This year will undoubtedly be one that goes down in the history books.
On the 23rd March, the UK government announced a national lockdown, introducing new legislation which affected our daily lives and routines overnight – probably more than any policy in the UK’s history before.
Overnight, people had to adjust to new rules, only being allowed to leave the house for a small number of reasons. Offices closed, theatres, cinemas and libraries closed, gyms and beauty salons closed, restaurants closed and even outdoor playgrounds were wrapped up with tape.
It's been a year of home-made haircuts, clapping for the NHS, juggling childcare with working from home, and taking on home-schooling.
Photographer Wayne Howes captured the empty streets of London, portraying our capital eerily abandoned. The post-apocalyptic style pictures are part of his stunning new book London in Lockdown.
Areas which usually would be teeming with tourists and commuters are completely cleared out; Regent Street empty at 9am on a weekday, Trafalgar Square without a tourist (or even a person) in sight, and City Hall a seemingly-deserted relic against the city’s skyline.
There's not even a car on Tower Bridge. It’s these eerie but entirely absorbing scenes which photographer Wayne Howes set out to capture and document.
Howes was an essential worker who found himself on foot, criss-crossing the city during lockdown, when between jobs; the perfect opportunity to capture the city during this unique and eerie time. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, he is finally releasing his collection as a captivating coffee table book, on sale for £39.99 through Waterstones.
The book contains 50 pages of high-resolution images of the City and West End, showcasing the sights, buildings and attractions without a commuter or tourist to be found.
“The scenes were almost post-apocalyptic,” explains the author. “I spent my days transiting between jobs in London and I could literally walk through the busiest parts of the city and not meet a single person, or see a car. Everything was silent, and I knew I had to capture it as a time capsule of the pandemic.”
Continuing, “What shocked me was how many large, vast spaces exist in the city. Of course, the people and traffic usually fill them up. Without anyone else around, the city seemed so sprawling and dominating. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with my photographs.”
Wayne isn't the only one who set out to document this year's history-defining moments. Historic England put out a nationwide appeal for photos, and received over 3,000 images in a week, before making a shortlist of the 200 photographs that best summarised the nation's lockdown. Historic England said the call-out was the first time the public had been asked to capture photographs for the archive since World War Two.