CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, December 22, 2014

Nostalgic photos reveal 200 years of Christmas

 

 

 

   

XmasLast-minute present hunting? Crowds turn out for Christmas shopping on the streets of Holborn in London in 1936

  Mrs. Herbert Duckworth: The success of this portrait of Julia Jackson, lies partly in its subject¿s actual beauty and partly in the way the photographer modeled it to suggest Christian and classical ideals of purity, strength, and grace
   

It's A Wonderful Life! Nostalgic photos reveal 200 years of Christmas (including Marilyn Monroe posing in festive stockings)

  • FEMAIL picks its favourite black and white Christmas images, dating back to the 1900s
  • Photos show the progression of the festive season - including what shopping was like in Holborn in 1936
  • Include Hollywood stars including Marilyn Monroe and Bob Hope during Golden Age of showbiz

From lighting a real candle on the branch of an indoor Christmas tree, to a well-dressed family singing carols on a stairwell in the home, it seems Christmas has changed significantly over the years.

This romantic collection of nostalgic black and white photos reveal there wasn't a beard bauble in sight as people from a bygone era celebrated the festive season.

As well as images of shoppers on a not-so-crowded street in Holborn, London, the photos capture the Golden Age of Hollywood.

From Bob Hope at the height of his career, to Marilyn Monroe posing seductively by a chimney in her stockings, the images reveal how the stars of Tinseltown celebrated Christmas in style.

Here, Femail picks its favourite images that show an It's A Wonderful Life-style Christmas... .

 

Multicultural: Diana Doris, a British actress, is seen in 1947 with a Christmas greeting written in French. Right, Marilyn Monroe posed in her stockings for this seductive 1951 photo. That year she was voted 'the present all GI's would like to find in their Christmas stocking' Multicultural: Diana Doris, a British actress, is seen in 1947 with a Christmas greeting written in French. Right, Marilyn Monroe posed in her stockings for this seductive 1951 photo. That year she was voted 'the present all GI's would like to find in their Christmas stocking'

Multicultural: Diana Doris, a British actress, is seen in 1947 with a Christmas greeting written in French. Right, Marilyn Monroe posed in her stockings for this seductive 1951 photo. That year she was voted 'the present all GI's would like to find in their Christmas stocking'

A young woman with a gorgeous dress lighting real candles on a Christmas tree in 1910 - a practice left in the past

 

A young woman with a gorgeous dress lighting real candles on a Christmas tree in 1910 - a practice left in the past

A look back at Marilyn Monroe: A life in film

Naughty and nice: Ida Lupino, a Warner Brothers star, spanks Saint Nick in this 1942 photo, left. Meanwhile, right, actress Jayne Mansfield danced with US soldiers stationed in Canada for a Christmas 1961 appearance Naughty and nice: Ida Lupino, a Warner Brothers star, spanks Saint Nick in this 1942 photo, left. Meanwhile, right, actress Jayne Mansfield danced with US soldiers stationed in Canada for a Christmas 1961 appearance

Naughty and nice: Ida Lupino, a Warner Brothers star, spanks Saint Nick in this 1942 photo, left. Meanwhile, right, actress Jayne Mansfield danced with US soldiers stationed in Canada for a Christmas 1961 appearance

A woman sings carols with children on a decorated staircase at Christmas-time in the 1940s

 

A woman sings carols with children on a decorated staircase at Christmas-time in the 1940s

 

A beauty queen dressed as a Christmas tree during a photo shoot in 1930s Californian A beauty queen dressed as a Christmas tree during a photo shoot in 1930s California (l) and a woman sitting by the fireplace

A beauty queen dressed as a Christmas tree during a photo shoot in 1930s California (l) and a woman sitting by the fireplace

Last-minute present hunting? Crowds turn out for Christmas shopping on the streets of Holborn in London in 1936

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Last-minute present hunting? Crowds turn out for Christmas shopping on the streets of Holborn in London in 1936

 

This Christmas greeting postcard was sent from Egypt in 1910, showing a young girl carrying a calendar in her hands, with a Bonne Annee inscription A French Christmas greeting postcard, with Joyeux Noel inscription and image of children playing with a Christmas tree

 

This Christmas greeting postcard was sent from Egypt in 1910, showing a young girl carrying a calendar in her hands, with a Bonne Annee inscription (l) and a French Christmas greeting postcard, with Joyeux Noel inscription and image of children playing with a Christmas tree

Grace is said before eating cakes at a Children's Christmas Party for three-year-olds at an Infants' School in Stoke-on-Trent, 1952

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Grace is said before eating cakes at a Children's Christmas Party for three-year-olds at an Infants' School in Stoke-on-Trent, 1952

 

A dog is dressed with a white beard and Santa hat on Christmas morning in the 1900s. Right, a boy and a girl share gifts under the Christmas tree while their mother - wearing angel wings - looks on with an elder boy in this postcard photo

