What if the waters of the Thames rose so high that the streets of London turned into waterways? This series of images envisions turn-of-the-century London as a second Venice, with gondolas cruising past the familiar landmarks.
This comes from the same Harmsworth's Magazine series as "If London Were Like New York," but instead of an American invasion, this article imagines London subjected to rising water levels. In honor of their new canals, the city has gone quite Italian, while maintaining an understated English disposition:
I had noticed that all the gondolas we had seen were painted black, only the 'buses and other public vehicles boasted vivid colouring. In Old Venice, I recollected, during the fifteenth century a decree was issued ordering all floating things into mourning, the object being to favour espionage and political intrigue. In a black gondola on a black night the spies of the Government might travel anywhere without fear of detection. Only to ambassadors was given the privilege of decorating their gondolas in colours, and this in order that their movements might be the more easily followed. Some such edict had gone forth in London I concluded.
"The Council of Doges certainly did try something of the sort," returned my guide in answer to my query, "though not with any great success. In the case of the gondola it wasn't necessary. The Englishman who can afford to paddle alone is naturally of a sombre disposition, and would no more ride in a gaudy gondola than he would have patronised a yellow cab in the olden times. And as far as the 'buses were concerned, the Doges' decrees were as abortive as their attempts to restrict the language of the gondoliers, which, under stress of circumstances, remains a bright crimson as of yore."