Menu Close

London Town 54

London Town 54 is now on You Tube too.

With 16 videos London Town 54 is on You Tube.  Key in Pete Grafton, or, London Photos 1954 to access the You Tube presentation. 

Click for Intro and Womens Fashions


This online publication is free, and quotes and segments are available to local newspaper media and specialist print and online publications. All that is required is a link to and letting me know that you are using it. For the possibilities of national commercial use, and adaptation of the material to other media, use the Leave a Reply box to get in touch.

Note that this collection of photos is Copyright Pete Grafton – I need to state this as Alamy has been hoovering up photo based material, some of which strikes me as being in the public domain.  There was strong criticism from professional  photo and journalist bodies when Alamy changed their conditions in 2016, and photographer David Hoffman rightfully called their response to the criticism as “misleading and evasive”.


London Town 54 can be viewed by continuing to scroll, from this Introduction onwards into the Chapters, flowing forwards by Chapter to Chapter.    To access a particular chapter, go to CHAPTERS in the MENU above.  To get in touch, or access social media to tell friends or forward material ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc,)  go to the bottom of any CHAPTER, using the CHAPTERS menu above.

If using a touchscreen device the photos will enlarge to reveal more detail.


Hans Richard Griebe, a German living in Kiel in 1954, travelled to London in August, to do a short course of Conversational and Colloquial English at the London School of English.

Kiel meal-1a png

Hans Richard’s room in Kiel: drying socks and cooking a Bratwurst.

He rented a basement room in the Notting Hill area of London.

Basement int PNG

London.  His basement room in Notting Hill Gate: Kellogs cornflakes, Hovis bread, and a British cup of tea.

When he wasn’t at his English classes, he was out and about in the metropolis, travelling east and west, north and south with his German Exakta camera. He mostly used London Transport buses, occasionally the Tube.

Bus tickets,2-65 PNGTube tickets-65 PNG

He visited London landmarks.

Big Ben night profile-36 PNG

St Pauls-61, alternative PNG

St Pauls, with bomb site foreground.

Tower,1-70 PNG

Eros-28 PNG

He also visited dockland and the docks.

God Save Our Queen-81 PNG

Shadwell.  The Coronation of  Queen Elizabeth II had occurred the previous year, in June 1953.

Wool Docks, Coromandel 2-116 PNG


And the suburbs.

Street, coal horse-218 PNG

He also went on the MV Royal Sovereign down the Thames Estuary to Southend on Sea.

Royal S at TowerBridge-90 PNG

The Royal Sovereign and Tower Bridge.

Qing for Royal S-94 PNG

Queuing to board the Royal Sovereign at Tower Pier.

Southend Pier, couples, train-102 PNG

Southend Pier.

Madame Rene103PNG

Southend: Madame Rene and Torture Thro’ the Ages.

He took a train journey to Portsmouth to photograph Royal Navy ships and Nelson’s Victory.

Victory 4-133 PNG

H.M.S. Victory

 He had an interest in cinema.

Rear window-30 PNG

Rear Window, with James Stewart. The make of camera Jimmy Stewart uses in the film is the German made Exakta – the same make of camera that Hans Richard used for most of his photographs of London Town in 1954.  For a discussion about his cameras, the condition and restoration of the photo prints, go to ABOUT in the MENU at the top of the page.

He went to the ballet.

Ballet 2-43 PNG

A rare full length performance of Esmeralda by the London Festival Ballet, at the Royal Festival Hall. The London Festival Ballet took its name – in 1950 – from the the imminent Festival of Britain of 1951. The London Festival Ballet evolved into what is now known as The English National Ballet company.

 He went to the site of the Festival of Britain.

Fest of B 3-44 PNG

One of the remaining structures from the 1951 Festival of Britain.

He also photographed women

Women 2-20 PNG

Woman, nr station-84022PNG

Women-Oxford St-19 PNG

S-Wendy,3-113 PNG


Hans Richard Griebe

Hans R-9 PNG

Hans Richard on his first full day in England, Sunday 22 August, with a Language School host and two fellow students.   Hampton Court Palace.

What is known, and what can be guessed at – at present – about Hans Richard Griebe is within the pages of his photo scrapbook, which he called Camera Abroad, subtitling it “In German: Exakta geht fremd

Camera Abroad page PNG

When he arrives by boat at Harwich he captions photos of those waiting for the train to London as “First Impressions”.  If there had not been an indication otherwise, we would have assumed that 1954 was his first visit to Britain.  But in Chapter 10 he captions a photo of Tower Bridge with the recollection that it was there that his hat blew off and that it was run over, in 1950.  This raises a tantalising thought that he may have been a German POW, still in England in 1950.  German POWs in Britain were made to work on the land, and their land work was argued by the Labour Government of the time as a form of reparations.  The last German POW was repatriated in November, 1948, but 24,000 German POWs voluntarily stayed on in Britain.  Could he have one of those?  And then returned to Germany in 1950, or just after?  There is certainly the feel, as one works through his photos of London in 1954, that he had an affection for the British.

In his Photo Scrapbook he selected several hundred photographs he had taken, arranged by theme, to paste in, and sometimes added his own sketches to amplify or comment on the theme.

Oxford Street PNG

Occasionally he attached official letters, and also, now and then, he pasted in news items and cartoons from the national daily newspapers.

Stop Teasing ThemPNG

Deck chair hire tickets, cinema tickets, bus tickets and tube tickets, and cigarette brands were also pasted in.

