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Londoners at Play

6th June – 1st September

As London celebrates a historic summer, we're pleased to bring you Londoners at Play, an exhibition which reveals how Londoners spent their leisure time from the late 1800s to the modern day, through a collection of unusual and exceptional archival imagery. We invite you to join us in taking a retrospective look at how the leisure activities of today's Londoners mirror those from the late 1800s and beyond.
 
The exhibition features 57 images, including a rare glimpse of the 'Last Night of the Proms' in 1956 which showcases Sir Malcolm Sergeant conducting the concert in front of an enthusiastic audience. Held each summer in London, the concerts remain as popular as ever today and still attract large numbers of 'promenaders' happy to stand rather than sit, creating a unique informal atmosphere.
 
Other images displayed include a print from a glass plate negative from 1895 that reveals how Londoners enjoyed cycling in the Royal Parks long before the 'Boris Bikes' were introduced. The work here has been selected from across all Getty Images collections and, wherever possible, printed from the original negatives. Some, such as that of a crowd gathered to watch a Punch and Judy show outside the Theatre Royal in 1900, show signs of damage but are included because of their delightful content.
 
Meet inhabitants of London from over a century ago and recognise the scenes of a city being enjoyed that are still enacted today. A city of music lovers, sports fanatics and theatre-goers, all taking advantage of the diverse events the capital has to offer, Londoners are just as happy to take part as they are to watch others; were any of the boys playing street cricket in 1930 amongst those fifteen years later, taking part in a lunchtime game of cricket on bomb sites around the City?
 
Louise Garczewska, Director, Getty Images Gallery, says: "2012 is a momentous year for the UK and London in particular, so we are extremely excited to present our London At Play exhibition. The exhibition offers the public a rare glimpse into how Londoners of decades past enjoyed their leisure time, and epitomises the fun nature of locals and of a city that is much loved."