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Postcards of London Life in 1950 by Charles Skilton

07-March-2014
07-March-2014 0:00
in Postcards
by Peter Berthoud

A celebrated series of postcards depicting London Life by renowned publisher Charles Skilton crop up regularly on EBay and the like.

The evocative images are often described as being from the 1940s, 1930s or even earlier. But aside from dress there is at least one piece of dating evidence that points in favour of the early 1950s. Whenever they were produced I think they are a beautiful set.

Here are all 12 cards together with the original envelope they came packaged in.

1. London Life: Costermonger “Pearly Kings and Queens” in Southwark
1. London Life: Costermonger “Pearly Kings and Queens” in Southwark

2. London Life: Orators’ Corner, Hyde Park. A well known spot for open-air speaking.2. London Life: Orators’ Corner, Hyde Park. A well known spot for open-air speaking.

3. London Life: The Busy Docks in the Port of London
3. London Life: The Busy Docks in the Port of London

4. London Life: Judges leaving a service at Westminster Abbey.

4. London Life: Judges leaving a service at Westminster Abbey 

5. London Life: Posing for a photograph with the pigeons in Trafalgar Square
5. London Life: Posing for a photograph with the pigeons in Trafalgar Square
 
6. London Life: A Flower Seller in Piccadilly Circus
6. London Life: A Flower Seller in Piccadilly Circus
 
7. London Life: An entertainer escapes from a bound sack in Charing Cross Road
7. London Life: An entertainer escapes from a bound sack in Charing Cross Road
 
8. London Life: A Pavement Artist outside the National Portrait Gallery
8. London Life: A Pavement Artist outside the National Portrait Gallery
 
9. London Life: A Street Market in Soho, the Latin Quarter
9. London Life: A Street Market in Soho, the Latin Quarter
 
This image is the one that helps to date the set. On the wall of the Globe Theatre, to the right (it is now the Gielgud) is a poster advertising “Ring Round the Moon” starring Margaret Rutherford and Paul Scofield. This play opened on the 26th Jan 1950.
 
10. London Life: Artists show their pictures in the open-air at Hampstead
10. London Life: Artists show their pictures in the open-air at Hampstead
 
11. London Life: An East End Rag-and-Bone Man. Crockery is offered as an alternative to cash
11. London Life: An East End Rag-and-Bone Man. Crockery is offered as an alternative to cash
 
12. London Life: The Guards in Whitehall are a familiar spectacle
12. London Life: The Guards in Whitehall are a familiar spectacle
 
London Life: An original presentation envelope
London Life: An original presentation envelope
 
“12 Postcards of Unique Interest” indeed.
 
 
 

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