In the frantic pace of modern life, it is easy to forget our past, and the toils of the generations before us who built the world we live in.
But for those familiar with our capital city, these fascinating pictures taken when photography was in its infancy will bring back to life a London which has changed so much over the last 150 years.
They capture sweaty, mustachioed long-dead engineers working hard to bring the world's first Underground network to life; they capture the hippo who entertained Londoners and visitors alike during his 30 years' lodgings at Regent's Park; they capture long-past shops and factories; they even capture the construction of one of England's most famous monuments, Nelson's Column, back in 1844.
Further afield, there are pictures of Italy, America, Japan and Egypt, all taken more than 100 years ago.
The British Library holds 350,000 historic pictures in its vaults, and for the first time ever it is running an exhibition of these rarely seen pictures, which will open in October.
There are a million fascinating facts and figures about the London Underground, but this rarely seen photograph reminds us just what an engineering feat the construction process was. Here we see the creation of the Central Line in 1898
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