HomePastSweet Dreams: These Historical Photos Show London Lazing Around and Napping in...
Sweet Dreams: These Historical Photos Show London Lazing Around and Napping in 1950
By Mark McConville
STUNNING retro pictures have proven that siestas are more than just a Spanish tradition as people lazily napped outdoors in London in 1950.
The incredible images show Londoners enjoying a quiet afternoon snooze under shady trees in St James’ Park, two labourers sleeping peacefully in their wheelbarrows among the ruins of bombed out London and a carefree Londoner sleeping on a deck chair that cost three pence for a session.
Other striking shots show two workmen asleep on the statue of the bronze sphinx next to the River Thames, a young women sitting on the grass in St James’ Park reading in the sun and a young couple standing on the Tower Bridge with the Tower of London looming in the background.
A siesta is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in some countries, particularly those where the weather is warm. The siesta is historically common throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Europe.
While a siesta is most commonly associated with Spain, these images prove that an afternoon nap was a favourite pastime of many British workers in the 1950s.
While this is no longer commonplace in the UK, the same can be said of modern Spain where the midday nap during the working week has largely been abandoned by the adult working population.
English language media often conflate the siesta with the two to three hour lunch break which is characteristic of Spanish working hours, even though the working population is less likely to have time for a siesta and the two events are not necessarily connected.