London Smog, December, 1952


Thank you to Another Nickel in the Machine, Paul Townsend and John Pollock

8 comments to London Smog, December, 1952

  • Roy Grubb

    These pictures don’t show the half of it. No photograph could, because you would see little but yellowish grey.

    As a small kid in London, I came home from school in the thickest fog I have ever seen. My grandmother came to collect me and we passed each other on the pavement (/sidewalk) no more the 4 feet apart without knowing it.

    I have been in incredibly polluted cities in China - Chung King and Beijing come to mind - but have never experienced anything as bad as London in the 40s and 50s until domestic burning of coal was prohibited.


  • Carole Ann

    Really love these pictures. Completely evocative. I remember smog in the 70s and being on a route master bus and the conductor having to walk in the front all down the Uxbridge Road from Hanwell to Hayes so it didn’t hit anything. I loved the magic and mystery of it and yes it had a peculiar grey/yellow quality
    Thanks for the great images.
    Carole Ann - West Londoner

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  • Mark

    In part this is why Downing Street is that weird black colour, from the wikipedia article:

    When builders examined the exterior façade, they discovered that the black colour visible even in photographs from the mid-nineteenth century was misleading; the bricks were actually yellow. The black appearance was the product of two centuries of pollution. To preserve the ‘traditional’ look of recent times, the newly cleaned yellow bricks were painted black to resemble their well-known appearance.

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