The more things change – Photos of then and now

Following from my popular post earlier in the week  Then and now – How sights have changed in 130 years I have collated some more of the old colour photographs from the 1890s cataloging interesting sights around England and then using Google Streetview, attempted to replicate these views to see how things have changed.


The first image above is of a track in Derbyshire through a canyon-like area known as The Winnats.  The new image below shows that only the conversion to a modern road and the cars has changed at all.  Even the old pine tree behind the white building is in an identical condition.   Intriguingly on the old photo above, there is a gate open to an area behind the wall… maybe the 19th century equivalent of a carpark, a coach-stop.

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The picturesque scene above is of the tiny fishing harbour at the village of Brixham in Devon.  It’s remarkable how little things have changed in the 130 years between the old and the new image.   Whilst there are undoubtedly less fishermen around (largely replaces by pleasure craft), there is now a small market stall selling fresh fish so the fishermen must be around somewhere.   The houses on the left seem intact as does the statue though minus the iron railings…. perhaps melted down in the war and not replaced as the area became a tourist magnet.

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The cityscape above is of part of the High Street from the city of Exeter, the capital of the county of Devon.  It’s incredible how little the scene has changed over the centuries.   Almost every building is identical now as then.   Interestingly as in many U.K. cities, the road has been removed and turned into a pedestrianised area which in a way makes the places more old-fashioned than it has been for over 100 years.




I really like this photo above of the old Post Office in the village of Lee, not far from the Devon coast.  The trees have been pruned and the old flint style building has been white-washed and with new guttering around the roof but not much else has changed.  Even the front wall is identical with the line of lighter stones just above the road-level still being evident.

I’m intrigued by the characters in the photo above too.  It’s nice to see the house has been so well looked after by owners in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries though I’d guess it is considerably older still.

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The photo above is of Southwold Beach in Suffolk.  In Victorian times it was the habit to go for a paddle in the sea but for ladies in particular, it wasn’t the done thing to show off their bodies or garments on the beach and so these carts would be wheeled out into the sea so that the swimmers could preserve their modesty and climb down the ladders away from prying eyes.

Southwold is still a much sought after place to live and though none of the buildings have really changed except perhaps for the addition of the colour buildings filling in the gap of the terrace on the left, the beach carts have down been replaced by beach huts.  Some beach huts are said to be worth more than actual houses in many places.




The old photo above is of the Bayle Gate in the Yorkshire town of Bridlington.  Quite a lot has changed here.  Though the main gatehouse is almost identical, minus the chimneys which were perhaps removed when it stopped being a residence, all the other buldings and walls have been removed.

The old photo hints that there is a park through the archway given the grass and tree and it seems in the 21st century, the area has become more firmly established as a park area.  A shame about the car parked in front of the gate but it’s a capture of 21st century life just as the original photo is a record of 19th century life.

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This photo is of Brighton, a sea-side town that was trendy back in the 1890’s and even more so today with areas much more expensive to live than large parts of London.

Here it seems that the main clock tower in the building in the foreground has been removed.  The buildings on the left remain with the curved frontage still evident.   One of the worst aspects I think of modern streets is all too clear, the amount of street clutter in cities with raised paved areas, lots of signs and safety features.  In some ways the scene looked much better 130 years ago.   However just to the right of the photo is the iconic entrance of Brighton Pier, sadly just out of camera shot 🙂

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Finally, this post concludes with a wayfair cross at Lydney.  I’m not sure I have the angle right but that is because no view of the cross features the buildings behind it.  I decided on this view as there seems to be a yard or carpark behind the cross below which may have seen the houses above removed but that is only guesswork.

I was alarmed to see the cross on the old photo is no longer there.  Also there aren’t so many steps around, perhaps the lower ones were removed to make way for the modern road system.  I’ve double checked and the cross is listed-monument which means it won’t have been permanently removed.  It’s likely missing from Google Streetview having been taken away for renovations, perhaps related to the repairs of all the WW1 monuments going on.  It’s interesting to wonder how many of the young boys enjoying themselves on the steps of the cross would soon die in WW1 as young men just 15-20 years later.

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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11 Responses to The more things change – Photos of then and now

  1. Rosemarie says:

    It is interesting to see how much stays the same over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mukhamani says:

    Really fascinating, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. whatmeread says:

    This is an interesting post. The structure in the last two pictures doesn’t even look like the same cross.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for posting more like f these, I really enjoyed them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tim says:

    Great stuff, thanks Stephen!


  6. Pingback: More photos from the old and the new | Stephen Liddell

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