This wonderful set of photographs comes from a LIFE photographer in London, 1944. World War Two was still raging and blackouts were commonplace. At the start of the war, and during the worst days of the Battle of Britain, London nightlife came to a standstill. However, despite or perhaps especially because of the war, by 1944 a blackout didn't mean anyone stopped their plans for a night out in the West End!
Photographed by David E. Scherman for LIFE magazine, most with infrared film. .Many of these photographs ran in the Februrary 21, 1944 issue of LIFE.
Blacked-out Piccadilly Circus. Source
Two soldiers crossing Piccadilly Circus. Source
Two American MPS examining leave passes. Source
Discussing what shows to see outside the theatre booking office. Source
Soldiers using a flashlight to read a restaurant menu. Source
Couples talking on Shaftesbury Avenue. Source
Girls standing outside a restaurant. Source
Girl waiting outside the Windmill Theatre -- known as the theatre that never closed during the darkest days of the Blitz... and also, more tongue in cheek, as the theatre 'that never clothed'. Source
Girls chatting with men on the street. Source
Poor soldier knocked out on the street after hitting his head on a lamppost in the blackout. Source
Making out in the dark at the stage door of the Prince of Wales theatre. Source