Hyde Park chair ticker PNG

Cinema ticketsPNG

Ticket,3-64071 PNG

Cigs PNG

As reconstructed biography can often have an almost equal number of fictions as a novel, one has to be very careful about drawing conclusions from the ‘evidence’.  As an example, the fact that Hans Richard was living in Kiel in 1954 does not mean he was from Kiel.  The fact that he had an obvious interest in warships (he photographed models of the Third Reich warships – including the Admiral Hipper – on display in the Imperial War Museum), and went  down to Portsmouth to photograph British warships, and photographed the merchant shipping in the Pool of London, and that he was a resident of Kiel (the Third Reich’s main naval base for surface boats and U Boats) – all this does persuasively suggest that he was in the Third Reich navy during the war.  He possibly was, but that is the best that can be said.  We can’t be sure.

And his occupation?  And how was his trip, his tuition fees, his rent and his day to day living costs paid?  Nothing in the few official letters suggests it was paid by an employer.   Tentatively it could be suggested that he was a freelance journalist or private English language tuition teacher, a translator, or a cartoonist and/or a photographer. With the latter, for instance, his ability to relax mothers and children for informal photography is striking. This kind of family photography may have been part of his earnings.

Hilda Boer und Deidre PNG

But being self-employed is a tricky financial business, and although the postwar German economic miracle was on the horizon in 1954, it was still a few years off.

His English seems to have already been very good before he travelled to London, and his grasp of colloquial English is excellent:  without it he would not have understood or enjoyed the humour of many of the cartoons he pasted in.

Although London was still blitzed with bomb sites, and the war had only  been over nine years, from the evidence in his Camera Abroad  as a German he had no trouble engaging with those he met in London, and in Southend and Portsmouth. He was sociable and was adept at fleetingly befriending people, people that he was about to photograph, or had photographed.

Marine engineer addressPNG

At Portsmouth – Hans Richard and newly met friend.  Marine Ehrenmal ind Rundfahrtfreund: “Marines Memorial and tour friend”. Hans Richard has asked for his address, presumably because he will send him a copy of the photo. Hans Richard does this several times with people he meets, and photographs.

He loved the women he saw in London, loved their style.

Sweater girls-55 PNG

We know he was single in 1954.  He may have been a young widower:  Kiel was a regular bombing target of the RAF, but again we are straying into the dangers of reconstructed biography.  We do know that he missed being in a relationship.

Not good to live alone PNG

Es ist nicht gut, das der Mensch allein see und…  “It is not good that man should be alone…”   From the opening page of his scrapbook. The addition in ballpoint pen is from the 1980s – it is the Kiel address he was staying at in 1954.

Like many Germans culture was part of his make-up:  as noted, he went to the ballet, and in one aside in Camera Abroad he quotes Thomas Mann.

We know nothing of his life when he returned to Germany after his six weeks in London, apart from that he was still alive in the 1980s when, using a blue ball pen, he annotated one or two of the photos he had taken thirty years before.

Did he marry?  Have a family?  It seems he probably did continue to live in Kiel, as the ebay seller of his photographic scrapbook was from Kiel.  When I successfully bid for it and had received it, I emailed the seller, asking him in what circumstances he had acquired it.  I didn’t receive a response.  To date, no trawling of the internet has turned up any leads to Hans Richard Griebe.

What he has left behind is a wonderful collection of photos that upset the notion that London in the 1950s was still a drab, buttoned down place, recovering from the war and its aftermath.The evidence of Hans Richard’s photographs of London in the late summer of 1954 was  that it was largely  – (there were exceptions) – a place of relaxed pleasure and style.

Couples-24 PNG

For a discussion about the photography of Hans Richard Griebe, see About in the MENU at the top of this page.


Hans the photgrapher37 PNG

Hans Richard Griebe, photographer.

London Town 54

The sequence of themes in London Town 54 sticks to the sequence of events and themes that Hans Richard chose for his scrapbook.  Besides Themes such as Rush Hour or Tradition, he also included two news photo essays that he shot.  One is the discovery on 24 September, 1954 of the Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras near the Mansion House in the City of London.  The other photo essay covers the state visit of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to London in 14 October 1954, a few days before Hans Richard was to return to Germany.  Throughout London Town 54, any captions that he wrote I reproduce in italics.  Those that I have attached to a photo are in non-italics.

The themes are accessed via the Chapters in the Menu at the top of this page.

I welcome comments, corrections and observations on the places and details shown in the photographs.  Please use the Leave a Reply box at the foot of any Chapter, using the CHAPTERS menu at the top of this Introduction to access the Leave a Reply Box, or use to social media to alert friends or forward material.

This online publication is free, and quotes and segments are available to local newspaper media and specialist print and online publications. All that is required is a link to and letting me know that you are using it.  For the possibilities of national commercial use, and adaptation of the material to other media, use the Leave a Reply box to get in touch.

(Due to the curse of Predictive Typing every time Predictive Typing in a body of English language encounters a German word, it will change it to an English word, if it can, rendering the German word, or sentence in German meaningless.    I have tried to keep an eye on that, but there may still be uncorrected and meaningless examples that have slipped through.  My apologies.)

                                                      Pete Grafton.  March, 2016.

London Town 54 on You Tube

London Town 54 on You Tube

London Town 54 is now on You Tube, in a video presentation of 16 episodes that compliment this online version. Leave any comments or get in touch via

Subscribe to Pete Grafton on You Tube. Link to the above episode:


1: Journey to London & First Impressions.

Train to London-7 PNG

Train at Harwich

Hans Richard took a train from Kiel to Bad Bentheim, on the Dutch border, on 21 August, 1954.

Train Ticket Kiel PNG

At the time he was renting a room in Kiel at Nietzscherestr., fairly close to the main Kiel train station and waterfront.

