Events History

Lost Victorian City: a London Disappeared

Using photographs, maps, panoramas, trade cards, watercolours, and historic documents, this free exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives uncovers London’s lost secrets…

A poster with the words: Lost Victorian City: a London Disappeared

Nineteenth century London saw an astronomical increase in population from just over two million at the time of the 1841 census to around six million by the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1901. This inevitably shaped the city with an intense period of building to make way for a new infrastructure that impacted the lives of the people of London. Developments in the twentieth century cleared some Victorian buildings that were beginning to be considered old fashioned. Bomb damage during the Second World War also resulted in many parts of Victorian London being destroyed or demolished.

An old black and white photograph of people in Victorian clothing and rubble on the ground.
Photo: Courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives

Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared looks at the collections held at London Metropolitan Archives, providing a window into a Victorian London that has since gone from view. From photographs and records of buildings such as the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane in 1875, the Pool of London, horse drawn transport, shopping and entertainment, these records chart a rapidly evolving city.

Featuring material from LMA’s extensive archival and library collections, visitors will be able to experience contemporary Victorian views of Street Life in London courtesy of the works of photographer John Thompson, and social commentator Henry Mayhew. Exploring the working life of London, the cries of street sellers, the horrifying work of sewer-hunters, and the tragic necessity for public disinfectors are all remembered in this exhibition.

A coloured drawing of women in Victorian costume
Courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives

For a limited time only, discover the Domestic World of Annie Horatia Jones on temporary display alongside the exhibition. The daughter of Tower Bridge designer Horace Jones, Annie’s childhood is revealed through photographs, letters and scrapbooks, alongside her collection of dolls made and clothed by her aunt to represent Annie’s family and household.

The exhibition is open now and runs until 5 February 2025.

Lost Victorian City: a London disappeared

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB

13 May 2024 – 5 February 2025 (The Domestic World of Annie Horatia Jones runs until 18 July 2024)

To book tickets visit

Cost – FREE

Opening hours:

Mon, Tue, Thur | 10am – 4.30pm

Wed | 10am – 7pm

Sat | Second Saturday of the month |10am-4.30pm

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