around St Paul's Cathedral in 1946 Source Lost in History Police officer on the Strand Source Old London Big Ben floodlit on 8 May Source Old London The Empire Windrush brings 492 Jamaican immigrants to Tilbury Docks - the start of modern UK immigration Source Cash Drop History St Paul's during the Blitz Source Londoninsight Londoners seek shelter in Aldwych tube station, 1941 Source History in Pictures Lewisham High Street, 1940s Source Old London People outside the Ritz in Leicester Square which was showing Gone With The Wind, 1941 Source Old London A WH Smith bookstore Source Bibliophilia A boy reading in a ruined bookshop after a night of heavy bombing. October 1940 Source Lost in History Soho, 1940 Source Rob Baker Frith Street in 1943 Source Nika Garrett A royal wedding Source Karolina Police road safety, 1949 Source Old London King George VI and the Queen Consort meeting air raid victims, 1941 Source Old London Bomb damage at St Pancras railway station, May 1941 Source Davenant A market brings colour to the Blitz. Source Iliketowastemytime A man holds all that is left of his possessions after his house was bombed Source Prof.frank Mc Donough Southbank, 1949 Source Rob Baker A wide view of the bomb-damaged shell of the John Lewis department store on London's Oxford Street. Source Old Pics Archive Mrs Vera Hibberd at work in the signal box at Wembley Park station to check up on trains which vary a minute or two from the set timetable, 1942 Source Iwm Kids didn't get Easter eggs in 1941. Here they munch on their carrot treats instead Source Old London Rita Hayworth arriving at Croydon Airport, 1948 Source Old London Bomb damage to terraced houses in Sandmere Road, Brixton, 1 July 1944 Source Old London Clapham Tram Depot following an air raid Source Old London Diners in a busy restaurant at Aldwych Source Rob Baker Waterloo station women welders, 1940s Source Old London St Paul's in 1947 Source Davenant Elizabeth Taylor, 1948 Source Flashbak.com St Paul's Cathedral, 1940 Source Wikia The Blitz - unexploded bomb, London, 1943 Source Old Pics Archive Spotter, watching out for German air raids, during a Charlton Athletic vs Arsenal match at The Valley, 1940 Source History Pics According to the original caption, Rose worked as a booking clerk during the first world war and returned to this job when war broke out "with the same smiling efficiency", 1942 Source Iwm Abandoned boy holding a soft toy Source History Pics St Paul's during heavy attacks by the German Luftwaffe on 29 December 1940 Source Theatlantic 1940 Source Bbc World Service Highbury, 1940s Source Old London Four young women enjoy a stroll in the spring sunshine along a shopping street in the West End, 1941 Source Iwm Blitz ghosts, 1940. Source Nick Stone Police officer during the Blitz, 1940 Source Old London Poster recruiting female bus and tram workers, 1941 Source Retrographik Station garden competition, Hammersmith, 1943 Source Old London Winston Churchill and his daughter, Mary Spencer Churchill, in London, c 1943 Source Old Pics Archive London fashion shoot, 1949 Source Old London Ealing c.1940 with pedestrian lanes to speed people up and avoid bumps in the blackout Source Davenant A woman drinking tea in the aftermath of a German bombing raid during the Blitz Source History in Pictures Women of the Women's Voluntary Service run a mobile canteen Source Classic Movies Don't worry, I'll fix it. Source Old London 1940s Source Old London West Ham's, Boleyn Ground, 1940 Source Old London Three Kings pub, Cromwell Road Source Old London 1940 Source Iliketowastemytime September 1940 Source Imperial War Museums A boy sits amid the ruins of a London bookshop after an air raid, 1940 Source Old Pics Archive Readers browsing through the bomb-damaged library of Holland House. Source History in Pictures 10 May 1941 saw the last major raid during the London Blitz, dubbed 'the longest night'. There was damage to many important buildings including the Houses of Parliament, seen here Source Londonhistorian A colourisation of The North stand, Stamford Bridge (1948), by George Chilvers. Source Old London Waterloo Station approach, 1947 Source Rob Baker Soho, 1947 Source Flashbak.com Piccadilly Circus Source Old London Brixton Station Road, 1940s Source Old London The City of London in 1948, taken from the roof of St Paul's cathedral Source Old London Miss Feely operates one of the large lifts which carry passengers from street level down to the platforms and back up to the street again, 1942 Source Iwm VE Day street party, Argyle Road, Edmonton Source 1900s Source Ronnierocket Ingrid Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock at the George Inn on Borough High Street, 1948 Source Flashbak.com A bomb penetrated the road and exploded in Balham Underground station, killing 68 people Source Londonhistorian Balham Underground station Source Londonhistorian Metropolitan Police Box, 1948 Source Old London The Bedford Theatre, 1949 Source Old London Mrs Hilda Slater cleans a window of an Underground tube train at a station, 1942 Source Iwm The Docklands ablaze after the first mass air raid on London. Source Yesteryear Streets of London, 1949 Source Historyphotographed Bomb damage in Balham results in tube tunnels collapsing, over 60 people killed Source Imperial War Museums Mrs L Philpotts and Mrs E Firth carry out essential maintenance work to the escalators at a London underground station, 1942 Source Iwm King's Cross and St Pancras, 1945 Source Buzzfeed Camberwell Green, late 1940s Source Lambeth Walker St George's Cathedral, Southwark, 1942 Source History London Firefighters dealt with blazes caused by bombing on Queen Victoria Street Source London Fire Brigade Miss Hannah Casson operates the ticket machine in her booth at a London Underground station, 1942 Source Iwm Tubby Isaacs Jellied Eels, Aldgate East, 1940 Source Spitalfieldslife Brooklands Grand Prix circuit, 1945 Source Buzzfeed A boy points out his bedroom to his friends, after his home had been wrecked during a bombing raid in an eastern suburb of London, 1940 Source Historyphotographed Boys will be boys Source Old London Elephant and Castle underground station shelter with train Source Flashbak The Mallard at King's Cross, 1948 Source Old London The Blitz reached Buckingham Palace in 1940 Source Londonhistorian Mrs Edith Hill manoeuvres a forklift trolley in a depot where railway seats are overhauled and repaired, London, 1942 Source Iwm King's Cross railway station. Source Old London Traffic moving slowly on an icy Queen Victoria Street. A light dusting of snow softens the bomb damage. Source Davenant