Kiel meal-1a png

Drying socks for England. Glimpses of his stripey socks are seen in some of the photographs of Hans Richard taken in London. If he found himself homesick for a Bratwurst whilst in London he would have had quite a search, even in Soho, where many of the delicatessens were Italian or French.

Clock cartoon-3PNG

En route he changed trains at the Hamburg Haupbahnhof.  He used the three hour wait to catch a S Bahn train to nearby Landungsbrücken by the Elbe, and walked along to Uberseebrücke

St Pauli Elbe bruche PNG

Water Rats-3 PNG

“Wasserratten”    Water rats.

Passierender Frachter.”    Passing freighter.  (The MV Hazelmoor.  Foreground right, unidentified sailing ship – possibly the  Rickmer Rickmers museum ship, berthed at Landungsbrüchen)

Hamburg photo 1 PNG

Onboard the sailing ship at Landungsbrücken, Hamburg.

Hamburg photo 2 PNG

Hamburg cartooonPNG

And this, ladies, is the rope with which we make 17 knots an hour.

train cartoon hamPNG


Kiel Ticket surcharge PNG

He travelled on from Hamburg to Bad Bentheim, and then through Holland by train to the Hook of Holland.

On train:3 PNG

In the compartment.

Ontrain damagedPNG

Evening was becoming night.  (Print discoloured, possibly by poor fixing and/or old photographic paper stock)

Page 4 Journey Outboat PNG

The overnight boat for England, the MV Duke of York.   (Print discoloured)

Duke of York,2-4 PNG

Morning on the Duke of York, approaching England.   Hans Richard notes that he slept on the seat shown, under the stars.   An irony is that The Duke of York, renamed the Duke of Wellington during the Second World War was involved in the Dieppe commando raid, 14 August, 1942, and also took part in the Allied Normandy Landings in 1944, against German occupied France.

Approaching Harwich-4 PNG

“Einfahrt nach Harwich.”    Entrance to Harwich.

Harwich Railway station, waiting for the train to London.

First Impressions-6 PNG rev._edited-1

First Impression.

Harwich woman-6 PNG

Piper 5 PNG

Scottish dancing-6 PNG


Innigrat Q-6. PNG

Visa letter-6 PNG

LSE Letter Acceptance PNG

Sandra 6 PNG

“Erste sprechversruche.”   First try at speaking.

He had already photographed her discretely in the railway compartment travelling to the Hook of Holland.  Now he talks to her on the platform at Harwich station.  They travel in the same compartment to London.  He takes another photograph and he asks for her address, presumably to send the prints to.  She writes it for him: Sandra, living in Cardiff, Wales.

Sandra 7 PNG

Arriving in London he goes to what seems is a London School of Languages Host  – Mrs Engelmann – for a night or two, before he begins his look for lodgings.

First lodging,Putney-7PNG

“I. Quartier: Putney, Atney Rd., (Mrs Engelmann)”   First accommodation, Putney, Atney Road. (The young woman standing at the entrance may be Kathrinchen Schröder.  See Chapter 2).


Next:    2:  First Days, A trip to Hampton Court Palace, and looking for lodgings in Notting Hill Gate.

Ham Court,Jag-9PNG


2. A trip to Hampton Court Palace and looking for lodgings.

Ham Court,Man-9 PNG

Hampton Court Palace, Sunday, 22 August, 1954.

Hans Richard has started his photospread of Hampton Court as “1. Tag” First Day.  The photo of his temporary digs in Atney Road, Putney in Chapter 1 shows a rain sodden pavement.  He either took the photo on the Monday (the following day), or the weather has cleared up by the afternoon of the Sunday visit to Hampton Court.  He is taken to Hampton Court by Mrs Englemann, and two fellow English language students, a mother and daughter from Lübeck.

Hans R-9 PNG

Left to right: Hans Richard, Katherinchen Schröder, Mrs Schröder, Mrs Engelmann.

Ham Court,Jag-9PNG

Ham Court,1-8 PNG

Ist day, Hamp.C, Mrs Engelmann-8PNG

“Mrs Engelmann”.  The Schröders are at the end of the bench.  Mrs Engelmann is centre, walking towards us.

Ham Court,4-8 Gallery PNG

Bildergalerie”.  Picture Gallery.

Ham Court,3-8 People on lawn PNG

Ham Court,2-8 Couple PNG

Hamp Ct, K&MUM-9 PNG

“Lübecker. Mrs Schröder & Daughter”.

Kathrin HC 10 PNG

Hamp Ct, Katherin-10 PNG


Hans R-10 PNG

Often when Hans Richard is in the photo it is difficult to know whether someone else has taken the photo, or whether he has put his camera on a lightweight tripod and used a mechanical timer to trigger the shutter. He is always careful not to include distracting coats, camera cases, etc, in these type of photos.  For instance, in the shots of the Shröders and Mrs Engelmann above, when they have removed their coats, their coats are never seen in the shot.


“2. Tag:  Quartiersuche”

Second Day:  Search for accommodation

Mixed Rags shop-11PNG

We know from Hans Richard’s London School of English acceptance letter (see Chapter 1), that he was to start his course on 24th August, the Wednesday.  He had two days to look for accommodation.  We also know from the letter below that the London School of English could supply him with a list of ‘suitable accommodation’.

LSE letter-6PNG



Bus, Fulham-11PNG

Northebd RD,TV-11PNG

“Northend Rd.”

