Covent Garden: then and now

It wasn't always fashion flagships and gawping tourists, y'know. In fact, travel back as little as 40 years and the West End area now known for its shops, museums and theatres becomes all but unrecognisable…
Advertising

Where once were fruit sellers and prostitutes (enough to necessitate an annually published directory with a print run of 8,000 in the late eighteenth century), the streets of Covent Garden are now a hotbed of tourists, shoppers and the occasional gold-painted twit. Why the shift? The departure of the central market in 1974 saw the cart-dragging merchants on their way, with the vacant space divvied up between commercial developers and cultural institutions.

All of the images below were taken by photographer and Covent Garden historian Clive Boursnell, who recreated scenes from his archive of images from the late '60s and '70s for his book 'Covent Garden: Then & Now'.

Use the slider handles on the images below to flick between past and present. Got an old photo of London we should re-shoot for our next gallery? Tweet at @TimeOutLondon.

Piazza from James Street

beforeafter

 

Entertainers in east piazza

beforeafter

 

North piazza

beforeafter

 

Central arcade

beforeafter

 

Urban Outfitters, Earlham Street

beforeafter

 

Tube station and James Street

beforeafter

 

Paul Hamlyn Hall

beforeafter

 

Fossil, James Street

beforeafter

 

James Street

beforeafter

 

Pictures from 'Covent Garden: Then & Now' by Clive Boursnell, published by Frances Lincoln at £14.99.

Buy the book from Amazon

More then and now galleries

Advertising
Things to do

Soho: then and now

The times, they are a-changin', and nowhere is it more apparent than in the West End's lively grid of food, booze and vice

Show more

Advertising
This page was migrated to our new look automatically. Let us know if anything looks off at feedback@timeout.com