Great British BAKE of 1937! Incredible photos reveal Londoners relaxing in St James’ Park and cooling-off at lidos during 90F heatwave two years before WWII
Two children on holiday sit by the water’s edge to feed swans and cygnets on the lake at the Empire Pool Gardens Wembley, London. The Empire Pool was built in 1934 for the British Empire Games and was used for the 1948 Summer Olympics
Two children cruise in a make-shift soapbox at Greenwich London on August 7, 1937. The group of children, splash and cool off as best as possible in unbearable heat in the summer – which reached near record-breaking temperatures at the time. The highest point recorded in London was 100F on August 10, 2003
Four children dress appropriately for the scorching heat while the sweltering Queen’s Guard sentry suffers in silence outside Buckingham Palace on August 7, 1937. Three of the children hold hands looking up towards the guard who is fully-covered head-to-toe including his heavy bearskin helmet. These bearskin helmets date back to the 17th century
Despite being immersed in the cool waters of Wembley’s Empire Pool, it just wasn’t quite enough to escape the heat. A swimmer gladly receives a glass of cooling tonic from her friend as she enjoys the air-open bath on August 7, 1937. The beautiful image shows the two woman smiling and enjoying the year’s near-record heatwave.
Adults and children who were desperate for a dip on July 7, 1937,
waiting in line which stretched for hundreds of yards outside the Wood Green open air pool. This queue is only one example of the desperate measures Londoners resorted to cool-down and escape the stifling 90F heat. Lidos became popular in the UK during the 1930s. There were 169 built across the UK by local councils
Children of the Santa Claus home walk in a single file, donning their warmer weather wear in Waterlow Park High gate in London, August 6, 1937. Two children lead the pack in a wheelchair pushed by a nurse while the others trail behind in their breezy outfits
A group of children runs excitedly through St James’ Park on August 7, 1937, to retreat to a cool spot in the park. The heat from the ground must have been too much for their bare feet as one picks up a younger child, potentially a younger sibling or family member to run faster
Children splash, play, swim and no doubt feel refreshed in the crisp water of the St James’ Park lake. Little girls tuck their dresses into their underwear for a quick dip while other children are fully immersed in the water. A fence line keeps the children from swimming too far out so they can keep their footing on the bank
The heat from the scorching summer of 1937 began in May. This image captures two young children sheltering from the roasting sun inside a sentry box outside what appears to be the Tower of London on May 29. Both are dressed in summer wear as they watch the poor soldier match with a rifle over his left shoulder.
As umbrellas remain propped up for shade coverage, crowded tea gardens in Hyde Park flourished during the hot summer on 1937. The famous park in the west of the city was, and remains, a favorite spot for workers to enjoy their lunch in the hot weather. This image captures professionals dining in luxurious conditions in the sweltering heat
As the sun threatened to break all known records, children rushed to many of the city’s water fountains to cool down. The gaggle of youngsters crowds the fountain, each waiting their turn, their likely searing on the scorching tiles beneath them
Gentlemen keep their jackets on as they recline on park benches in direct sunshine, despite the blistering 90F heat in the summer of 1937. It was a period of relative calm, despite fears of the rising far-right in Europe, before the continent would be gripped in WWII – and London would resemble a very different city after Hitler’s bomb rained down during the Blitz.