The Queens’ London – the Diamond Jubilees of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II

This year, countries across the Commonwealth are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, our longest serving monarch since Queen Victoria (we’ve previously published a Jubilee book list).

The Queens' London, by Jon Curry and Hugo SimmsTo commemorate this year’s event, Jon Curry and Hugo Simms have created a remarkable chronicle of London in the reigns of Victoria and Elizabeth II: The Queens’ London. The book is based on an earlier title, published to mark Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (The Queen’s London: A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Great Metropolis). The authors have cleverly updated this 19th century publication with new images and text, resulting in an interesting comparative study between the reigns of our two longest-serving Queens.

Focussing on beautifully-captured vintage photographs from the Victorian publication, the authors discuss London’s metropolis as it was, and compare it with the city as we know it today. The original images, placed alongside recent photographs taken from the same vantage points, provide an intriguing comparison between the two eras and a fascinating record of London’s changing skyline over the last century.

Oxford Street in the 1890s. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Oxford Street in the 1890s. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

The Queens’ London is just the latest addition to an extensive collection of photographic books of London held at City of Westminster Archives Centre. The Centre also holds large collections of original photographs, including many from the 1890s, when Queen Victoria was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.

View of the courtyard of the Savoy Hotel in 1897. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

View of the courtyard of the Savoy Hotel in 1897. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

[Georgina]

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One response to “The Queens’ London – the Diamond Jubilees of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II

  1. On the day of the Queen’s Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, Battersea Park will be host to a family friendly Jubilee Festival featuring vintage music, dance, crafts, funfair and a multitude of other entertainments. Beginning at 12 noon, in anticipation of the flotilla, and continuing until 7pm, the Diamond Jubilee Festival at Battersea Park will feature a diamond geezer pop-up pub – where every self-respecing pearly king and queen will be for a right old knees-up – and a diamond encrusted giant cake stand that will take over 1,000 diamond jubilee themed cakes which will be served with tea throughout the afternoon. Cake specialists Konditor and Cook have even created a portrait of the Queen made of 3,120 cakes, one for each week of her reign. The festival, which has been organised by designer Wayne Hemingway and artist Clare Patey who curated Feast on the Bridge for the Thames Festival, will be a memorable celebration of the Diamond Jubilee through a timeline of the six decades of the Queen’s reign with music, dancing, design and plenty of opportunities for dressing up – from vintage fashions to Morris dancing. There’ll be a village fete, storytelling, outdoor cinema, old fashioned steam fair, fancy dress flotilla on the Boating Lake , and a mini-musuem of royal memorabilia at the park’s Pump House Gallery .

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