Besides radios, and a record player, TV sets are a feature in this Radio & TV shop display.  The Coronation of the year before had boosted TV set sales, and the passing of the Television Act, enabling Independent television to vie with the BBC, in 1954, was a further boost.  The idea of independent television – “commercial television” as it was called by its opponents – was fought against by the Labour Party, some Conservative MPs, and many prominent Church people, fearful of a “degrading” effect on viewers.  The first transmissions were in the London and outer London area in September, 1955, and as more transmitters were built, eventually rolled out across the country, reaching Central Scotland in 1957.  After the staid BBC diet of The Groves, Dixon of Dock Green and Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men, the viewing public gleefully lapped up the chepaz on ITV of Dragnet, Highway Patrol, Gun Smoke, Popeye (for children), and the home grown favourites such as The Army GameSunday Night at the London Palladium and American inspired quiz shoes such as Double Your Money and Take Your Pick.  The soap Emergency Ward 10 joined the list of ITV favourites in 1957.

Bobbies-11 PNG

Dog in basket-11PNG

“Keiner zu Hause”.  No Home.

Home found.  Hans Richard found lodgings at 48 Chepstow Road, W.2., a road off Westbourne Grove, between Paddington and Notting Hill Gate.

Bedford Coll 13PNG

“Die Wohnung: müsste so seine (Beford College)”.  The flat: a perfect example so it’s…

Chepstow Rd basement wind.PNG

… it’s so:  48 Chepstow Road.

Rollei sign 13PNG

The “R” indicates the photo was taken with a Rollei – a Rolleiflex medium format camera. Hans Richard occasionally used a Rolleiflex, besides his Exakta.  The larger negative size of a Rolleiflex is 6 cm x 6 cm, perfect for making an enlargement from a small section of the negative.  From the enlargement (and adjusting the print exposure time) he printed from the above photo/negative we can see that he is looking at a London Transport bus map.

Hans in digs-13PNG

Bei Miss Faubel, 88″.

Ear Trumpet 13 PNG

Miss Faubel.  The ’88’ in his caption above refers to her age, not the street number.  The ear trumpet indicates she is hard of hearing.

Basement int PNG

“Zimmer im Keller”.  Room in basement.

At some time in the 1980s Hans Richard added to his photo scrapbook, using a blue ball point pen, a map of the area he was staying in.

Page 12 Hans mapPNG

Chepstow Road is drawn towards the top left of his map.  Queensway is shown off Westbourne Grove.

Pram13 PNG



“Near Kensington Gardens”.

Westbourne Br. lookinps Bridge RdPNG

Westbourne Bridge, looking towards Bridge Road.




Westbourne Grove-12PNG

“Westbourne Grove”.

This is one of Hans Richard’s nearest bus stops to Chepstow Road, in Westbourne Grove.  The 27 bus could take him to Edgware Road and then to Regents Park, Baker Street and on to Camden and Chalk Farm.  At another nearby bus stop he could catch the No.23 bus which would go past Marble Arch (for Hyde Park) and then on to Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street and to St.Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London.  His nearest Tube stations included Royal Oak and Bayswater.


Next:    3: Hyde Park, Speakers Corner, Marble Arch & Oxford Street.

Speakers Corner,1-17PNG


3. Hyde Park, Speakers Corner, Marble Arch & Oxford Street.


Hyde Park-14 PNG

Hyde Park.



Near Hyde Park.

2 women-14PNG

Near Hyde Park.

Indian w Hyde Park-14PNG

Hyde Park SwansPNG

Hyde Park PrefectPNG

Hyde Park chair ticker PNG

Hans Richard glued in two further Hyde Park deck chair tickets, both punched for a Morning session.

Hyde Park cartoon PNG

“A picture I didn’t snap.”

Sport 3-16PNG


Sport 2-16PNG

On the grass-16PNG



Speakers Corner

Daily MirrorPNG

Speakers Corner,1-17PNG

Note the bunch of flowers beneath the speaker’s stool.  As will be seen in the next photo, it is a collapsible stool with a carry handle.

Red BulldogPNG

Speakers corner, reverse--17PNG

'Negres', Speakers Corner-17PNG


Marble Arch

Buses, Marble Arch-17PNG

In a 1980s note in the Scrapbook Hans Richard points out that he stayed in the “splendid” (“prunk”) hotel seen in the background: The Cumberland, in 1979.  He has added two exclamation marks next to the note.  Twenty five years after his 1954 visit to London, he is doing alright financially.


Oxford Street

Oxford St mapPNG

Route map added by Hans Richard in the 1980s.

Billboard man-19PNG

Ox St womanPNG

Billboard man-18PNG


 Oxford St,1-19PNG

Oxford Street PNG

Oxford Street,2-19PNG

Oxford St-19PNG

Spiv,Oxford St 19 PNG


This is a suitcase salesman. In the 1940s men like this were called Spivs, usually selling black market goods. The man to his right is probably his look-out, who has got distracted by the allure of the woman. The suitcase salesman is selling ladies purses. Plain clothes CID policemen used to travel on the top deck of London Transport buses, in the front seats, to spot sellers like this and ring the bell and jump off to ‘nab’ them, hoping to outwit the look-out.

Women-Oxford St-19 PNG




Women 2-20 PNG

OxSt BuskersPNG



Windress 3PNG


Lyons-Women 7-21PNG

“Lyons. (Im Hintergrund School Entrance)”.

Negroes, etc-22PNG

Bobbies-22 PNG


“His Majesty’s Voice”.

Ox St woman cyclist PNG



Next:   4:  Traffic, Rush Hour, Regent Street & Piccadilly & Cinema.



4. Traffic, Rush Hour, Regent Street & Piccadilly Circus & Cinema



Buses-23 PNG


Rush Hour

“In German: Rasch nach Hause!”

