British photographic history

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Olympics: London 1948 photo exhibition

A special exhibition of photographs of the 1948 London Olympic Games is on showat City Hall, on the lower ground floor and the Chamber lobby (2nd floor). Entrance is free!

There are 40 photographs in the exhibition, selected from nearly 500 images in The Times Archive Collection. Most of the photographs are unpublished and unseen and almost all have been preserved in a perfect state, providing a wonderful visual record of the last time the Olympics came to Great Britain.

The photographs cover historic moments such as King George VI’s speech at the Opening Ceremony in Wembley Arena, the torch relay and many Olympic events including: cycling, rowing, fencing and athletics. The everyday side of the ‘Austerity Games’ is also covered: behind-the-scenes preparation, close-up shots of spectators and large crowd scenes. The black and white images are striking in themselves but also capture a moment in London’s history and illustrate the contrast between the 1948 and the 2012 Olympics: home-made kits, uneven grass tracks and sponsorship by cigarette brands.

Sue Connolly, Picture Editor of The Times said: 'These rarely-seen photographs are a treasure trove for anyone interested in the contrast between the 1948 and 2012 London Olympics. It has been a privilege but a difficult task to select just 40 for the exhibition but the final collection encapsulates the spirit of those post-war Games and will inspire any enthusiasts viewing them on the eve of this year’s Games.'

Details of the exhibition can be found here.


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