Then and now: Shoreditch High Street through the ages

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London’s east end has seen huge changes over the past 150 years, some of it good and some of it bad.

In the first of a three part series, Tech City News broke open London’s archives to contrast horse and carts to Boris bikes, trams to the London Overground and even our beloved (!) Old Street Roundabout.

Don’t miss our next edition where we take a look at the original Shoreditch railway station.

Shoreditch High Street in 1868, cobbles and carts

Shoreditch High Street in 1868, Image courtesy of the London Transport Museum

Shoreditch High Street back in 1868, with significantly less traffic. The streets were cobbled, and horse and carts ruled the roads. Back then St Leonard’s church dominated the skyline.

Interactive feature, click and slide

We took a new photo for 2013 in very same spot as our archive shot below, taken on Shoreditch High Street back in the 1920s.

Click and drag the sliders to take a side by side look at the changes.

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Tram lines appeared in Shoreditch by the 1920s and were joined by early motor cars. Notice at how the top of the building on the far right (numbered 65-66) has completely changed in modern times. The new Crowne Plaza Hotel replaced much of the old street high street.

The shape of road has hardly changed over the past 150 years, but the signs that litter our line of sight have become a sign of the times – notice how many mini-cab, bus and for sale signs dominate the Shoreditch High Street of today.


Did you spot something? Let us know in the comments


This is the first in a three part series where we go through the archives of East London. Check back soon for the next part where we look at Shoreditch’s original rail station.