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Color Photos of London From World War II

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Getty Images

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the launch of Winston Churchill's WWII "V for Victory" campaign. To mark the occasion, gathered up color photos taken in London during the war.

Image credit: William Vandivert/TIME & LIFE Pictures (1940)

From "I felt," Churchill recalled, "with a spasm of mental pain, a deep sense of the strain and suffering that was being borne throughout the world's largest capital city. How long would it go on? How much more would they have to bear? What were the limits of their vitality? What effects would their exhaustion have upon our productive war-making power?"

Image credit: William Vandivert/Time & Life Pictures/ (1941)


A man sits on a park bench in London, reading a book; a moored "barrage balloon" is visible in the background, while a second one soars high in the distance. Barrage balloons were remarkable devices designed to fly high enough to disable or even destroy enemy aircraft, which might fly into their ropes and metal cables. In WWII, barrage balloons were credited with bringing down more than 200 V-1 flying bombs -- or "doodlebugs," as the enormous (4,000-lb.) weapons were known in characteristically blithe British vernacular -- over England during the Blitz.

Image credit: Frank Scherschel/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Lots more color photos of London in this gallery.

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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