The Buildings of London

Peter Marshall

For around 25 years I photographed London in a fairly systematic way, walking the city, marking the streets I’d covered on the A-Z and taking pictures of any building that seemed significant, either as being in some way special, or as typifying a particular building type.

London is a big city, and once I moved outside the central area of the City itself, it was not possible to cover every street and alley, but I tried to walk all the major roads and to at least look carefully down the side streets for anything of interest. Later in more outlying areas I began to use a bicycle, greatly increasing my range.

There were certain key areas that particularly interested me. I knew that buildings of great historical interest (or even just age) and also churches, were relatively well-documented, while commercial and industrial buildings had often been neglected. It was also clear that many buildings from the first half of the twentieth century were also both photographically poorly represented and also very much in danger of demolition. My own tastes in architecture and architectural decoration also affected what I thought worth photographing, and in general I wanted to also show buildings in context and to photograph the street as well. Often that also included photographing the people.

A small part of that work ended up in the archives of the National Building Record, but mostly it was (and is) only in the files in my study. I started the web site The Buildings of London to present some of this work to a wider public around ten years ago, and that orginial site (with a few later additions) is stil available.

It was written – as was the latest fashion of the time – as an example of a framed web site, and although it still works, now looks rather different as browser software has changed, and some minor revisions were necessary. One day I hope to revisit this site, alter its appearance and add many more of the over 100,000 images from this work.

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