Newly colourised photographs show London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Liverpool from post-war Britain


Fascinating colourised photographs bring post-war Britain to life to show the country’s cities and landmarks from the 1940s.

One picture shows Glasgow’s stunning George Square and council buildings in the 1940s, as locals go about their daily business, with another showing a group carrying out work on the boats at the back of Bristol docks.

Other images showcase the Pierhead Terminus in Liverpool in the 1950s and the Trafalgar Square Lions in London reflected in a pool of water after the rain, with the church of St Martin in the Fields and South Africa House in the background.

The thought-provoking pictures have been released by the TopFoto archive to illustrate the UK’s wartime and post-war history.

A post-war economic boom in several cities across the country during the 1950s meant Glasgow had become one of the first European cities to reach a population of one million.

Other British cities like Bristol had also been growing steadily, but many were still recovering from the effects of the war. Port cities like Liverpool and Belfast were required to rebuild after such extensive bombing.

Many historic buildings seen in these captivating photos still remain standing, and all cities pictured have grown extensively since pictured in post-war Britain. 

Belfast City Hall, located in Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland in the early 20th century. The Grade A listed building divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre

Belfast City Hall, located in Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland in the early 20th century. The Grade A listed building divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre

Edinburgh Castle with the Royal Academy and Princes Street Gardens, two adjacent public parks in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, as seen in the foreground. Created in the 1820s, the Gardens were made following the long draining of the long draining of the Nor Loch and the building of the New Town

Edinburgh Castle with the Royal Academy and Princes Street Gardens, two adjacent public parks in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, as seen in the foreground. Created in the 1820s, the Gardens were made following the long draining of the long draining of the Nor Loch and the building of the New Town

Pierhead Terminus showing Liver Buildings and Bird 1953 in Liverpool, one of the most famous buildings in the Lancashire city. Located on the Pier Head, overlooking the River Mersey, it has two clock towers, with the two iconic Liver birds standing on top of them that can be seen from all over the city

Pierhead Terminus showing Liver Buildings and Bird 1953 in Liverpool, one of the most famous buildings in the Lancashire city. Located on the Pier Head, overlooking the River Mersey, it has two clock towers, with the two iconic Liver birds standing on top of them that can be seen from all over the city

The church of St Martin in the Fields, South Africa House and one of the Trafalgar Square Lions reflected in a pool of water after the rain, 16 April 1937

The church of St Martin in the Fields, South Africa House and one of the Trafalgar Square Lions reflected in a pool of water after the rain, 16 April 1937

Victoria Square in Birmingham with statues of Queen Victoria and Edward VII with the Council House in the background in 1947, home to both the Town Hall and the Council House

Victoria Square in Birmingham with statues of Queen Victoria and Edward VII with the Council House in the background in 1947, home to both the Town Hall and the Council House

Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, on the edge of the Northern Quarter, taking its name from the adjacent street Picadilly which runs through the heart of the city from Market Street to London Road

Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, on the edge of the Northern Quarter, taking its name from the adjacent street Picadilly which runs through the heart of the city from Market Street to London Road

Street view of Trafalgar Square, in the City of London. The square was named after the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain

Street view of Trafalgar Square, in the City of London. The square was named after the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain

The ancient clock of St Mary Steps, Exeter with its historic jacks, known as 'Matthew the Miller and his Sons' was unveiled at Exeter, following its restoration, December 1945

The ancient clock of St Mary Steps, Exeter with its historic jacks, known as ‘Matthew the Miller and his Sons’ was unveiled at Exeter, following its restoration, December 1945

A view near Hotwells in the backwater of Bristol Docks. A post-war economic boom meant cities like Bristol had been growing steadily, but many were still recovering from the effects of the war

A view near Hotwells in the backwater of Bristol Docks. A post-war economic boom meant cities like Bristol had been growing steadily, but many were still recovering from the effects of the war

Queens Hotel in Leeds' city centre in the 1950s, an art-deco Grade II listed building. The metropolitan city now has Leeds Art Gallery, featuring modern British works, sitting between the neoclassical 1850s Town Hall and the neo-Gothic cathedral

Queens Hotel in Leeds’ city centre in the 1950s, an art-deco Grade II listed building. The metropolitan city now has Leeds Art Gallery, featuring modern British works, sitting between the neoclassical 1850s Town Hall and the neo-Gothic cathedral

A new view of Duke Street, Cardiff, showing on the right a part of Cardiff Castle, January 1949. The city now belongs to the Eurocities network of the largest European cities

A new view of Duke Street, Cardiff, showing on the right a part of Cardiff Castle, January 1949. The city now belongs to the Eurocities network of the largest European cities

Jamaica Street, Glasgow in the early 20th Century. The street was given its name when it opened in 1763, around the time of the height of the rum and sugar trade between Glasgow and the West Indies

Jamaica Street, Glasgow in the early 20th Century. The street was given its name when it opened in 1763, around the time of the height of the rum and sugar trade between Glasgow and the West Indies

The Wills Memorial Building near the top of Park Street on Queens Road, part of the Bristol University, 5 September 1933. The neo-Gothic building in Bristol, England, designed by Sir George Oatley and built as a memorial to Henry Overton Wills III by his sons George and Henry Wills

The Wills Memorial Building near the top of Park Street on Queens Road, part of the Bristol University, 5 September 1933. The neo-Gothic building in Bristol, England, designed by Sir George Oatley and built as a memorial to Henry Overton Wills III by his sons George and Henry Wills

Glasgow's George Square and Council Offices, one of the city's six squares in the city centre, the others being Cathedral Square, St Andrew's Square, St Enoch Square, Royal Exchange Square, and Blythswood Square on Blythswood Hill

Glasgow’s George Square and Council Offices, one of the city’s six squares in the city centre, the others being Cathedral Square, St Andrew’s Square, St Enoch Square, Royal Exchange Square, and Blythswood Square on Blythswood Hill



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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