diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last time I was in a second-hand bookshop I spent £2 on a copy of "London for Everyman" by William Kent - a guide for visitors to the capital, attempting to help them to fill their time wisely. The original came out in 1930 but I've got the 1947 "Post-Blitz" edition in which the author laments many sad losses. Amongst the landmarks not yet reopened after the war was the London Museum, then located in Lancaster House on the Mall, and long since relocated to the Barbican. But several other famous museums and attractions are listed, along with their 1947 opening times and entrance fees. I thought I'd compare admission prices then with admission prices now, just to see how things have changed in the last two-thirds of a century. Quite a lot, as it turns out...

Admission price
Attraction19472010% increase
British Museumfreefree0%
Dickens' House1 shilling£612000%
Dr Johnson's House1 shilling£4.509000%
Foundling Hospital Museum free£7.50infinite
Geffrye Museumfreefree0%
Hampton Court1 shilling
(half price Saturdays)
Imperial War Museumfreefree0%
Kensington Palace6d£11.5046000%
Kew Gardens1d£13.50324000%
Madame Tussauds2s 3d
(Chamber of Horrors 7d)
National Galleryfreefree0%
St Paul's CathedralCrypt 6d
Whispering Gallery 6d
South Kensington Museumsfreefree0%
Tower of London6d
(free Saturdays)
United Services Museum1 shilling
(free to soldiers in uniform)
Westminster AbbeyChapels 9d£1520000%
Westminster CathedralLift 1 shillingLift £510000%
Zoological Gardens2 shillings £18.00 18000%

The author also helpfully lists some typical fares for certain journeys around town. These are adult singles...

Journey 1947  2010 % increase
Baker Street to Piccadilly Circusbus1½d£232000%
Waterloo to Bank'tube'3½d£427500%
Buckingham Palace to St Paul'staxi1s 6d£11.2015000%
Chingford to Liverpool Streetrail2s 5d£3.903200%
Westminster to Hampton Court river 4s 6d£13.506000%

If things carry on at this rate, then by 2073 a trip on the Waterloo & City line will cost £1100, and a visit to Kew Gardens will set you back over £40000. Better start saving now.

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