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Piccadilly Circus - Spot the Difference!

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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Piccadilly Circus - Spot the Difference!

Many currently available London postcards have images that may be a year or two out of date but I think this one is an outstanding example of the lazy use of stock photography!


I bought it yesterday in Piccadilly Circus from one of the souvenir stalls. It was not being sold as a retro or vintage view but was mixed in with all the other "current" (i.e. also often dated) cards.

Zoom into enjoy all the period details.

I have dated the view to 1963 or 64 by the poster for the "Circlorama Cavalcade" which was only open between these dates. In the intervening near half century so many aspects of this view have changed, that I am amazed it is still possible to sell this image to visitors who are able, simply by looking around them, to see that it bears little comparison to the place they are visiting and buying a souvenir of.

As a confessed London nerd though, I am glad that such historic images are still available and so inexpensively, four for a pound!

Does anyone know of an older available view of a London tourist attraction still being sold as current?

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2 Comments:

At 30 May 2011 at 14:48 , Blogger Jacek Chmielewski said...

Hey, check my story and exhibition! "Postcard From London" in 2005. It is also about the postcard from 1963/64. "Picture on a postcard that someone posted to us to Poland in 80s was outdated. In Odeon theatre, there was "A hard day's night" premiere, where The Beatles played.
Now, after 25 years, i visited the Piccadilly Circus from the picture. I realized the picture had to be taken from the roof of Virgin megastore. What is more fantastic I could walk out of frame of the postcard, see what is in a park at the end of the street"
http://www.fotopolis.pl/index.php?n=3021&pocztowka-z-londynu-w-torunskim-nrd
greets, Jacek

 
At 30 May 2011 at 22:14 , Blogger Peter Berthoud said...

Dear Jacek,

Your comment has made my day, thank you very much!

I just read your article and it reminded me of my childhood. I was a little boy in Africa and we had pictures of the great London sights at home. They used to fascinate me too and I studied them daily.

When I then came to London, still as a boy, my love of the city really began. You really summed up that sense of being able, at last, to "walk outside the frame" of a familiar image.

And I agree that although the images on tourist postcards can be very dated that is part of the charm of them and of London. The same buses and taxis, on the same routes, going past the same buildings and all for so many generations.

It doesn't really matter that the fashions have changed or that the buildings have different uses. The essence of the experience has been captured.

An old image, of a street we know for real, makes the past more tangible and our place in time more clear.

I wish I could see you exhibition photos. The link at the bottom of the article seems to be broken. If you have another link please do let me know.

And still the view is changing! Virgin were replaced by Zavvi. Zavvi went bust, the Old Swan and Edgar building is now a branch of The Sting, a clothing shop.

The Old London Pavilion was first a music hall (theatre) with part being used as a Museum of Anatomy! Later came the cinema where Hard Day's Night was premièred, the date of your card. Then it was a waxwork museum devoted to Rock music and now it is a "Ripley's Believe it or Not" attraction.

Thank you again for getting in touch. I really enjoyed the link, thanks to Google translation! Hope that your images of London, may even now be inspiring a young person to want to come and visit in the future

All the very best,

Pete

 

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