A photographic vision of the past

(Pocket-lint) – As the years pass by, places and landscapes change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Over the decades, endless photos have been snapped from around our world. A small collection of history and photography buffs have sifted through these images to pair places up – taking photos from the present to compare with the past. 

The wonderful results of this painstaking work can be seen in all their glory, with some comparative images stretching back over a hundred years. We’ve sifted through the re-photos archives to pull out a small selection for you to enjoy. 

Come with us as we take a walk through history. 

Table of Contents

Grenoble Rue Montorge, France

Another French photo from a century ago. This image shows some magnificently well-dressed men – Mr. Merceron, Mr. Maisonville and Mr. Chabrand. These men founded the bases of the Syndicate of Initiative of Grenoble and the Dauphine: First Syndicate of Initiative of France, and the future Tourist Offices.

The same view 100 years later hasn’t changed much at all but the tourist office has seemingly been replaced by an estate agent. 

The Strand Arcade, Sydney, Australia

In 1976, the Strand Arcade in Sydney was hit by a devasting fire.

Despite the damage, restoration work began and the shopping centre was opened again in 1977. It thrives again now and the more recent image from 2018 shows the Strand Arcade in all its modern glory. 

Wartime soldiers and shoppers

In this black and white photo from the 1940s, a throng of German army soldiers can be seen in the occupied city of Schagen, Holland.

A mix of civilians also walk the streets, no doubt wary and worried about their surroundings. 

Wartime soldiers and shoppers

Many years later in 2018, those same streets are occupied by cars and shoppers going about their daily business without the threat of an occupying force to bother them. 

Notre-Dame (Liberation of Paris)

This original photo was taken by a Captain in the Army Film & Photographic Unit and shows a Priest self-propelled gun outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

This armour was part of the French 2nd Armoured Division that had been involved in the liberation of the city in late August 1944 – just days after the uprising started by the French Resistance. 

Notre-Dame (Liberation of Paris)

The second, more modern view, snapped in 2017 shows a much more peaceful view of the same spot.

Visitors and tourists can now enjoy the peace, quiet and wonder of the building thanks to the heroic courage of the liberating army all those years before. 

Moulin Rouge

This photo from 1900, shows the famed Moulin Rouge variety theatre which opened just a year before.

This building quickly went on to become one of the most famous theatres in the world. It would play host to not only a variety of spectacular shows and performers but also would attract people from all over the globe. 

Moulin Rouge

The second image of the area from 2016 shows the theatre in its full glory with an unmistakable red windmill still firmly intact.

The surrounding area is not as popular as it once was, but the theatre itself still draws a crowd. 

Lunch atop a Skyscraper

This original photo, taken in 1932, shows a view high above New York City during the construction of the Rockefeller Center.

This image shows a health and safety nightmare that includes workers drinking alcohol while casually resting high above the ground. 

Lunch atop a Skyscraper

A modern recreation taken over 70 years later and across the other side of the world shows a slightly safer view of London with workers in hard hats wearing harnesses to prevent any horrible accidents. 

Rue de l’Université (Great Flood 1910)

In 1910, heavy rainfall meant the waters of the river Seine to burst their banks as levels rose eight metres above normal. The resulting flooding became known as the Great Flood of Paris and made many of the surrounding roads impassable except by boat. 

The flooding also led to over $1.5 billion worth of damage in today’s money but surprisingly there were no reports of anyone losing their lives during that time. It would take over a week for the flooding to dissipate. 

Rue de l’Université

A much more normal view of the same road shows a calm and dry scene that the people would no doubt have welcomed.

Over 100 years have passed and no boatmen can be seen on Rue de l’Université. 

View on Seine from Pont de l’Alma

Another from the river Seine during the 1900 World’s Fair. Again showing a selection of temporary buildings erected specially for the occasion.

This view was intended to show visitors to the fair what the waterway of Paris might have looked like hundreds of years before. 

View on Seine from Pont de l’Alma

The same view seen 100 years later shows a much more green scene, with coaches, boats and trees in place of the magnificent buildings that once graced the riverside. 

Mont-St.-Michel (1908)

This photo from 1908 shows another view from France, this time of the Mont-St.-Michel.

This island has included fortifications for centuries and in the 8th century AD it was also changed to include a monastery. 


Over 100 years later, the view has modernised slightly but still oozes history from every angle.

A new bridge, roadway and hydraulic dam designed to protect the bay are the most significant changes in recent years. 

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. (USA)

This first photo dates back to 1900 and shows a view of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

The US Capitol building is visible in the distance, with a street full of people waiting for the tram service and going about their daily grind. 

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. (USA)

The second photo shows a much more modern view of the same area – snapped in 2016. The tram lines now replaced with cycle paths and multiple vehicle lanes. 

