From February 6th, London Metropolitan Archives are displaying a selection of images taken from their vast records in The Londoners – Portraits of a Working City c.1447 to 1980. The exhibition focuses on London’s workforce and brings together thousands of everyday people from throughout history. The photography and drawings on display represent the broad mix of vocations and workers from the 15th Century right up to the Big Bang in the 1980s. 

This visual history brilliantly contrasts the strange with the familiar. In this day and age we don’t have any demand for coachmen or chimney sweeps and it’s nearly impossible to tell what role some of the people in these images played just by looking at them. It’s compelling for the viewer to see how much has changed and to compare the London they know with the past. 

On the other hand there are familiar themes in this exhibition. What has been a constant through the history of London is the variety of people who live and work here and the pride they take in being a part of this city. Despite all the different faces and uniforms the collection of images makes it clear that over hundreds of years people have always played their part in working together to make London the vibrant and thriving city that it is today. 

The exhibition is free with no need to book.
The exhibition runs until 04 Jul 2017.

– Piece by Faith Clark