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On The Embankment

On The Embankment

Photographer: Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882-1966)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1909

Shelfmark: L.R.404.n.9

Item number: 16

Length: 21.4

Width: 16.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

"London - and this is at the root of every problem which the more serious contemplate when they think of the City, and which the merely observant must curiously note - London is not one thing...

Not that London lacks a common atmosphere and a common spirit; it possesses both to an extraordinary degree. It does not indeed breed a breed of men. For the myriads of Romans, of Parisians, of Marseillese, of Hamburgers and the rest, London can show no parallel. Its breeding-grounds are in the slums and obscure, lacking any civic tradition; its middle class, which might produce a tradition, is perhaps the least prolific in Europe; it has no resident aristocracy; it is merely used by the plutocracy of the moment as a place of leisure, of enjoyment, and of control. Yet the spiritual unity it evinces strikes every foreigner and possesses every native observer."

Text by Hilaire Belloc from the book 'London'

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