Then and Now: Tower Bridge and The Tower of London

As I am wont to do, I was browsing the Library Of Congress’ collection of old photographs yesterday when I stumbled across a great panoramic image of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London taken from Southwark in 1909. As the image is public domain I downloaded the TIFF file and spend a few hours in GIMP restoring this great shot. The great thing about restoring and retouching is that I go over the whole image “pixel-peeping” and so see lots of details such as the man in the skiff, people promenading along the north bank near Traitor’s Gate and the old signs on the warehouses at St. Katharine’s Docks, to name a few.


I thought it might be interesting to see a more contemporary view. As I cannot get to London from Pennsylvania that easily I used Google street view to come to my rescue with a fairly similar angle, just up from where HMS Belfast is berthed.


Unsurprisingly, much of this area has changed over the last century with the working dockyards for loading and unloading barges long gone as the road network and container ships took over transporting goods, and the warehouses at St. Katharine’s Docks were bombed out during the Blitz, but the two main London icons live on, and I am sure the original photographer would have marveled at the sight of Canary Wharf in the distance.


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