London Mashed Up: Footage of the City from 1924 Layered Onto Footage from 2013

Great cities are high­ly change­able by nature, though cer­tain sky­line-dom­i­nat­ing land­marks endure. Vis­i­tors and res­i­dents alike roman­ti­cize the Eif­fel Tow­er, the Empire State Build­ing, and the Colos­se­um. (That last one’s got real stay­ing pow­er)

In Won­der­ful Lon­don in 1924 and 2014, above, film­mak­er Simon Smith  goes with the flow estab­lished by his pre­de­ces­sors, Har­ry B. Parkin­son and Frank Miller, who fea­tured St. Paul’s Cathe­dral on the title cards of their short doc­u­men­tary series, “Won­der­ful Lon­don.” That icon­ic dome makes for a love­ly and sen­ti­men­tal view. These days, it can be tak­en in from the Mil­len­ni­um Bridge or 6th floor cafe of the Tate Mod­ern (housed in the for­mer Bank­side Pow­er Sta­tion).

Time has altered all of Parkin­son’s and Miller’s loca­tions over the last 90 years, as Miller’s 2013 footage shows. The icon­ic archi­tec­ture may remain, but Covent Gar­den now caters to tourists, a rack of Boris Bikes flanks the Hay­mar­ket, and the West End reflects the sen­si­bil­i­ties of ladies who dare appear in pub­lic in trousers.

Using Gus­tav Mahler’s Fourth Sym­pho­ny as a sort of son­ic mor­tar, Smith bricks the present day onto the British Film Insti­tute’s recent restora­tion of Parkin­son and Miller’s work. Actu­al­ly, it’s more of a key­hole effect, through which view­ers can peep into the past.

Assum­ing the medi­um (and species) sur­vives, we may one day seem as quaint and the sepia-toned fig­ures bustling through the ear­li­er film. Unthink­able? What will the mod­ern world sur­round­ing our key­hole look like?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Syn­chro­nized, Time­lapse Video Shows Train Trav­el­ing from Lon­don to Brighton in 1953, 1983 & 2013

Prize-Win­ning Ani­ma­tion Lets You Fly Through 17th Cen­tu­ry Lon­don

A Jour­ney Back in Time: Vin­tage Trav­el­ogues

Ayun Hal­l­i­day rec­om­mends the work­ing man’s caff E Pel­li­ci  in Lon­don’s East End the next time you’re in the mood for lunch with a side of his­to­ry. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.