London Bridge in the 1920s


As you can see from the video, horses and rickety cars go along London Bridge, but there are hardly any cyclists – maybe, if people cycled in London in the twenties, they’d ‘looked like a poor person’, but nowadays, people from all walks of life cycle, although there are still some who think that the only the great unwashed do. (Somethings never change).

Of course, with all the horses about, cyclists would have to put up with cycling in horsemuck all the time – now that would be another good reason for off road cycle paths!

Hmmn, I wonder what cycle campaigning was like in the 20s…

Now cyclists have increased in London and we now have to put up with much larger and faster vehicles with inevitable results.

Another thing you will notice is how well the River Thames is being used and perhaps the River could be more to ease traffic congestion. You hardly ever see any boats on it is so underused. More boats could also ease overcrowding on the tube too. Sure things will be slower but the roads would be safer.

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3 responses to “London Bridge in the 1920s

  1. jackgreen88

    It looked fairly clean,must have got rid of most of the Horse Muck problem by 1926 with the increased amount of Vehicles. I spotted one Cyclist coming across that Bridge only. Most of the Cyclists back then seemed to be well off and a great majority of the ordinary Cyclists seemed to be Women. The Men were mostly Sportive well off Sods.

    Then things changed when Bicycles got Cheaper around about then and everybody was using them as a cheap form of Transport from that time onwards.

    Then of course when everyone started using Bikes , English Snobbery kicked in and the Upper Crust looked down on the Lower Orders for using Bikes, and started getting Cars themselves.

    Things really changed after 1955 when more Cars started to come on the Roads,eventually leading up to Today when the Roads have become Chockers with Traffic.

    It is time to go backwards in Order to go forwards,which it is slowly doing by more People Cycling but the Cars are not lessening very much. They still have not caught on in Britain very well and try to lessen the impact of the Motorcar. They do a lot of talking about it but not much is done.

    They are trying to bring in an Infrastructure for Cycling while at the same time maintaining Traffic flow which means they are not doing much at all,still Pandering to the Motorcar.

  2. I was looking for a photo of London Bridge in the 20’s and didn’t expect to find a video. I have a friend who worked there back in the 20’s and he remembers the transition between horse drawn vehicles and motorised transport vividly – and the smell! They had a lad either side of the bridge just to collect the horse manure!
    May I ask where you obtained the video from.
    Many thanks
    Diana Jackson
    http://www.dianamj.wordpress.com

  3. I think I got it from the British Film Theatre (National Archives) in the South Bank, London. They have some clips on Youtube which I recommend. They have a good selection of videos, some over 100 years old (BlackBriars Bridge and Charing Cross area). I am fascinated with the transition from horseback to motorist transport. Yes, I have heard stories about the pong. I didn’t realise that there were ‘special lads’ who cleared it up. I wonder why with all the smell that the horses didn’t wear ‘horse nappies’ like they do in some places! Maybe in the ‘old days’ a car was something to ‘aspire to’, status seemed to be so important in those days. I remember my dad, born in the 1920s, showing off in his ‘vintage car’. Suppose men are all the same really! Some of the carriages seemed to be quite tatty and overloaded I have seen from the pictures. You don’t think about that. You imagine that it was all very Charles Dickens with beautiful carriages. I am not sure when they started to have traffic lights. I would like to see more shire horses in the clips, as there were breweries nearby.

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