19th July 1919: Colour photographs of London’s “Peace Day”

Knightsbridge

“As preparations were made for the Victory Parade in London, a huge military camp grew up in Kensington Gardens, with large numbers of Allied troops bivouacking there. The population of London swelled, with thousands of people coming into the capital on Friday’s overnight trains.

“Hundreds of people spent the night in the parks or streets to be sure of a good place. Women climbed on top of the high wall round the Victoria memorial gardens and sat there for fifteen or sixteen hours.

Big Ben

 

“The rush for places on the processional route was in full swing by six in the morning, and by eight o’clock it was almost impossible to cross Trafalgar Square.

“On the morning itself King George V issued a message to the wounded:

“To these, the sick and wounded who cannot take part in the festival of victory, I send out greetings and bid them good cheer, assuring them that the wounds and scars so honourable in themselves, inspire in the hearts of their fellow countrymen the warmest feelings of gratitude and respect.”

Piccadilly

“The crowds continued to pour in looking for vantage points on the route of the parade. The official programme (price 1 penny) sold in hundreds of thousands. Pubs near the main route ran dry very early on and had to close.”

Aftermath WW1

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