Rush Hour-24PNG

News strike cuttingPNG

News strike cuttingPNG extract


Rush hour cartoonPNG

Couples-24 PNG



Negores Regent Street-25PNG

Regent St PNG

Regent St BareBackPNG

Women, Regent St-25PNG

Women,2 Regent St-25PNG

Although the dress is made of textured material, (see upper back), the faint whirlpool pattern on the mid to lower rear is caused by the photo negative being sandwiched between two small plates of glass in the photographic enlarger.  It is known as ‘Newton Rings’, and this pattern will occasionally be seen in other Hans Richard’s photos.

Women,3 Regent St-25PNG


Piccadilly Circus.

Picadilly, Eros-26PNG

Piccadilly cartoonPNG

Picadilly, Bovril PNG

He has got this shot by standing on the lower, emerging steps, of the Tube station.

 Picadilly 1-26PNG

He has used the same technique, as above, here, and below, in a moment.

Picadilly, buses PNG

Picdadilly in the rainPNG

Women 8-27PNG

In this shot white walled tyres on the Ford Zodiac in background, and WPC’s in the foreground.  In a ‘taster’ for London Town ’54 I posted on my website in September, 2013 I wrongly identified the car with the whitewall tyres an a Ford Consul.  Viewer Paul Gatty spotted that it was a Zodiac, and not a Consul, as I had described it. He got in touch.   Paul wrote “It is a Ford Zodiac, newly introduced, and top of the range. Very glitzy with the two tone paint as standard, as are the whitewalls.”

Eros-28 PNG


Picca at nightPNG

Criterion-28 PNG

Picadilly at night,2-28PNG

Picadilly at night-28.PNG

Picadilly, Robert Urq-29PNG

Flm review ill wind PNG

Flm review PNG

Picca Crit at nightPNG


Film ticketsPNG

Rear window-30 PNG

It is highly likely that Hans Richard bought a cinema ticket to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, featuring James Stewart.  In the film the James Stewart character uses an Exakta camera, and it is an Exakta camera that Hans Richard uses on his forays around London (albeit without the – for then – massive telephoto lens that James Stewart uses to spy on the flat across his courtyard).

Exakta,Rear-Window PNG

Still from Rear Window, 1954.

Last nights TV PNG_edited-1

Couple-Picadilly at night-29PNG

Picadilly Squaddies-29 PNG

3 Coins in the Fountain and 3 Squaddies.  Squaddies – National Servicemen (conscipted civilians) turn up in several of Hans Richard’s photos.

In the same period, between August and October 1954 that Hans Richard was taking photos in Piccadilly at night a BBC camera crew and director were also at work, filming We Live By the River, which after editing was shown on BBC TV the following year, in 1955.  The Robert Urquart film, Chaplin’s Modern Times, and the Belles of St. Trinians occur in both Hans Richard’s photos and We Live By the River.

Robert UrquPNG

We Live by the River. Robert Urquart film.  Screen photo.

Pic Circus 1PNG

We Live by the River, Wrigleys and Modern Times.  Screen photo.

Belles of St Trinians 2PNG

We Live by the River. The Belles of St Trinians.  Screen photo.

Camera crew and Hans Richard could have bumped into each other.  The BBC described the film as “An atmospheric journey across London which follows two boys…”  We Live by the River was photographed by Clifford Hornby and directed by Jack Howells.

The boysPNG

We Live by the River. The two boys,  who were from the south side of the Thames.   (Screen photo)

Michael, Shadwell-80PGN

“Michael”.  A Hans Richard Griebe photo, August – October 1954.  Michael was another boy who lived by the Thames, the Shadwell side.  To see this photo of Michael in context, see Chapter 11 London Docks and East End.


Next:   5.  Rain, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross Road, Soho, Downing Street & Westminster.

 Women, Soho-34PNG


5. Rain, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, Soho, Downing Street & Westminster


Rain, Waterloo Place-31PNG

“Wellington Place (Duke of York statue)”

Rain O Noah PNG


Sir Gerwaint.

Despite giving it a page heading – Rain – Hans Richard has pasted in only four photos.  Most of his photos in his Scrapbook show a dry, sunny London from late August through to when he left in late October, 1954.  The women are often bare armed (summer gloves apart), and sometimes bare shouldered.  A trip to Southend down the Thames, or the State visit of Haile Selassie are not blighted by rain.  A rainy “London Town” was a photo cliché between the 1930s and the 1950s (like London fog). In the case of rain, it was a cliché not backed by fact.  Kiel’s average annual rainfall is higher than London’s: 782 mm (30.8 in) to London’s 594 mm (23.4 in), and Paris – Gay Paree – is only just a touch under London’s annual rainfall, at 585 mm (23.03 in). Another London photo cliché that Hans Richard didn’t go for much was the bowler hatted, tightly wound umbrellaed City worker.  Photographers as diverse as the British Tony Armstrong Jones (London, 1958) to the Chilean Sergio Lorrain (London 1958-59, 1998) pressed the shutter as soon as they saw a bowler hat.  In Hans Richard’s hundreds of photos, there is just three examples, and none were taken in the financial City area.

The train, above, in his Rain section is Sir Gerwaint, withdrawn from service in 1958.  Hans Richard’s photo was probably taken at London Waterloo.

Rain, Carlton House T-31PNG

“Carlton House Terrace. (Nelson’s statue)”


Rain, Pic Circus-31PNG


“Rund un den Trafalgar Square”

Around Trafalgar Square

Nr. Traf Sq.-32PNG

2nd World War bomb damage.

