By Alex Jones

 

 

STRIKING shots from nearly 70 years ago show some of London’s most colourful street performers wowing the crowds in the mid-20th Century.

 

The incredible images display a fearless acrobat flinging themselves through a small head-height hoop, a Charlie Chaplin impersonator ‘snake charming’ in front of a captive audience, and disabled ex-servicemen performing to the passing crowds.

 

London: Piano Man: a busker looks like he’s enjoying himself as he plays the crowds a tune. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto / Retronaut

 

 Another stunning photo shows a banjo player being ably assisted by his pet pooch and a gentleman quietly concentrating as he plays a tune on what appears to be a Zither – a stringed instrument which is fiercely difficult to master.

London: A zither player is a picture of concentration. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto / Retronaut

 

The shots capture a post-war Britain, still labouring under rationing laws but blinking in the light of a blossoming economy.

 

In terms of music, the 50s was a time of tremendous upheaval for the UK. By 1950, Britain’s traditional brass and silver bands and music hall ditties were already giving way to the influence of American forms of music including jazz, swing, and pop.

 

London: A flying acrobat leaps through a remarkably tight hoop. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto / Retronaut

 

Rock ’n’ roll was hot on its heels with Cliff Richard and the Shadows bursting onto the scene in the latter stages of the decade.

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