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This is London: A World War II Souvenir That Wasn't For The Locals

05-February-2014 0:00
in World War II
by Peter Berthoud

In 1944 the British Council produced a souvenir photography book solely for overseas forces stationed in the UK - This is London.

This is London, A Souvenir for Overseas ForcesThis is London - a Souvenir for Overseas Forces

The 40 page booklet includes many predicatable images of Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Trafalgar Square but it also contains some fascinating images that could only be included in a souvenir guide for visitors to London during World War II.

The Lights of London – old and new style

Piccadilly CircusPiccadilly Circus - centre of London's West End

London has been bombed
London has been bombed – London carries on

Bank Cheapside
Before petrol rationing – London’s City traffic (The drivers know where they are going, even if you don’t!)

The back cover makes it very clear that this booklet was not intended for the locals.

Owing to limitations of paper supply, the British Council is issuing this booklet in this country

Soley for


Booksellers, therefore, are supplied with it only on the understanding that it will not be sold to anyone except men and women in the uniforms of the Commonwealth, Empire, United States and other Allied Forces now visiting this country. It is hoped that members of the British Forces and the British public generally will appreciate that this Souvenir of their country is intended for their guests.

Today Londoners, and anyone else for that matter, can legitimately pick up a decent copy for around £20 on Amazon et al.

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