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The City

Episode 2 of 6

Revealing the transformation of London. Comparing exhaustive footage of London in the 40s with the city of today, we see how great plans for urban renewal were stillborn.

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.

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

Credits

Role Contributor
Executive Producer Nick Catliff
Director Nic Young

Broadcasts

  • Sun 10 Aug 2008 22:00
  • Sat 16 Aug 2008 02:35
  • Sat 16 Aug 2008 17:00
  • Wed 8 Oct 2008 19:30
  • Wed 19 Nov 2008 20:30
  • Sat 10 Jan 2009 17:20
  • Sun 19 Apr 2009 19:35
  • Wed 22 Jul 2009 18:30
  • Wed 20 Jan 2010 19:00
  • Tue 15 Jun 2010 16:30
  • Sun 20 Jun 2010 00:40
  • Wed 30 Jun 2010 22:45
  • Sun 8 Aug 2010 22:30
  • Tue 10 Aug 2010 00:30
  • Fri 10 Sep 2010 20:00
  • Tue 23 Nov 2010 23:30
  • Fri 18 Feb 2011 20:30
  • Mon 21 Feb 2011 00:05
  • Sat 26 Feb 2011 17:15
  • Sat 5 Mar 2011 16:00
  • Sat 19 Mar 2011 21:00
  • Sun 20 Mar 2011 23:00
  • Mon 25 Apr 2011 16:00
  • Tue 26 Apr 2011 00:15
  • Sat 18 Jun 2011 21:00
  • Thu 23 Jun 2011 21:30
  • Fri 1 Jul 2011 18:00
  • Sun 11 Sep 2011 23:00
  • Tue 13 Sep 2011 22:00
  • Mon 5 Nov 2012 16:45
  • Mon 21 Oct 2013 19:30
  • Tue 22 Oct 2013 02:00