Old London Street Scenes (1903)

Traffic congestion in Edwardian London.

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand.

There are plenty of famous landmarks to spot here, including Big Ben, the National Gallery and the Bank of England, and it is fascinating to see the similarities between the customs of then and now – the dense traffic (mainly horse-drawn, with the occasional motor car) is highly reminiscent of today’s London rush hour, while advertising on public transport is clearly no new phenomenon – in one scene, an advert for NestlĂ©’s Milk seems to be plastered on every other vehicle.

Credit: BFI

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