Bird Traf Sq PNG

This Hans Richard photo was used for the cover of London Town 54, as the fountain immediately identifies it as London’s Trafalgar Square, and it is a good example of how he wonderfully fills the frame.  The woman is stylish, but the style is very 1940s, the hair do, for example – compare with the cropped shorter hair, or long hair styled differently in most of the photographs of young women that he took. The dress with its pointy shoulders is also very 1940s.

Street Charing X,Traf Sq woman-33PNG

“Charing Cross Rd.”

In the background the woman featured in the Trafalgar Square photo is looking down at the work of a pavement artist.  The berets of two squaddies are just behind her.

In the foreground there is nothing accidental in Hans Richard focussing on the down at heel evening newspaper seller, who looks as if he is wearing a Services beret.  In the Oxford Street photographs Hans Richard photographed sandwich men, and there will be a few further examples in chapters to come of him sympathetically photographing people who are down on their luck.

Pavement Artist 2-66 PNG

Hans Richard has now moved up and photographed the pavement artist.  The women from Trafalgar Square is in shot, just:  shoes and handbag.


“Soho, der Montmartre von London”

Soho, the Montmartre of London

Soho bookshops-34PNG


Women, Soho-34PNG




Bowler hat,whitehall-35 PNG

Whitehall map 81PNG

A map of the Westminster/Whitehall area by Hans Richard, added to his scrapbook circa 1981.

Life guards couple-35PNG

Looking up Whitehall, towards Trafalgar Square.  Note the couple on the left.

Life gs, couple-53PNG

Hans Richard moves quickly up for the shot that he would have spotted whilst taking the general view.

Churchill sketch58 PNG

No10 -35PNG

No10 front door-35PNG

These are fellow students of Hans Richard’s from the London School of English. In the previous No. 10 photo he would have asked them to walk into the shot.

Winston Churchill, an adversary during the Second World War of Hitler and National Socialist Germany, returned to power as Prime Minister when the Conservative Party won the 1951 General Election.  Unknown to the public, Churchill had had a stroke in June 1953, and Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, stepped in, until Churchill had recovered enough to return in October, 1953.


“Big Ben”

Big Ben,1-36PNG

Westminster Hall 35PNG

“Parliament Hall (Westminster Hall)”

Big Ben night profile-36 PNG

Westminster at night 35PNG

Hans Big Ben-36PNG

Hans Richard has marked “R” by this photo, meaning it was taken on his Rolleiflex.  He has cropped the square negative to a rectangle shape.  He has probably mounted the camera on a lightweight tripod and used a mechanical timer to trip the shutter.



Wstminster Abb,2-38PNG

Wstminster Abb,1-38PNG

“Westminister Abbey”

westminister light58PNG

Women 5-37PNG

“Westminster Bridge. (2 Seelen, 2 Gedanken).”   Westminster Bridge  (2 Souls, 2 Thoughts).


Next:  6.  “The South Side”.   Lambeth, Imperial War Museum, Royal Festival Hall, Esmeralda Ballet, Festival of Britain

Ballet 2PNG


6. The South Side: Lambeth, The Imperial War Museum, The Royal Festival Hall & Esmeralda

South Bank,Big Ben -38PNG

In the middle of the road is a Harrison & Sons ‘General Printers’ van.  Despite the lowly moniker of ‘General Printers’ painted on its rear, Harrison & Sons were specialist printers, who printed nearly all the British Royal Mail stamps between the 1930s and up to the 1990s.  They also, in their time, printed banknotes for over 100 overseas countries.  Established in 1750, they were taken over by De La Rue in 1997.


South Side mapPNG

South side map added by Hand Richard to his Scrapbook circa early 1980s.

South side woman58PNG

Hans the photgrapher37 PNG

Hans Richard Griebe.  Cropped photo marked “R” for Rolleiflex.

Bligh House58PNG

“Bligh House.”


“Lambeth Walk”

Flea Mkt, Lower Marsh, Lambeth-39PNG

“Flohmarkt in der Lower Marsh.”   Flea Market in Lower Marsh.

Bookshop, Lower Marsh, Lambeth-39PNG

Old Vic, Waterloo Rd-39PNG

“Old Vic (Links).”    Old Vic (Left).

Kennington Rd, N.Lambeth-39PNG

“Lambeth Nord. Kennington Rd.”   Lambeth North. Kennington Rd.


Imperial War Museum


In Hans Richard’s two pages headed “Imperial War Museum” only one photo remains, the one above.  The rest of the photos, with captions of models of war ships, have been removed.

No Boats IWM PNG

In a photo essay when he goes down to Portsmouth, the photos of British naval war boats have also been removed.  Either the ebay vendor of Hans Richard’s scrapbook removed them to sell separately, or perhaps more likely, at some point Hans Richard removed them to incorporate into a separate themed album/scrapbook of naval war boats.

Admiral_Hipper B&WPNG

The Admiral Hipper in Kiel, May 1945.   Photo: Public Domain.

The Admiral Hipper (see above)  the model he photographed at the Imperial Museum, was a heavy cruiser.  She was bombed whilst berthed in Kiel by the RAF five days before the end of the war in Europe on 3 May, 1945.  She was dismantled for scrap between 1948 and 1952.  Her bell was on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which Hans Richard was to visit during his six week stay in London.  The bell was subsequently returned to Germany and is on display at the Laboe Naval Memorial to dead sailors.  Laboe is just along the waterfront from Kiel.

Kiel pc Laboe TowerPNG

Postcard published by Johs.Bauer.

The Laboe Tower, part of the Laboe Naval Memorial is centre bottom.


