These incredible vintage photos chart the history of Charing Cross Road

Gareth Richman, Robin De Peyer
Getty Images

Spanning the course of almost a century, these extraordinary photographs show one of central London’s best-known roads in years gone by.

The buses, bookshops and carriages of Charing Cross Road are captured in black and white and colour in the extraordinary photographs.

They show the route from the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street down towards Trafalgar Square and its array of shops and adverts.

But though busy, the streets are noticeably quieter and calmer than they appear in 2018, even in photos showing the Hippodrome next to Leicester Square station.

Tottenham Court Road at the junction with Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road in 1919 (Getty Images)

They also show the book shops for which Charing Cross Road remains famous, from small second hand book sellers to Foyles, which still has its flagship store in the street today.

Shamus Dark, 70, who collated some of the photos on his Flickr page which also features images of other parts of London through the years, said he felt “nostalgia” when he looked through them.

A lot of it has changed… especially if you take the Charing Cross Road, there aren’t a lot of people who remember the buildings before Centre Point [in 1966]," he said.

“They demolished a whole street. They plonked Centre Point right in the middle.”

Foyles books hop in 1958 (Getty Images)

Mr Dark, a musician who was born and raised in north London and now lives in Bankside, reflected on his time growing up in the capital.

“There’s a huge amount of nostalgia in it, the way that we used to live. My mum used to put me in a little suit and shirt and tie to got to Oxford Street,” he said.

He added that he maintained his Flickr collection of photos because there was a wide audience of people who enjoy looking at London in a new light.

“It’s a lost world. People really enjoy looking back and seeing how things used to be.”