Quai des Nations

An impressive riverside view taken during the “Exposition Universelle” in 1900 – the world’s fair held in Paris, France during that year for which these buildings were specially erected:

“Memory of a past splendour: For the World Exposition in 1900, which attracted more than 48 million visitors and was one of the most successful exhibitions of its kind, were erected impressive monuments for this purpose only. On the “Quai des Nations” (today Quai d’Orsay) were found buildings representing the different nations, which were financed by them. From left to right, the United States, the Ottoman Empire, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Monaco are represented on this section in the picture. They all were demolished after the exhibition.”

Quai des Nations

The modern view from 2010 shows an entirely different picture of the landscape. Hard to believe the original buildings were only temporarily in place. Now the Eiffel Tower is nearly the only thing that catches the eye on the landscape. 

Philadelphia City Hall (1901)

Taken in 1901, this original image shows a view of the streets of Philadelphia, USA. Workmen are shown laying lines in the road with the magnificent City Hall in the background. 

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Philadelphia City Hall

In 2018, towering skyscrapers line the same street, with the colours of modern life flashing by. The City Hall still stands magnificently in the centre, but it is firmly dwarfed by the tall buildings that have since sprung up in the surrounding streets. 

Engabreen Glacier

An old image from 1889 shows the effects of climate change at the Engabreen Glacier in Holandsfjorden Norway.

The original photo shows an almost barren and lifeless landscape of ice, rock, water and glacial gravel.

Engabreen Glacier

The same spot captured again in 2010 shows a very different view with greenery and vegetation in the surrounding landscape and far less ice and snow in the background. 

Palazzo Esposizioni Mobili, Mariano Comense, Italy

This original photo dates back to 1931 and shows a much less congested view of Palazzo Esposizioni Mobili. 

Palazzo Esposizioni Mobili, Mariano Comense, Italy

The follow-up photograph shows far fewer powerlines, but a number of new buildings that have popped up on the surrounding skyline. 

A room with a view, London

In some places, it takes far less time to pass for a skyline to change.

This original image was taken from a bedroom window in London in 2012. 

A room with a view, London

Just six years later, a number of new buildings can be seen both on the skyline itself and nearby too – one building even includes a garden on the roof.

A small spot of greenery in an otherwise sprawling urban jungle. 

Ulica Krakowska, Poland (1950)

A bombed out residential building on the streets of Poland captured in a photo from 1950 showing a time of misery and tragedy.

Ulica Krakowska, Poland

Decades later, repairs cover up the holes, blemishes and damage from the past.

We wonder if current residents know of the history of their building and all that has passed in the years before. 

Place de la Bourse, Brussels

A view of Place de la Bourse captured in 1900. In this original photo, pedestrians and horse drawn-carriages dominated the streets. The first tram lines were starting to spring up around this time and in the years that followed many more would appear too – with a total of 32 lines present in the area by 1957. 

The building photographed here made up the stock market of the time and the hub of modernisation for the area. 

Place de la Bourse, Brussels

The modern view, snapped over 117 years later still shows a busy street, but now the building is used for exhibitions and art shows.

The area is also a popular location for rallies and demonstrations. 

Viarmes Rue de Paris, France (1912)

The original view of the Rue de Paris in Viarmes dates back to 1912. Small children and a horse pulled cart fill the street – a common sight for the time.

An agricultural shop can be seen across the road. This image originally made its way onto a postcard and can be seen with stamp and all. 

Viarmes Rue de Paris, France

Over 100 years later, the view hasn’t changed that much. The horse and cart replaced with cars and the shop has swapped for a bank but it’s certainly an easily familiar sight. 

Ypres station, Belgium

The horrors of the Great War hit Ypres station in Belgium in 1915. This photo tells of the damage and chaos raining all around the area at that time. 

Ypres station, Belgium

Over 100 years later, the same view looks very different with the building fully repaired and restored and modern roads having replaced the dirt tracks of years gone by. Life is no doubt far more peaceful too. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France (1888)

This original photo of the Eiffel Tower shows it under construction in the middle of 1888. Surrounding buildings can also be seen springing up in the area too. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France (2017)

In 2017, the same angle shows an equally busy view of the world.

The fully built tower has been visited by many millions of people since its construction and the tower itself has also survived decades of wear and tear that included two World Wars and more. 

Horloge Saint-Chamas France (1860)

One of the oldest images on our list dates all the way back to 1860 and shows a street full of onlookers, no doubt mesmerised by the camera.

An interesting and eye-catching aqueduct crosses the street and draws the eye as the central focus of the photo. 

Horloge Saint-Chamas France

The same view over 158 years later shows the same aqueduct standing strong and the same ancient trees still lining the streets.

The people are now replaced with parked cars, but otherwise, the view is remarkably similar. 