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Fest h-42PNG

“Royal Festival Hall”

Theatre chicks-42PNG

“Ballet-Ratten.”  Ballet Rats. (Royal Festival Hall)

RFHall girls-42PNG


“Ballett Esmeralda”

Hans Richard went to see Esmeraldo at the Royal Festival Hall, performed by the London Festival Ballet Company (now evolved into and known as the English National Ballet Company).  A short time after he saw, and photographed, the performance, the ballet and company went to Chicago.

“Five London Ballets New to Chicago”

“When the London Festival Ballet opens a week of nine performances in the Civic Opera House Oct. 25, five of the ballets will be new to Chicago.  They are a revival of the full length ‘Esmeraldo’ based on Victor Hugo’s ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ with choreography by Nicholas Beriosoff, music by Cesare Pugni…

… Headed by Anton Dolin, Natalie Krassovska, Violette Verdy, John Gilpin, Oleg Briansky, Anita Landa and Nicholas Polajenko the company has as guest artists Tamara Toumanova, Nora Kovach and Istvan Rabovsky.”

Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1954.


Ballet 1 PNG

“1)   Die Handlung ist kurz folgende: Esmeralda solo hängen, aber…”

Ballet 2PNG

“2)  das ist ihr zu hoch,”

Ballet 3 PNG

“3)  sie läßt such lieber aug den Arm nehmen…”

Ballet 4 PNG

“4)  häuslich nieder, und…”

Ballet 5 PNG

“5) ..alles löst sich in Wohlgefallen auf.”

Technical Note:  The photographs that Hans Richard Griebe took of the performance of Esmeralda are quite remarkable.  The fastest black and white film available in 1954 was rated at 400 ISO.  He is shooting in available low light, hand-held, without flash (which would have been prohibited).  Even with a lens with a wide aperture there are potentially several problems:  using a slow shutter speed would result in blurred figures, using a wide open aperture would result in a very limited depth of field.  The pioneer of shooting in available low lighting was  a fellow German, Erich Salomon, who photographed many of the leading politicians in the late 1920s and into the early 1930s

politicians spot salPNG

Erich Salomon spotted by politicians. Copyright: the estate of Erich Salomon.

Erich Salomon  would be using the fastest available film available at the time, which was a lot less than the film that Hans Richard would be using.  It’s a great photo, but it displays the problems Hans Richard would have photographing Esmeralda, even with a faster film speed.  First, the narrow depth of field: the background behind the politicians is out of focus.  Secondly, slow shutter speed and movement: two of the politicians seem out of focus, but it is blur, caused by them moving.  Gifted and experienced photo-journalists such as the London born Bert Hardy by the 1930s were also developing their ability to shoot in available low light, without using a flash.  Bert, who was the most gifted of British photo-journalists between the 1930s and into the 1950s would have the expertise of the photo darkroom technicians of Picture Post magazine to develop his film, and to ‘push’ the film speed higher than 400 ISO.  (Bert was no slouch himself in a darkroom).  Again, to put Hans Richard Griebe’s skills in context, pushing a film when developing it can degrade the image, making it very grainy.  His prints of the ballet of Esmeralda are not grainy.


Erich Salomon self-port PNG

Erich Salomon.

Erich Salomon was Jewish and moved with his Dutch wife to Holland when Hitler came to power.  When the Germans invaded Holland in 1940 he and his family were trapped, and he went into hiding in 1943.  He was eventually caught and he died in Auschwitz in July, 1944, just ten years before Hans Richard was taking his photos in the Royal Festival Hall.


“Rund und die Festival Hall.”

Around the Festival Hall.

Fest of B 2-44PNG

“Die Themse.”   The Thames.

Fest of B 1-44PNG

“Blick vom Dachgarten.”   View from the roof garden.

Fest of B 3-44PNG

“Die hangenden Bänke.”  The overhanging bench seat.

Fest of B 4-44PNG

Woman, Fest Brit45PNG

Fest Brit, 6-45PNG

Pond, Fest Brit-45PNGcropped

“Hier gibt sich John Bull modern. Die stilisiedung der Springbrunnen (oben Hyde Park)….”

John Bull Modern,1-45 PNG

Fest Brit, 7-45PNG

“….er weist sich im Endeffekt aber eyer als win Denkmal für rein Erfinder der Water Closet.”


Next:  7.  Sport, Regent’s Park, Ceremonial & Military.

'Guard drill,1-54PNG


7. Sport, Regent’s Park, Ceremonial & Military.


Tennis LIF-46PNG

“Tennis und Basket Ball auf den Lincoln Inn Field’s (Holburn).”






“Regent’s Park.”




“Regent’s Park”

Regents Park-49PNG




“Vier Mann in einem stuhl, oder…”


“…. ein Mann geht solonge, bis er bricht.”

RP Man&Dog-49PNG

RPKissing Couple Colour-49PNG

Discoloured print. Couple kissing on a bench at Regent’s Park.



Guards and Civs,Buck Palace-49PNG

“Buckingham Palace.”


Maltesers Guards50 PNG

The most beautiful man in the State.

HR map50

Map of the Buckingham Palace area, drawn into his Scrapbook in the 1980s.

policeman guard story50 PNG

news item50 PNG


Guardsmen, BuckP.51 PNG

“Wachablösung am Bucking Palace.”   Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace.

Guards Buck Pal,2-51PNG

Guards Buck Pal-51PNG

Giles Guards cartoon51PNG

Giles 2 PNG

Giles was a nationally known cartoonist who’s cartoons appeared in the Daily Express.  Hans Richard’s daily newspaper which he bought whilst he was in London, going on the number of cuttings and cartoons from it, was the Daily Mail.  This cutting from the Daily Express is a rarity.  As a cartoonist himself, he would have appreciated the detail and skill (and the humour) of Giles.  (For technical reasons it has not been possible to reproduce this Giles cartoon in its original full width.)



