This site is an archive of vintage photographs and illustrations depicting what life was like in the cities and in the countryside a generation or more ago. As the name suggests, our site publishes illustrations of the past – be they photos or drawings and engravings – with the aim of providing a view port onto the world of yesterday.
The period covered by the image collection is from the dawn of photography to World War 1, though naturally, as photography became more common place there tends to be an emphasis on the period from around 1890 onward simply because there were more photographs taken during that time frame. The diagrams and illustrations come from different eras, though again there is a slight statistical weighting in favour of the period between 1870 to 1919 because new printing techniques made it easier to add illustrations and engravings to books.
The photographs and drawings are organized thematically such as by place or subject matter so that a researcher can locate specific places or subjects. Most photos are accompanied by an article providing information about the subject in the photograph including historical context.
We hope that this site will prove useful to you and provide a fascinating glimpse into a bygone world that mere printed books cannot give. If you like this site we would appreciate it if you would link to us.
Feel free to share any of the photographs or images that you find here on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or your website – just as long as you provide a link back to our site or a specific article.