England, 1913

These pictures were taken in August 1913, one year before the outbreak of World War One by Auguste Leon. Leon was working for Albert Kahn, a French banker and philanthopist who, at this time, had a house in Cornwall. In total, Kahn’s photographers took 72,000 colour images of 50 countries to form “The Archives of the Planet“.


All pictures (c) Musee Albert-Kahn. For more of Albert Kahn’s images, see David Okuefuna’s “The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn“.

22 comments to England, 1913

  • Melinda P.

    Thank you for this site. I absolutely love it!

  • Jack Jewers

    Wow, those are incredible! I wonder if anybody could identify where they were taken?

    It’s things like this that keep me coming back to this delightful site.

  • Ruth de Wynter

    I wonder if the London shot could be Bedford Park?

  • Chris

    Thanks Ruth, that’s very helpful.

  • Ruth de Wynter

    Bedford Park isn’t North London admittedley, but those gables are shouting Norman Shaw to me…

  • Annie

    The London street - it looks a bit Highgate Hill to me. Good luck.

  • Ruth de Wynter

    Someone’s going to have to go and have a look!

  • Pierre

    The street nameplate is there on the wall, just to the right of the street-sweeper. Enhancement magician needed!

  • Steev

    I’ve seen that last picture on his web site, it’s in Folkestone, not London.

  • Steev

    Actually, borderline OCD pays off sometimes ;)

    Corner of Grimston Avenue & Sandgate Road, Folkestone.


    The trees have grown a bit…

  • Chris

    Steev, that is a bordering on hilarious, deeply worrying, and genius, all at the same time. Thank you for going to the trouble of figuring this out. Big apology to all the Folkestonians out there…

  • Steev

    Elementary my dear Wats… er, Retronaut…

  • Chris B

    It’s amazing that the conservatory is still there.

  • Michele

    Do you own these photographs? Is it the prints that are colored or the negatives? I am a digital librarian that deals in public domain images so the answers to these questions is important to me. I have some glass plate negatives that are colored but they were hand done. Or I assumed they were. Depending on your answers I may have to do some more investigation.

  • Chris

    Hey Michele - thanks for your note. These photographs are part of the Albert Kahn collection of Autochromes, so they are colour photographs, not hand tinted or colorised.

  • Cliff Simpson

    Wow what memories I remember walking such roads as a youth and how posh they looked. Do you notice the open windows !
    wouldn’t happen to day.If the road sweeper is free he can come to my road littered with rubbish and weeds.

    Thank you.

  • Amanda

    Come to central London - there are road sweepers all over the place!

    Wonderful photos, thanks for the post.

  • Les Hemmings

    Thought it looked familiar! That Folkestone shot is a 5 min walk from my front door!

  • Emily Edwards

    That top one, with the Cornish village, is a fabulous study of dilapidation, isn’t it? Wow, what a beautiful picture. It gets my Nosy Antennae twitching. I want to climb over the walls in the garden of the first house, peer in through the windows and try the door. Is it stone, with a cob top, I wonder? No idea. Brilliant website. Best Ever.

  • Airminded · Aeroretronautics

    [...] colour photographs taken periods we don’t normally associate with colour photographs — 1913, for example. The photograph above struck me with this anachronistic force. It shows RAF biplane [...]

  • Colin Jackson

    What’s amazing about that last one is how little it’s changed. Apart from the odd texture of the road and lack of road markings (why would you need them at buggy speeds?), and the mature trees, it’s hardly changed a jot. There’s even a post-box stood in the same spot (though presumably not the same one!).

  • Zo

    tha war has been destroyed human several development and nature as well, and i see the picture above and come in my mind that how developed Englang and other Countries would have been today….. it would have been much much better and a far beautiful today if the war wouldn’t have been…..
    Let’s Join our hand and raise our voice toward peace and stop war and fighting.

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