Old Google Street View images show how much iconic London locations have changed in 10 years

If you’ve lived in London for any amount of time, you’ll know that the city is always changing.

While much of the city is protected by heritage status and looks virtually indistinguishable from how it looked 30 years ago, developments are coming and going all the time in the capital.

In the interest of seeing just how much certain areas of the city have changed over the last 10 years, we used Google Street View to pull up old photos of London’s most iconic locales.

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The results are quite something – let’s take a look.

Piccadilly Circus

As you can see, 2021 Piccadilly Circus is bright and busy, but was it much different back in 2014?

Piccadilly Circus pictured in 2021

Sadly – well as far as this experiment goes – it was not. From the angle we’re looking at, the building on the right used to be a bank. Now it’s not!

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Piccadilly Circus in 2014

Oxford Street

Like Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street is a fairly timeless locale populated by the biggest brands in the world.

Oxford Street in 2021

From this shot in 2009, it’s clear Tenzens has stood the test of time, although the Microsoft store is a relatively new addition.

Oxford Street in 2009

The Shard

The Shard literally wasn’t built until 2009, so what will a faraway shot of London’s most famous skyscraper look like through the lens of ye olde Google Street View?

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The Shard in 2021

Woah! A tree! As evidenced by the sun peaking through the shrubbery the Shard is not actually there yet in this 2008 photo.

But, a scan of the nearby area showed that this tree actually got cut down sometime before the Shard finished construction. For shame!

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A tree in 2008

Mayfair

In 2020 Mayfair was gloomy but dignified – its buildings a charming ruddy orange.

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Mayfair pictured in 2020

In 2008 Mayfair was… sunnier? Truthfully Mayfair hasn’t changed a lot and has remained one of London’s most architecturally consistent locales.

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Mayfair in 2008

Elephant & Castle

Now for the biggie. Anyone familiar with South London will know Elephant & Castle has undergone a massive shift in aesthetic over the last few years. In 2021 the roundabout still looks like a half-finished project.

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Elephant & Castle pictured in 2021

But in 2008 the Shopping Centre stood tall – and the weird tall building with the fans on it was but a twinkle in some architect’s eye. Simpler times.

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The Elephant & Castle shopping center, as pictured in 2008

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Camden

In 2021 Camden looks like you would expect anywhere in London to look with a massive Pret in focus.

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Camden pictured in 2021

However, in the hazy days of ’08 there was no Pret, just a row of classic Camden shops. The KFC has had a bit of a makeover since those days, too.

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Camden pictured in 2008

Hackney Wick

We go now to East London’s trendiest locale, with popping graffiti everywhere you look.

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Hackney Wick in 2020

But, in 2008 there was no street art, just plain brick walls. We stan a glow-up.

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Hackney Wick in 2008

SoHo

At the centre of London’s party life, we can see an array of colourful-looking restaurants and bars.

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SoHo pictured in 2021

But in 2008 the district looked decidedly more… unfabulous? Maybe it’s the picture quality but even the streets themselves look greyer and more miserable. Its apparent more LGBT+ spark was needed for this part of town.

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Soho in the distant fog of 2008

Brixton

In 2021 Brixton is cloudy but cute, with an Iceland on one side next to the station, facing some stylised storefronts.

Brixton pictured in 2021

In 2008, Brixton looks basically the same even albeit with nicer weather. Even the Morleys is still there!

Brixton pictured in 2008

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