15 pictures of London before it became the sprawling city it is today

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Twenty-first century Londoners know London as a bustling metropolis where the tube comes every minute and an Uber is a click away.

However look above the traffic jams and you see a glimmer of the London that came before all this and you might remember that this is a city steeped in history.

Take a look at the pictures below to see how London has transformed over the years:


This is what London looked like in 1616.

It's a South-West prospect of London from Somerset House to the Tower.

That big tall building in the background is St Paul's Cathedral.

Picture: Getty Images


Here's London Bridge before the Great Fire in 1630.

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Chelsea Bridge look distinctly un-Made-in-Chelsea-esque in A Prospect of Chelsea Bridge Water Works in London, from the south side of the River Thames, from around 1760.

Picture: Getty Image


Here is a Road map Circa 1675 showing the continuation of the road from London to St David's, commencing at Abingdon and extending to Monmouth, by Scottish cartographer John Ogilby.

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Here are some workmen building the Metropolitan line outside Kings Cross Station in 1865.

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Here is a Victorian 'fancy wears' stall.

Original Artwork: From 'Street Life In London by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith - published in 1877.

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This is what Paddington Railway Station would have looked like in 1855. Painting by William Powell Frith

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A watercolour by J Varley, (1778 - 1843), after a print of 1787 of London Bridge, showing the houses built on the bridge.

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This is what going to your local swimming pool would have been like in 1949.

Sun worshippers and swimmers at the Oasis outdoor swimming pool in Holborn, London.

Picture: Getty Images


City workers walk to work after the Blitz in the 1940s.

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The construction of Wembley Stadium in North London 1923.

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London Underground workers building the Piccadilly Line extension at Turnpike Lane, 1930s.

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Workmen using old salmon tins and other assorted containers for road foundations in Euston Road, London 1925.

Picture: Getty Image


Londoners take shelter in the Underground during WWII 1940.

Picture: Getty Image


1906 - Horse drawn traffic circles the Gaiety Theatre at the Strand, London.

Picture: Getty Image

More: 11 vintage photos of London that will change how you see the city

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