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Blackfriars Bridge (1896)

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Published on Aug 4, 2009

Top-hatted Victorians and horse-drawn traffic cross Blackfriars Bridge.

The definition of 'rush hour' in London grows woollier as the years pass: at its worst it seems to stretch demonically from 6am to 9pm. Journey back over a century to July 1896, though, and this tantalising half-minute of footage reveals our Victorian counterparts making their way to work across the Thames by tram, horse-drawn carriage and, for the health-conscious (or the poor), good old Shanks' pony. More or less business as usual then, although compared to the daily human onslaught we face in 21st century London, the commuters caught by R.W. Paul's static camera proceed at an enviably elegant pace. (Simon McCallum)

Courtesy of the BFI National Archive. To find out more about the Archive visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collect...

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