Any fan of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol knows that Christmas day in London was filled with celebrations in the many homes, and it most certainly was not a deserted place on the streets. As Ebenezer Scrooge walked outdoors, a man fresh from the haunting of three ghosts but all the better for it, he came across many whom he surprised with his uncharacteristic good cheer, humor, and generosity. It was a festive Victorian Christmas replete with joyful people that has been indelibly etched in the minds of Dickens fans for generations.
Photographer Corrado Chiozzi shows us a rather different London at this time of the year in his project called Silent London.
For those not from the UK, it comes as a surprise to see images of empty streets in this city on the 25th of December. Far removed from the London in Dickens’ tale, we don’t have the three ghosts, but rather a ghost town that is quite devoid of pedestrians and activity. Apparently, everything in London is closed, and the absence of public transports all the more magnifies the lack of human activity.
The tube and buses are not operating, shops are closed and everything practically stands still. Only a scant few people can be seen once in a while, all of whom we presume to be tourists. Anybody who has been to London will know how bustling the fabled city is everyday of the year. For the uninitiated, however, it is a fact that Christmas is the only day of the year when the city stops.
It is a London as most have never seen, a virtual ghost town empty of people, vehicles and life in general. It is a bizarre reality that happens once a year, as Italian photographer Corrado Chiozzi is able to show.
Chiozzi went all around the capital on December 25, and captured these shots from downtown to the West End. It may seem odd to those not from the UK, but there is nothing unusual about the inactivity around this time of the year. Chiozzi, himself a European, was nonetheless surprised by the emptiness too. “When I first spent Christmas in the city I was quite surprised everything was closed and all the streets were empty,” he said.
See his images of Silent London here. It may have been a London that a grumpy, humbug-filled Scrooge would have loved.