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London During the Blitz: Then and Now Photographs

On May 11, the United Kingdom will mark the 75th anniversary of “The Longest Night,” the final horrible night of the Blitz—an eight-month-long aerial bombing offensive launched by Nazi Germany during World War II.  More than 40,000 British civilians were killed in the Blitz, 1.5 million Londoners were left homeless, and the city’s landscape was left shattered. Below, Getty Images photographer Jim Dyson recently traveled to locations across London to make comparisons between scenes from the Blitz and present-day images, laying one on top of the other.

  • In this digital composite image, a comparison has been made between a London scene during the Blitz of 1940-1941 and present day, to remember the 75th anniversary of the end of the Blitz in London, on May 11, 2016. The black-and-white overlay image is an eastward view, down the Thames towards smoke rising from fires in Surrey docks, following the first German air raid of the London Blitz on September 7, 1940. The present-day scene is a view of Tower Bridge taken on April 25, 2016.

    Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty — Jim Dyson / Getty

  • A digital composite of a wrecked Humber car on Pall Mall street after an air raid during the London Blitz, October 15, 1940, overlaid on a Pall Mall street scene in Piccadilly on May 1, 2016.

    Central Press / Getty — Jim Dyson / Getty

  • A digital composite shows Londoners sheltering on a platform at the Bounds Green tube station during an air raid in the Blitz, overlaid on a photograph of Bounds Green underground station on May 1, 2016, in London, England.

    Fox Photos / Getty — Jim Dyson / Getty

  • A bus is left leaning against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, in the aftermath of a German bombing raid on London in the first days of the Blitz, on September 9, 1940. The bus was empty at the time, but eleven people were killed in the houses.  The scene is overlaid on a present-day image of housing near Mornington Crescent on April 21, 2016, in London, England.

    H. F. Davis / Topical Press / Hulton Archive / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • A composite image of an area near St Pancras Station in London showing the damage caused by a German air raid on September 19, 1940, overlaid on a view of the British Library beside St Pancras hotel on May 3, 2016, in London, England.

    Central Press / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: September 14, 1940, a crater and damaged railings outside Buckingham Palace, London, after the explosion of a German bomb dropped in an air raid the previous day. Now: Tourists gather outside Buckingham Palace on April 26, 2016.

    Central Press / Hulton Archive / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: Bomb damage caused by an air raid on Berkeley Square, London, on April 29, 1942. Now: The same scene in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, on May 1, 2016.

    Eric Harlow / Keystone / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: Soldiers help to clear the debris of Bank Underground Station, in front of The Royal Exchange in London, the morning after receiving a direct hit during the Blitz. Now: The same scene at Bank junction in front of the Royal Exchange on April 25, 2016.

    H F Davis / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: May 3, 1941, bomb damage in London’s Leicester Square caused by German air raids. Now: A view of the Vue cinema in Leicester Square on May 1, 2016.

    Bert Hardy / Picture Post / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: A blaze in the Negretti and Zambra building at Holborn Circus, London, after a German bombing raid. Now: The same scene at Holborn Circus on May 1, 2016.

    Fox Photos / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty

  • Then: The interior of Westminster Abbey after a German bombing raid, in May 1941. Now: A view of the choir and altar of Westminster Abbey, on January 13, 2015.

    Topical Press Agency / Getty – Jim Dyson / Getty
  • Then: A police officer and a soldier inspect the aftermath of a German air raid, Portman Street, London, on September 19, 1940. Now: The same scene at Portman Sreet near Marble Arch, on April 21, 2016, in London, England.

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