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The City

Britain from Above Episode 2 of 6

Revealing the transformation of Britain's most important city: her capital, London. Starting with amazing Luftwaffe aerial photographs of the very first bombs of the Blitz falling on a vulnerable city, we track the changes that came out of five years of bombing.

Comparing exhaustive footage of London in the 40s with the city of today, we see how great plans for urban renewal were stillborn and, instead, London rebuilt itself in an ad hoc way along old street patterns.

The only exception to this was the dramatic city that rose from the derelict docklands. Where Canary Wharf had a blank canvas and used it to create an American style grid of streets and huge buildings, the city itself was faced with squeezing ever more bizarrely-shaped buildings into its confused medieval street plan.

The story of a capital that has been transformed from a low-rise, smog-ridden industrial city into an upwardly mobile, rapidly changing hub of leisure, retail and finance.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Tue 22 Oct 2013 02:00

A nation on the move

A nation on the move

There was a time when the British commute was just a single tide converging from the suburbs into the city. But now we explode in a multitude of directions.


Watch the clip and browse more stories about our urban lives, on the Britain from Above archive site


Role Contributor
Executive ProducerNick Catliff
DirectorNic Young

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