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Hilary Roberts from the Imperial War Museum chooses her ten favourite shots of London

By Martin Coomer

Imperial War Museums UK holds a staggering 11 million photographs in its archive, covering all aspects of conflict from the Crimean War to the present day. We asked Hilary Roberts, curator of IWM London's current ace photo exhibition 'Lee Miller: A Woman's War', to come up with just ten of her favourite London images in the collection, and she did us proud. You'll also see a couple of these awesome images in our 40 best photos of London ever taken feature.


Horace Nicholls: The coffin of the Unknown Warrior, 1920                               
'Horace Nicholls, one of the leading British photographers of his time, was granted exclusive access to Westminster Abbey to take this photograph for the Imperial War Museum. Nicholls’ eldest son was one of the casualties of the First World War.' 

© Edward Barber

Edward Barber: Greenham Common protesters stage a die-in outside the Stock Exchange during the morning rush hour as US President Reagan arrives in Britain, City of London, 1982
'This was the first major London event initiated by the Greenham Common women and coincided with the Falklands Conflict. The die-in symbolised the one million who, it was argued, would die in a nuclear attack on London. This photograph, from Edward Barber’s photographic essay "Peace Signs", will feature in an exhibition of his work at IWM London in 2016. "IWM Contemporary: Edward Barber" will display Barber’s iconic photographs of anti-nuclear protests in Britain in the 1980s (May 26–Sep 4).'


Cecil Beaton: Bomb damage, Bloomsbury Square, London, 1940
'Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the London Blitz celebrate London’s endurance while mourning the loss of its architectural heritage.'


Bill Brandt: Londoners pass the night in a train tunnel near Liverpool Street Underground station at the height of the Blitz, November 1940
'The Ministry of Information commissioned Bill Brandt to compile a major photographic essay on London air raid shelters during the Blitz.'


Jack Bryson: Tower Bridge photographed by night during the Blackout, 1939.


Ministry of Information Photographer: A Fijian soldier performs a traditional knife dance during a farewell party for Commonwealth soldiers in Kensington Gardens which formed part of the London Victory celebrations, June 1946 
'MoI photographers celebrated London’s ethnic diversity throughout the war.'


Frances J Mortimer: ‘The Gate of Goodbye’, a montage depicting British soldiers bidding farewell to relatives at Victoria Station, 1916–1917
'Frances J Mortimer, an acclaimed pictorialist and exponent of photomontage, strove to establish photography as an art form. This image is assembled from more than 20 different photographs.'


Sport & General Photographer: View of Agar Street, with banner appealing for ‘quiet for the wounded’ outside Charing Cross Hospital, September 1914
'Press photographers documented life in London during the two world wars, but in accordance with the practice of the day, were rarely acknowledged by name.' 


Giles Penfound: ‘The morning after’. A London commuter travels to work on the morning after the London tube bombings, July 8 2005
'This photograph employs what were then innovative digital techniques to present a sombre reflection on the impact of the London bombings.'  

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