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The train, above, in his Rain section is Sir Gerwaint, withdrawn from service in 1958.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.
“Rund un den Trafalgar Square”
Around Trafalgar Square
2nd World War bomb damage.
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.
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.
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
A map of the Westminster/Whitehall area by Hans Richard, added to his scrapbook circa 1981.
Looking up Whitehall, towards Trafalgar Square. Note the couple on the left.
Hans Richard moves quickly up for the shot that he would have spotted whilst taking the general view.
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.
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.
Next: 6. “The South Side”. Lambeth, Imperial War Museum, Royal Festival Hall, Esmeralda Ballet, Festival of Britain