Guards 3-52PNG

“St James Palace.”

Guardsmen with flag51PNG

“St James Palace.”

The two men nearest to the marching Guard are standing to attention, with the one on the left raising his hat.  This suggests they are ex-regulars (non conscript ex-servicemen).


“Tower Posten.”

Guard, 2 women-52PNG

“Foto Posten.”


“Lifeguards in Whitehall” 

Life g horse, little-54PNG

Life g on horse-53PNG

“Ars militaria.”


HR Cartoon 53PNG

Life gs, couple-53PNG

“Ars civilis.”

eddie calvert cartoon 53 PNG

The English trumpeter Eddie Calvert had had a hit with the Swiss written Oh Mein Papa which was No.1 in the British Hit Parade for nine weeks in 1954.

LifeGuards APNG


'Guard drill,1-54PNG



Next:     8. Hanover Square, London School of English, The City & St Paul’s. 

Miss Shields-56PNG


8. Havover Square, London School of English, The City, St.Paul’s & The Roman Temple

Grass, Hannover Sq-55PNG“Havover Square, Lunch Time.”

Grass-Lunchtime -55PNG

“Auf dem Schild rechts steht (in German): Rasen nicht betreten!”  The sign on the right says Do Not Enter the Grass!

The sign on the right in fact says “Please Keep Off the Grass”.   Coming from an ordered German society where keeping to the rules is very important (for emotional as well as practical reasons), Hans Richard would note the relaxed approach of the British to “Orders” and prohibitions.

Havover Sq.women55 PNG

Sweater girls-55 PNG

Hanover Sq-55PNG

“Nachmittag.”   Afternoon.


The London School of English

“Aus meiner Schulzeit”.   My School time.

Miss Shields-56PNG

“Miß Shield.”

That Miss Shield is wearing a coat and hat indoors is not so unusual in Britain of the 1940s and early 1950s.  There are photographs of the Crofts Dog Show, and Labour Party and Conservative Party conferences where those attending are wearing a hat and coat. The lack of central heating radiators in many public buildings and blocks of flats in this period (and earlier) was something often noted by Continental and American visitors.

The fact that Miss Shield is single may be because of the Civil Service “Bar” that was only lifted in 1946.  Up until then, a woman civil servant or woman teacher had to leave the Civil Service, or the teaching profession if they were to marry.  It was a harsh choice for many women who wanted to continue their profession.  Some chose to stick with their profession.

LSE Receipt for studies-57PNG

Translation class-56PNG

“Translation Class.”

The pattern, mid to top right, in the above photo is Hans Richard’s fingerprint on the negative.  For problems with the photos and their restoration, see the article in ABOUT at the top of this chapter.

Colloquial English (links Mr.Swoboda)PNG-56_edited-1

“Colloquial English.  Links, Mr Swoboda.”   Left, Mr Swoboda.

Miss Stefani-56PNG

“Miß Stefani.”

Miss Dingbunes-56PNG

“Miß Dingsbunes.”





Miss Kummer,Schweiz-58PNG

“Miß Kummer (Schweiz).”  Miss Kummer, Swiss.

Miss Kummer59PNG_edited-1

LSE Cert of Studies-59PNG


“Die City.”   The City.

The City-61PNG

“Royal Exchange.”

City MapHR PNG

Map of the City, and beyond, added by Hans Richard in the 1980s.

Telegraph,Fleet Street-60PNG

“Zeitungviertel Fleetstreet.”    Newspaper area, Fleet Street.

Fleet Street 2 colour-60PNG

Discoloured print of Fleet Street.  Daily Express building.

Cannon St-60PNG

“Cannon Street.”

On the right hand edge of the “City” photo page (the four photos above), Hans Richard has pasted in a news cutting about Britain and Europe.  There is no date, nor source, but possibly from The Daily Mail, from the August – October, 1954 period.

Stay out Britain 1 PNG

Stay Out 2 PNG_edited-1

Keep Out 3 PNG

Keep Out 4 PNG



St Pauls-61, alternative PNG

St Pauls, 61PNG

woman news seller-61PNG



“Die Sensation:  London entdecht Londinium”

The Sensation:  London discovers Londinium.

Rom Tem,2-62.PNG edit

The Roman Temple to the Roman God Mithras is discovered.

Roman Temple colour-62PNG

R>Temple map 62 PNG

Rom Tem,3-62PNG

Rom soldier HR drawing62 PNG

Hans Richard Griebe Roman soldier cartoon, with umbrella and handbag.

Nespaper soldier cartoon62 PNG

Newspaper Roman soldier cartoon, with spier and shield.

Rom Tem,1-62PNG

 All Day Qed62 PNG

Rom Temp,4-62PNG

Rom Q News-63PNG

 May be Saved61PNG_edited-1

 May be Saved story62PNG col corr.

The Roman Temple to the God Mithras was discovered in September, 1954, during excavation work for the construction of Bucklesbury House, a 14 story office block for the British insurance company Legal and General. At the time of planning permission being given, it was to be the tallest office building in London.  The whole of the temple was dug up and removed to a nearby site – Temple Court, London E.C.4.  The office block site and surrounding site is now (2016) under proposed major commercial redevelopment, to be called Walbrook Square, with plans to move the Roman Temple back to its original site.  Bucklesbury House has already been demolished.


Next:  9.  Bobbies, Traffic, The Queue, Sandwichmen, London Pool.



Older Posts