In 1949, while on a visit to London armed with his camera and a roll of Kodachrome film, American photographer Chalmers Butterfield shot what have now become iconic images of a bygone era.
Four years after the Second World War came to an end and Britain was in buoyant mood. The prolific rebuild of the city was in full swing and closing in on completion, the post-war rationing of clothes had ended, Laurence Olivier’s film Hamlet had just become the first British film to win a ‘Best Picture’ Oscar and Butterfield was revelling in the capital city.
Wandering the streets around Piccadilly Circus, Mayfair and Knightsbridge, the photographer was able to capture most of the full functioning glitz and glamour of London’s West End with a wonderfully approachable sense of realism, a glimpse into a now fascinating era with more than a hint of nostalgia.
Butterfield’s images, which have circulated online sporadically in recent years, depict London’s iconic mode of transport with the black cabs and red busses lining the streets around Piccadilly which is littered with advertisements for Brylcreem and Jacob’s cream crackers.
View a selection of his work, below: