Street parties and crowds cheering in Trafalgar Square marked Victory in Europe Day in 1945 – but Friday’s 75th anniversary of the momentous occasion will prove a stark contrast.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of planned celebrations.

But Britons have been urged to bring out the bunting nevertheless, and mark the occasion at home and via online platforms.

Here, we remember VE Day celebrations from the past – with the packed streets of 1945 a far cry from life under lockdown.

Huge crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square on May 8, 1945, to celebrate victory. Credit: PA
Joyce Digney and Cynthia Covello were famously photographed celebrating VE Day with two sailors in a fountain in Trafalgar Square. Credit: Imperial War Museum/PA
Men, women and children take to the streets of London. Credit: PA
Then and now – scenes in Trafalgar Square. Credit: PA
Comparison shot showing Sir Winston Churchill leaving the Houses of Parliament on VE Day, and how the scene appeared last weekend under lockdown. Credit: PA
Huge crowds at Mansion House, with the Lord Mayor of London on the balcony, in 1945 – and sparse scenes today. Credit: PA
Whitehall during the celebrations – and during lockdown. Credit: PA
A Service of Remembrance to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day, at the Cenotaph in 2015, and the scene last week. Credit: PA
The 2015 VE Day Parade marking 70th anniversary in Parliament Square, and how it looked last weekend. Credit: PA
The Red Arrows flew overhead in 2015. Credit: PA
The Red Arrows fly over Horse Guards Parade in 2015, and the same scene last weekend. Credit: PA
Veterans pass the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in 2015, and the scene today. Credit: PA
Guardsmen of the Scots Guards march during the 2015 parade, and quieter scenes in the capital. Credit: PA
Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square on the 60th Anniversary of VE Day in London, and quieter scenes this month. Credit: PA