please empty your brain below

The thing that struck me most about the Guardian’s pictures of the funeral (first link) was the men standing on the bomb site’s broken walls. Elf ’n’ Safety was more a matter of individual responsibility in those days.
Bomb sites were a common feature of the London landscape – not worth a second glance.
This event struck me as a slightly macabre commemoration. I wonder what the response would be if someone suggested having Princess Diana's empty funeral carriage driven through London 50 years after her death? This has the ring of the British obsession with anniversaries and a skewed belief that "everything was better then, and awful now".
Ah, missed it. Thank heavens for iPlayer. Oh, the top hats! And where was that bomb site on Ludgate Hill?

Not entirely apropos, but the newly listed building at 30 Cannon Street was constructed on one of the last unredeveloped bomb sites in London, in 1974-77. See

Hmm - when DG is looking for a new series, perhaps he could visit the listed buildings in London, borough by borough?
I watched a bit of it on TV during my work lunch break in 1965. From what I remember the event was not a big deal with the public. Coronations and Royal events seem to be more popular than political figures. Compare the turn out for Mrs.Thatcher's funeral with that for the Queen Mother or Lady Diana.
Yes, not many tall buildings back then, Shell Centre, Millbank Tower and Post Office Tower were open, and Centre Point was nearly complete.
It also took many years to get old buildings jet-washed and many London buildings had a black facade thanks to years of coal fires.
The funeral train past through my local station but I did not go to watch it.
I trust that 'recreating' funerals will not become the next 'craze'... a most peculiar way to remember a person, I thought.
Andrew, there used to be a railway bridge crossing over Ludgate Hill, the area around the tracks was quite a large bomb site(s) for many years.
Bomb site were great to play in, and as a child in the 1950's exploring bombed out houses would often be a source of material to make a go cart. Old pram wheels and some wood! Old bits of corrugated iron would make a shed. Abandoned temporary wartime armed forces camps also were great fun for a child to explore after the war.
Of course nowadays health and safety jobsworthys would have anything like that fenced off and security cameras installed.
There was a bomb site on Ludgate Hill as late as 1981 (I watched the Chas and Di wedding procession from there). It was on gthe south side of the street, immediately east of the railway bridge. Originally earmarked for a station on the Fleet Line, it is now part of City Thameslink station
I don't know about interest in the funeral at the time, but there was a massive response to Churchill's lying-in-state. My fiance travelled from Cardiff to see it, as did many from probably further away.
And I agree with previous comments, bomb sites were common at that time. In the suburbs they were used as children's (unofficial) play areas and in Central London for car parking. Gradually they were all built on.
As a child in the 80s I still remember major London buildings covered in years worth of grime. It was quite a revelation when the Houses of Parliament was cleaned up and usually one of the first things I mention when watching 'historical' dramas. The scenes from the Thatcher movie a few years ago showed Parliament of the 70s looking far too clean. You could of course argue it was all part of her memory playing tricks.
Here's another view of that bomb site with St Brides Church in the background. The Mk 4 Ford Zephyr and the BR double arrow symbol on the train identify the date as after 1968.

Here's another view. The car in the foreground has a J- registration, and one behind it is a Hillman Avenger, so this must be post-1970
The domed building in the background is the Old Bailey, and the church spire that of St Martins Ludgate Hill.

This is the view from approximately the same location today - the red and white building being the clue.
I remember watching the funeral on TV. Now it's part of 'history'. I feel old.

I don't know about bomb sites in London but definitely remember them around Bristol. There were still sites awaiting redevelopment in the early 70s.
I was at boarding school in Oxford. It was a Saturday but we still had lessons in the morning in those days. These were cancelled so we could watch the broadcast. Later we walked down to the railway line, which ran near the school, to watch the train go past.
about 10 years ago I watched a similar boat journey along the Thames to commemorate a significant anniversary for Admiral Nelson. I knew about it and travelled to Embankment specially, but I don't think it was widely publicised.
So Churchill wasn't the first to be remembered in this way.
I'd wanted to get up to town for this but the need to get a tax return finished unfortunately put paid to that. I'd actually found a link on the ITV News site to the original procession to get some clues as to the best viewing point(s), and the thing that astonished me most was seeing just how different the Thames riverside looked, fifty years ago.
Gosh - was not expecting four hours worth!
That's how NCP car parks started off - buying up bomb sites after WWII to park cars on. They paid £200 in 1946 for their first one in Holborn.
Quite by chance I walked almost the whole route last week and went up to the top of St Paul's so it was fascinating to see how much had changed yet to see St Paul's as good as unchanged.

Amazing that Dimbleby broadcast on his own for four hours with almost no breaks. BBC should take a look at how well they did that and contrast how badly they did The Queen's Diamond river pageant and go back to what that did best.

No doubt in time they may well re show the funeral of Diana. Whilst I did not get caught up in all the grief, I did watch the entire day and could feel the history already.
Given the amount of comment about the damage caused in the area around St Pauls by enemy bombing, and the memories it has brought back (Great Aunt Annie, Andrew, John, timbo, Bronchitikat, ActonMan), here's something that may be of interest.
A few years back, I came across a map titled Devastated London, published by the London Topographical Society, which gave a graphic impression of the extent of the carnage.
Actually, it's not so much a map as a reproduction of a pen and ink aerial view, drawn in 1945, by an artist who went up in a balloon.
Seeing how much destruction there was, including in some of the streets immediately around St Pauls, still makes for a shocking image, because of the way it shows it was nothing more than chance that the cathedral itself wasn't destroyed.

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