DSC02998 - Trafalgar Square kids & pigeons 1920-40s

This is a two-part compilation of tweets and photos featuring young people, kids, friends and even their parents with the world famous pigeons and fountains Trafalgar Square in the days of old, up to the 1980s. One of these is me with my mum….
The Square’s pigeons were a classic sight for decades. It is said they had been here long before the square was built. But by the end of the 20th Century it was decided feeding the birds was a rather unhealthy past time. The pigeons supposedly carried a multitude of diseases and the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone claimed the birds were ‘rats with wings.’
Its been asserted there’s no evidence of humans getting ill from pigeons, as this great article by Pigeons as Pets shows.
Although handing out bird seed was fun for us kids of in long gone by days, the square’s obviously a much cleaner, better, place now. And there’s a risk of a £500 fine for anyone caught feeding pigeons.
The fountains still see people getting wet in them, but matters were a bit more relaxed back in those days than they are now. Any would be bathers trying it today will clearly have ignored the warning signs and security staff will request they get out of the water immediately.
Anyhow, we start off with pictures of the square from 1920s to the 1940s.
Actually the first picture’s from 1919! Only a year out 🙂
Like many of London’s waterspaces – the Thames, the canals, various ponds and rivers – where one could freely bathe, the fountains too were once popular with children. The following tweet clearly rues the fact its not allowed today…

Its quite obvious from these pictures the depth of the water in the Trafalgar Square fountains is not like today. The kids are wading in water that’s barely up to their knees.

The next picture is a bit surreal – it looks like a real baby feeding the pigeons!

Another picture showing kids having fun paddling in the square’s fountains. Again the water levels are much lower in these views.

Although the next picture has ‘Piccadilly Circus’ written on it, its most certainly Trafalgar Square! This pic shows what seems to be a cabmen’s shelter at the top of Whitehall, but its probably a structure around the Charles 1 statue which would indicate this as being during the war. The only issue is the structure at the time was much taller and built of corrugated iron so not really sure what this one was. Anyone know?

Not a fountain or a pigeon picture, but nevertheless of interest – celebrating Norway Day in 1942.

The next picture is undated but I take it to be the late forties.

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These are beautiful images. It is so sad that you can’t feed pigeons. They have as much right as we do to live. We should all be living happily together but instead you have stupid rules and regulations. So so sad.