Photos of Mid-Seventies London by David Rostance

Photographs of Britain's capital taken with a Pentax Spotmatic during a time of high inflation, IRA bombs and heatwaves.

1976, the year that David Rostance took some of these fascinating photographs, is probably best remembered for the extraordinary heat wave and its accompanying drought. In January the first commercial Concorde flight took off at Heathrow and in the same winter month twelve Provisional IRA bombs exploded in the west end of London. In March Harold Wilson announced his resignation as Prime Minister which was to take effect the following month. Two days after the UK won the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time with the song “Save Your Kisses for Me”, sung by Brotherhood of Man, James Callaghan became the new Prime Minister. In October – the InterCity 125 high-speed train is introduced into passenger service on British Rail, initially between London Paddington station, Bristol and south Wales. 1976 was also the year that saw the beginnings of punk. In September that year, the 100 Club played host to the first punk festival and in October October The Damned released New Rose, the first single marketed as “punk rock”. At the end of the year in December, the Sex Pistols were encouraged to swear on Bill Grundy’s TV show which brought the band  notoriety and the end of the host’s career.

David Rostance

Paddington station on 29th May 1976

David Rostance London

The Archway Tavern, April 1976

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Trafalgar Square, 3rd April 1976

London in 1977

In January 1977 the soon to become ubiquitous Ford Fiesta went on sale for the first time and the during the following month Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was released. The same month the first Aardman Animations character, Morph, is introduced on BBC children’s television programme Take Hart. In March the Labour government revealed that inflation had increased prices up by almost 70% within three years. Not entirely unconnected the Conservatives started to make gains at local council elections, including winning the Greater London Council from Labour.

In September Marc Bolan, one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement at the start of the 1970s with T. Rex, died in a car crash in Barnes, London, two weeks before his thirtieth birthday. His girlfriend Gloria Jones, who was driving the car was seriously injured. Freddie Laker launched his new budget Skytrain airline, with the first single fare from Gatwick to New York City costing £59 compared to the normal price of £186. More than a million Londoners lined the streets to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was also the first year that you could take the tube to Heathrow and then fly to New York on Concorde — both the Piccadilly line extension and this coveted air route made their debut this year. On the 25 December, on the day that Charlie Chaplin died, The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show on BBC 1 television attracted an audience of more than 28 million viewers, one of the highest ever in UK television history. Two days later Star Wars, which has been a massive hit in the United States, opened in British cinemas for the first time.

London David Rostance

junction of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus on 19th April 1975

David Rostance London

A barge passes beneath Waterloo Bridge on 19th April 1975

David Rostance London

Alleyn Park, Sydenham Hill, 16th March 1975

David Rostance London

Big Ben from Parliament Square on 3rd April 1976 in August in the same year it broke down and was out of service for nine months.

David Rostance London

Christ Church, Crouch End, April 1976

David Rostance London

Crouch End, February 1976

London David Rostance

Edison Road, Crouch End, April 1976

David Rostance London

Fulham Broadway into Harwood Road 1977

David Rostance London

junction of Cockspur Street and Pall Mall. 19th April 1975

David Rostance London

Knights Hill Road, West Norwood 1975

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Muswell Hill Broadway on 20th April 1975

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Norwood Garage, March 1975

David Rostance

Novello Street, Fulham, June 1977

David Rostance London

Platform 8 at Paddington station on 29th May 1976

David Rostance London

Paddle steamer, ‘Old Caledonia’ moored by the Thames Embankment adjacent to Waterloo bridge. 19th April 1975

David Rostance London

Parliament Square, London, April 1976

David Rostance

Piccadilly on 19th April 1975

David Rostance London

Piccadilly, London, April 1976

David Rostance London

Praed Street W2, April 1976

David Rostance London

Routemaster crosses Westminster Bridge on 19th April 1975

David Rostance

Routemaster in West Norwood, March 1975

David Rostance

Routemaster in West Norwood, March 1975

David Rostance

Routemasters in Park Lane, April 1976

David Rostance London

Big Ben from the Thames Embankment on 3rd April 1976

David Rostance London

Routemasters turning from Haymarket into Pall Mall, April 1976

David Rostance London

Silver Jubilee Bus Trafalgar Square on 6th June 1977

David Rostance London

South Circular Road, 1975 Dulwich Common

David Rostance

Bus on the Strand making its way towards Trafalgar Square on 6th June 1977

David Rostance

The Strand on 6th June 1977

David Rostance

Trafalgar Square on 6th June 1977

David Rostance

Trafalgar Square traffic jam, April 1976

David Rostance

Trafalgar Square, 3rd April 1976

David Rostance

Trafalgar Square, April 1976

David Rostance London

Trafalgar Square, June 1977

More of David Rostance’s fascinating photographs can be found on his Flickr site and are much recommended.