Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Night Photographs: London in the 1930s

St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Night photographs speak of secret worlds that exist while the world is sleeping, or when the world is wide awake when and where it should not be. Memories made real, waking dreams, instincts walking freely - it was upon these things that Francisco Goya famously speculated when he produced a series of night sketches - the world that exists when the world is not looking. These night sketches were part of a larger series exploring the dark side of human nature. Art Attacks:
the series, entitled “Caprichos,” depicts “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual.” When the series was first released as an album in 1799, it produced adverse reviews and was later removed from circulation.
The Telegraph has posted a series of photos of London at night in the 1930s; see the full series here and some more pictures below the jump:
This picture gallery features atmospheric images of London streets in the 1930s, before the Blitz, before the clean air act, before sodium lighting. It was a city of gloomy back streets lit by dim lamps, with forbidding alleys and the occasional welcoming light. The photographs are from a book called London Night, by John Morrison and Harold Burdekin, which was published in 1934. They were recently posted on The Library Time Machine, a fascinating blog run by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library Service.
The flip side to Goya's coin is that night life also reflects advancements in technology. One glance shows a 20th century society, before the technological revolution hit full force.

Adelphi Arches, The Strand.

Cul-de-sac, Brompton Road.

A deserted back street in the City.

The Royal Exchange.

Grange Street, the Strand. The original Charing Cross Hospital is in the background.

For my earlier posts on night photographs, go here, here and here.


  1. What a fantastic find, ToB! The photographs really ought to be exhibited in an art gallery or museum. Thanks for posting them.

  2. Glad you liked them. As mentioned, they were published in a 1934 coffee table book, which reminded me that the coffee table book might well be a dying breed these days.