Two weeks ago I captured pictures of the City’s empty streets as coronavirus began to drastically change the way we live and work. Museums had closed and the nation’s pub-goers were about to have their final fling as tourists and office workers retreated to their homes.
Ten days after the country went into full lockdown, I ventured back into London where the few people stepping outside for their daily exercise or walking to work were coming to grips with the new normal.
Hyde Park’s spring blooms were bursting with colour for an audience of just two, while a pair of friends played imaginary squash in the park without a ball.
A solitary figure fed hungry swans beside the Serpentine and a Londoner browsed his phone as he strolled silently past.
At Buckingham Palace the guards were still on duty, but they faced an empty Mall. In front of the palace a lone groundsman tended his tulips, the grass was immaculate and untrodden. Opposite, in Green Park, there was barely a soul.
A quick tour through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and down Whitehall felt disorientating. Empty buses followed each other on their familiar routes, in denial. But the West End was calm, gentle even, without the usual throngs of tourists weaving through continuous queues of traffic.
It was only as I crossed Westminster Bridge towards St Thomas’ hospital that the serenity was pierced, over and over, by the wailing of ambulance sirens, bringing patients to the doors of A&E.
Charlie Bibby is the FT’s chief photographer
The post Londoners get used to the new normal — in pictures appeared first on Financial Times.