Beverly Hills Hotel, California, USA (1918)

An aerial view of Beverly Hills Hotel shows a relatively tame landscape with very little in the way of other buildings.

This photo was snapped in 1918 and the modern view is quite different. 

Beverly Hills Hotel, California, USA (2018)

The follow-up image taken in 2018 shows not only more buildings but a wealth of trees that have sprung up over the years.

The hotel’s grounds and buildings are even more impressive now than they were before too. 

Emmabrug Alkmaar Netherlands

Another view from the Netherlands during wartime shows a quiet part of Holland prepared for an attack with tank traps and no doubt other defensive emplacements nearby. 

Emmabrug Alkmaar Netherlands

The same view from more recent years makes it hard to believe what might have happened on those same streets all those years before.

Most of the same buildings remain, but the metallic monstrosities are long gone. 

Place du Grand Sablon Brussels

Another photograph from over a century before. This image shows the “Place du Grand Sablon” – in the historic city centre of Brussels.

At this time the local area was host to market stalls where meat was sold on Friday and milk and cheese on a Saturday. 

Place du Grand Sablon Brussels

The current view looks more like a parking lot with far less character, but the surroundings are actually extremely popular among the wealthier members of society.  With old bars and shops being replaced by chocolate shops, antique dealers and hotels. 

Old bunker Alkmaar Flower shop Netherlands

In 1945, this old war bunker is photographed with civilians standing casually nearby. A windmill is also visible in the background.

Old bunker Alkmaar Flower shop Netherlands

Years later, that same bunker is put to interesting use when it’s converted into a flower shop. The windmill is gone and the surroundings are more peaceful, if still as full of concrete and tarmac. 

Burning Peterhof, St Petersburg, Russia

In Russia, during the Germany invasion, the Peterhof Palace was burnt and damaged by explosives. Many of the fountains in the grounds were destroyed too. 

Burning Peterhof, St Petersburg, Russia

Restoration began after the war and continued on for the years that followed.

The current view of the Peterhof shows the original building in all its magnificent glory. 

Seljestadjuvet Norway

A much more rural photo dates back to 1887 and shows one of many road routes that were thought to be a major feat of engineering at the time – a roadway cutting through the hillside. 

Seljestadjuvet Norway

116 years later, the road is now tarmacked but otherwise the same. No attempt has been made to widen the road, despite the cars passing over it. The view is just as wonderful today as it was all those years before. 

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, USA

This first photo of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was taken in 1980 and shows a brightly lit skyline as well as a long-exposure shot of traffic passing by. 

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, USA

Nearly a three decades later, the same view looks remarkably similar. The skyline has changed slightly, with the addition of new buildings and growing trees, but it’s also unmistakably familiar.

St-Gervais-et-St-Protais, France

Another snapshot of destruction and carnage from the first part of the 1900s. This image shows the wreckage of a church in France hit by an enormous “Paris Gun”.

These were long-range, super heavy artillery cannons used by the Germans to bombard Paris during the war. Although considered superguns because of the distance they could fire, these artillery guns were actually not terribly successful as the fired payload was often relatively small. 

Here the roof of the church had been hit causing it to collapse inwards and this time the gun did leave its mark – killing 88 people and wounding nearly as many. 

St-Gervais-et-St-Protais, France

99 years later, the church is a very different site. Fully reconstructed and in good use, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais is now a much safer place of worship. 

Australian Anzac Day

This original black and white photo from the 1940s shows the events of the Anzac Day Parade.

A special event held to commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.

Australian Anzac Day

The same view shows the magnificent Sultan Abdul Samad Building hidden behind tourist buses instead of parade participants. The skyline has changed vastly in the 75 years that have passed since taking away some of the beauty. 

Reichstag, Berlin, Germany

Many of the photos in this collection show a history of damage caused by the Germans during the wars, but this photo shows the results of their actions. The Russian army caused massive destruction as they swept through Germany and onward into Berlin. The capital buildings weren’t safe either. 

The Reichstag building itself, wasn’t a Nazi monument though. It was actually designed and erected between 1884 and 1894. 

Reichstag, Berlin, Germany

The building was heavily gutted by the damage, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that restoration began in earnest.

The modern building seen here has changed a lot as it was again gutted and reconstructed again in the later years. It’s now one of the most visited attractions in Germany. 

Martin-Luther-Denkmal vor Frauenkirche, Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany was subject to many allied bombing campaigns during World War II. This comparative image shows the damage done by the Allies to the German city during those years. Somehow, the surrounding buildings were destroyed, but the statue remained standing tall. 

The Dresden Frauenkirche, the Lutheran church can be seen rebuilt and reconstructed in all its majesty. It was, however, left for over 50 years as a war memorial and it wasn’t until the reunification of Germany in 1994 that the building was reconstructed. 

