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London then – and now: Amazing Jason Hawkes aerial photos document the UK capital's amazing growth


What a difference 15 years makes.

Aerial photography specialist Jason Hawkes recently snapped a set of stunning images of London from a helicopter, matching the angles with photographs he took above the capital between 2005 and 2007.

His images show that in some areas the city has undergone dramatic changes – there’s now a rather lofty Shard skyscraper, Canary Wharf is becoming a forest of tall buildings and the King’s Cross area has truly flourished.

Jason, who takes his pictures from between 750 and 2,450ft up, told MailOnline Travel that his favourite view is ‘at dusk looking West through the City cluster with the Thames meandering in the background’.

He added: ‘My favourite building in the City of London is the Leadenhall, just love it. Around Battersea, Nine Elms and Vauxhall the whole area has completely transformed in the past few years. There the new U.S. Embassy by Kieran Timberlake looks just incredible to my eye. I’d love to visit it on the ground.’

Jason’s incredible then-and-now pictures of London are below – and can also be seen at The Changing Face of London exhibition at the New London Architecture gallery in Bloomsbury.

A view over the Old Royal Naval College in 2006
A view over the Old Royal Naval College in 2020

Views over the Old Royal Naval College to the Isle of Dogs taken in 2006 (left) and 2020 (right)

The Thames Barrier in 2007
The Thames Barrier and Royal Docks development in 2020

The image on the left shows the Thames Barrier in 2007, with a matching view showing development at Royal Docks in 2020

Battersea Power Station, Battersea and Pimlico in 2007
Battersea Power Station, Battersea and Pimlico in 2020

Battersea Power Station, Battersea and Pimlico in 2007, with a matching view taken in 2020 showing how rapidly the areas to the south have developed. The silvery cube building on the right-hand side of the river is the new U.S Embassy

Tower Bridge looking West in 2006
Tower Bridge looking West in 2020

Tower Bridge looking west in 2006, with the picture on the right showing the same view in 2020. Jason said: ‘It’s a view I shoot more than any, as it changes so much on the tide and with the light off the Thames’

An amazing view of the Greenwich Peninsula in 2007
The Greenwich Peninsula in 2020

An amazing view of the Greenwich Peninsula in 2007 (left), with the 2020 view to the right

A 2005 view looking west down South Dock in Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf in 2020

On the left is a 2005 view looking west down South Dock in Canary Wharf, with the 2020 version on the right. Jason said: ‘Flying around Canary Wharf can get very busy as you are always subject to the traffic lifting and landing at City Airport right next door. Shooting at dusk, we sometimes get given tiny 30-second windows by air traffic control in which to grab the shots. It’s been amazing recently though as there are so few flights. Recently, for instance, we flew there and had a pretty much free-rein to fly as required for the job’

A 2006 view of the construction of the Olympic site looking south from the A12 down the River Lea
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2020

On the left is a 2006 view of the construction of the Olympic site looking south from the A12 down the River Lea. On the right is a matching 2020 image of the site, now known as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Jason said: ‘Shooting in the winter like this first image, it can get desperately cold up there. We fly with the doors off and after an hour or so you can’t feel your fingers’

A 2006 view east from St Paul's Cathedral to the City of London
A 2020 view east from St Paul's Cathedral to the City of London

A 2006 view east from St Paul’s Cathedral to the City of London (left), with the 2020 image on the right showing how rapid development has been in the intervening years

A 2006 view looking west over Paddington and the A40
A 2020 view of the development around Paddington station

On the left is a 2006 view looking west over Paddington and the A40. The matching view on the right, taken in 2020, shows development around Paddington, Paddington Central and Paddington Basin

An incredible view taken in 2006 over Bankside and Blackfriars, looking west from Tate Modern
The 2020 picture shows the development around Blackfriars - which includes the appearance of the lofty One Blackfriars tower and the Blackfriars Railway Bridge becoming Blackfriars station in its entirety

An incredible view taken in 2006 over Bankside and Blackfriars, looking west from Tate Modern (left). The 2020 picture on the right shows the development around Blackfriars – which includes the appearance of the lofty One Blackfriars tower and the Blackfriars Railway Bridge becoming Blackfriars station in its entirety

On the left is a mesmerising 2006 view of St Pancras International and King's Cross looking north
The matching 2020 shot shows the huge development Granary Square and Lewis Cubitt Square. See those cranes between King's Cross station on the right and St Pancras on the left? That's the new 'landscraper' Google HQ

On the left is a mesmerising 2006 view of St Pancras International and King’s Cross looking north. The matching 2020 shot shows the huge development around Granary Square and Lewis Cubitt Square. See those cranes between King’s Cross station on the right and St Pancras on the left? That’s the new ‘landscraper’ Google HQ

A 2007 pre-Shard picture of the London Bridge area and out to the east
The 1,017ft-high Shard is the sixth highest building in Europe

These two images, taken in 2007 and 2020 show London Bridge pre and post-Shard. The 1,017ft-high skyscraper is the sixth highest building in Europe

A 2006 view of the City of London from Finsbury Circus
The matching 2020 view shows the latest skyscrapers in full bloom - 22 Bishopsgate and 100 Bishopsgate, and the newest development, One Crown Place, in the left-hand foreground

A 2006 view (left) of the City of London from Finsbury Circus. The matching 2020 view on the right shows the latest skyscrapers in full bloom – 22 Bishopsgate and 100 Bishopsgate, and the newest development, One Crown Place, in the left-hand foreground

This 2006 image captures the City of London, looking West
Jason's 2020 image looking west over the City of London

The 2006 image on the left captures the City of London, looking west. The photo on the right was taken in 2020. Jason said: ‘This is one of my favourite views of the City and also the one that has changed the most, especially over the past five years’

The view looking south over the River Lea, Canning Town and Leamouth Peninsula
Leamouth Peninsula is now called London City Island, 'a 12-acre micro-Manhattan', according to its website. It's now the home of the English National Ballet. This picture was taken in 2020

The 2007 view looking south over the River Lea, Canning Town and Leamouth Peninsula. The matching 2020 view is on the right. Leamouth Peninsula is now called London City Island, ‘a 12-acre micro-Manhattan’, according to its website. It’s now the home of the English National Ballet

To see more of Jason’s incredible work visit his Instagram page and website



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