Snapshot: Shad Thames
Photo © Rob Telford


Along the narrow cobblestone road of Shad Thames, a bit of preserved Victorian-era Britannia on the south bank of London, the adage “What’s old is new again” rings especially true. Walled in by warehouses built in the late 1870s and repurposed for use as offices and private residences in the 1980s, Shad Thames gets sunlight about “twice a year,” says London-based amateur photographer Rob Telford, who captured the street in a rare moment of early-morning illumination: “At about nine o’clock in the morning, the light comes down and you get these great shadows.” Wrought-iron bridges that once helped transport goods between inner-ring and dockside factories along the lane are now terraces for families and businesses. Yet for all its spruced-up-Dickensian charm, Shad Thames—which snakes past London’s Design Museum and is dotted with restaurants and boutiques of all kinds—is very much a result of modern forces, including the resurgent 1960s preservation movement. Change may be afoot across the city, but the past remains a clear lens for progress.