Pont des Arts, Paris, France

The photo from 1900 shows the Pont des Arts – a pedestrian bridge over the river Seine, France. This bridge leads from the Institut de France to the Louvre. As such, the bridge has always been an extremely popular tourist destination and offers a wonderful view of the surrounding area. 

Here couples can be seen casually walking the bridge, one even has a sword strapped to his waist. 

Pont des Arts, Paris, France

With a romantic view of the city of love, the bridge has always been a favoured haunt for couples and as such the railings of the bridge were often adorned with padlocks a romantic gesture of love.

In 2015 though, the weight of the locks caused a portion of the railing to collapse and so the rest of the locks had to be forcibly removed. 

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most well-known landmarks in all of Germany. It was originally constructed in 1791 and built as a monument during the Batavian Revolution. 

During World War II, the Nazis used the gate as a symbol for their party. It managed to survive the war, but was badly damaged by bullets and explosions as the Russian Army moved into the city. Here, a Russian soldier can be seen with a camera standing in front of the monument. 

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

The reconstructed gate was used for many memorial services in the years that followed including the official ceremony to mark the reunification of Germany.

As a regular site for major historical events, the Brandenburg Gate has turned into a tourist hotspot and is now considered by many to be a symbol of European peace and unity. 

The Palais Garnier Opera House, Paris, France

“The Opera Garnier decorated with swastikas for a festival of German music during the Occupation of Paris.

The Germans organized a series of concerts in the occupied city, including by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.”

The Palais Garnier Opera House, Paris, France

The Palais Garnier Opera House photographed in 2016 offers a much more peaceful view of Paris.

The building is known as “probably the most famous opera house in the world…” mostly thanks to being the setting for the 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera. It also appeared as a centrepiece for subsequent adaptations of the novel into films and musicals. 

Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1870)

The Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary was originally constructed sometime in 1877 and can be seen here in those early days in its fresh glory.

Built with a neo-gothic style, it has been used a place of worship for Roman Catholic churchgoers since construction was finished. It has a rich history too, including being part of the film Grandfather Automobile in the 1950s. 

Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (2019)

149 years later, rephotos user Bix took this photo of the church in its modern view. A very different view surrounded by trees, concrete and modern life. 

The Oude Gracht Bakkerbrug, Utrecht, Holland (1890)

The before photo from this set appeared in 1890 and showed a reasonably quiet street with a wonderful waterway and people wandering the streets. 

The Oude Gracht Bakkerbrug, Utrecht, Holland (2018)

127 years later, the view is very different. Not just discernible due to the presence of a local McDonald’s but from the slight changes to the local buildings.

That one on the left for example, no longer has a tower. What happened there? It might well have been destroyed during WWII. 

Chernivtsi National University (1880)

The Chernivtsi National University was established at 1875 as a public University in Western Ukraine.

There’s a rich a varied history to this building that’s well worth looking into, but even this image speaks volumes as to how impressive the grounds are. 

Chernivtsi National University (2010)

130 years later the Chernivtsi National University is even more magnificent. The well-kept grounds are now much greener with large hedges, bushes and more besides. 

St. Petersburg, Palace Square (1840)

This one is particularly interesting, not just because of the location, but also because of how it’s presented. The original image dates back to 1840 and is a oil painting of Palace Square by Vasily Sadovnikov.

This location also has a rich history which includes the Bloody Sunday massacre as well as parts of the October Revolution of 1917.

St. Petersburg, Palace Square (2014)

174 years later, the Square might look a bit different but what the newer image shows is the original oil painting did a fantastic job of capturing the detail of the area. 

Santa Maria di Collemaggio (1867 and 2018)

Pretty incredible to see a church that has stood so long and yet remains magnificent thanks to upkeep and restoration. Construction of this one started in 1287 and was photographed hundreds of years later. 

“Santa Maria di Collemaggio is a large medieval church in L’Aquila, central Italy. It was the site of the original Papal Jubilee, a penitential observation devised by Pope Celestine V, who is buried there. The church, which therefore ranks as a basilica because of its importance in religious history, sits in isolation at the end of a long rectangular sward of grass at the southwest edge of the town.

The church is a masterpiece of Abruzzese Romanesque and Gothic architecture and one of the chief sights of L’Aquila. The striking jewel-box effect of the exterior is due to a pattern of blocks of alternating pink and white stone; the interior, on the other hand, is massive and austere. Outbuildings include a colonnaded cloister, with the central fountain typical of many other similar Italian cloisters, and the former monastic refectory.

Parts of the structure were significantly damaged in the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila and the church was reopened in 2017.”

The Hook & Ladder Company 8 in New York was chosen as the base for the original Ghostbusters movie. It’s said that this spot was selected as the script imagined that the Ghostbusters would be providing a public service just like the fire department that usually call this spot home. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.

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