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Then and Now: Past and Present London Through 'The Open Road'

Retracing the footsteps of a pioneering filmmaker before him, Simon Smith filmed the spots around London featured by Claude Friese-Greene in his iconic 1927 footage for "The Open Road." Read on to find out more and enjoy a fascinating side-by-side look at the past and present London, 86 years apart!

Want to find out what London of the past was like? You can always browse through some old photos, but it’s also possible to time travel a bit by watching a a footage filmed by cinematographer, filmmaker, and cinema technician Claude Friese-Greene in 1927. The bit featuring London is actually part of “The Open Road,” a famous collection of Friese-Greene’s footage from his travels across Britain — from Land’s End to John O’Groats — in the mid-1920s.

Fast-forward to early 2013, British filmmaker Simon Smith revisited the spots shown in Friese-Greene’s footage and shot his own film, making sure to get the same angle and timing. When the two films were put side-by-side, the result is an interesting look at London from the past and present, 86 years apart. Some things have obviously changed, but many of the sights and landmarks that have been identified with the British capital also remained the same:

You can learn more about Claude Friese-Greene’s work in the British Film Institute’s official website.

All information and photos for this article were sourced from This is Colossal and Simon Smith’s Website.

written by plasticpopsicle

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