Glimpse of the past… Parking on Belgrave Square, 1965

Belgrave Square, 1965 (image: London Illustrated News)

Belgrave Square, 1965 (image: London Illustrated News)

Snapped for the London Illustrated News in December 1965, this image of Belgrave Square shows just how much of a free-for-all parking in London used to be. Notice how many of the vehicles are boxed in; a common situation which, as the article accompanying this image says, often left drivers trapped “for hours.” 

The image below depicts the approximate area as it appears today.

The cluttered parking spot today (image: Google street view)

The cluttered parking spot today (image: Google street view)


9 responses

  1. I think it’s actually the opposite corner, looking down upper belgrave st

  2. The vast majority of the cars appear to be from British manufacturers – rather different today, especially in the West End!

    1. Yes, cars back then had a lot more character. All designed by computers nowadays.

  3. 1965, I would have been seven years old when that was taken and would also have had absolutely no idea, then, that I would end up living around the corner from there today! As for being ‘Boxed In’… my Land Rover driving mate back in the 70’s had a solution for that. Boxed in at the ‘Hand and Cleaver’ car park in Ranton (a popular haunt of Ozzy Osbourn and the Black Sabbath band mates) He simply dropped into low ratio gears and pushed the offending boxee’s car out of the way, with an effective crumpling of doors and panelling in his path. Draw your own conclusions ha ha ha!

  4. Nobody can afford Westminster’s prices these days! (As you know, that area has a lot of Embassies, so many of the bays are for Diplomatic Cars only)
    When I started driving ( 4 years after the photo, in 1969) I could drive up to Leicester Square, and park easily. We used to drive into the West End all the time, and I never got boxed in. How times change. Now, I wouldn’t even consider taking a car into town.
    Then again, I no longer live in London, but you get my drift…
    Regards, Pete.

  5. That certainly is a different situation from 50 years ago!

  6. Even as late as 1975 myself and 3 friends drove to Leicester Square, got a lucky parking space facing the railings and grass of the square, and went to the cinema. I am saying it was actually in Leicester Square. I was truly amazed we got a place. This was about 7 pm on a week night. The film ; Operation Daybreak, about the killing of the German mass murderer Heydrich by the Czech Heroes – one of the girls, both nurses, was crying at the end. I love your stories by the way. Thank you.

    1. Brilliant memories! 🙂 And thank you so much for your kind words.

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