A woman sits at the foot of a tinsel-covered Christmas tree surrounded by string-tied presents including a doll, a boat and toy soldiers in 1920

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A woman sits at the foot of a tinsel-covered Christmas tree surrounded by string-tied presents including a doll, a boat and toy soldiers in 1920

 

A group of children enjoy a sleigh ride in the snow in Germany circa 1910-1920. Right; A greeting card with two young girls in winter clothes on a snow-covered city road at the foot of a clock A group of children enjoy a sleigh ride in the snow in Germany circa 1910-1920. Right; A greeting card with two young girls in winter clothes on a snow-covered city road at the foot of a clock

 

A group of children enjoy a sleigh ride in the snow in Germany circa 1910-1920. Right; A greeting card with two young girls in winter clothes on a snow-covered city road at the foot of a clock

Actress Doris May steps out of her car while doing her Christmas shopping in this photo taking in 1021

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Actress Doris May steps out of her car while doing her Christmas shopping in this photo taking in 1021

 

Bob Hope is seen with actress Helen Wood, left, in this 1938 gagshot of him climbing out of a chimney. Right: Bob Hope and and Doris Day in Hollywood in 1948. the day before he performed in Berlin for troops working on the airlift Bob Hope is seen with actress Helen Wood, left, in this 1938 gagshot of him climbing out of a chimney. Right: Bob Hope and and Doris Day in Hollywood in 1948. the day before he performed in Berlin for troops working on the airlift

Bob Hope is seen with actress Helen Wood, left, in this 1938 gagshot of him climbing out of a chimney. Right: Bob Hope and and Doris Day in Hollywood in 1948. the day before he performed in Berlin for troops working on the airlift

Three young boys enjoy skating on the ice at the Lake Placid Club, New York, in 1929 over the Christmas holiday

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Three young boys enjoy skating on the ice at the Lake Placid Club, New York, in 1929 over the Christmas holiday

A nurse reads a story while surrounded by Christmas presents at the The Children's Hospital in Hampstead in 1936

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A nurse reads a story while surrounded by Christmas presents at the The Children's Hospital in Hampstead in 1936

 

Shirley Temple modeled a new Christmas dress in this 1935 photo, left. Happy New Year! Thousands of revellers cheer in 1953 around a Christmas tree in  Trafalgar Square, London Happy New Year! Thousands of revellers cheer in 1953 around a Christmas tree in  Trafalgar Square, London

 

Shirley Temple modeled a new Christmas dress in this 1935 photo, left. Happy New Year! Thousands of revellers cheer in 1953 around a Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, London

Sappho: Mary Hillier, a beautiful young house servant at Cameron's home was often pressed into photographic service, frequently in the role of the Virgin Mary. She managed to assume her various guises in a remarkably unselfconscious way

Sappho: Mary Hillier, a beautiful young house servant at Cameron's home was often pressed into photographic service, frequently in the role of the Virgin Mary. She managed to assume her various guises in a remarkably unselfconscious way

The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere: In 1874 Tennyson asked Cameron to make photographic illustrations for a new edition of his Idylls of the Kings. Cameron willingly accepted the assignment. Costuming family and friends

The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere: In 1874 Tennyson asked Cameron to make photographic illustrations for a new edition of his Idylls of the Kings. Cameron willingly accepted the assignment. Costuming family and friends

Pomona: The Roman goddess of gardens and fruit trees. Here, Alice Liddell (1852¿1934) who, as a child, was Lewis Carroll¿s muse and frequent photographic model - posed for Cameron a dozen times in August and September 1872

Pomona: The Roman goddess of gardens and fruit trees. Here, Alice Liddell (1852¿1934) who, as a child, was Lewis Carroll¿s muse and frequent photographic model - posed for Cameron a dozen times in August and September 1872

King Lear Alotting His Kingdom to His Three Daughters: The three Liddell sisters¿Lorina, Elizabeth, and Alice¿posed with the photographer¿s husband playing the tragically deceived King Lear in one of Cameron¿s few Shakespearean compositions

King Lear Alotting His Kingdom to His Three Daughters: The three Liddell sisters¿Lorina, Elizabeth, and Alice¿posed with the photographer¿s husband playing the tragically deceived King Lear in one of Cameron¿s few Shakespearean compositions

 

 

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It was started as a way of earning some quick money. But Charles Dickens's classic Christmas tale also had a powerful message that helped inspire the image of a traditional Christmas.

 

 

     

 

 

October 1843 and, at his home at 1 Devonshire Terrace, on the edge of London's Regent's Park, Charles Dickens sits down to begin writing what would become one of his best-loved and most enduring works.

A month later, still in full flow, the 31-year-old author wrote to a friend: 'I have been working from morning until night upon my little Christmas book and have really had no time to think of anything but that.'

And to another: 'Your note found me in the full passion of a roaring Christmas scene!'

That scene was in all likelihood the Christmas dinner of Bob Cratchit's family, including his crippled, sickly son, Tiny Tim, in A Christmas Carol.

 

The real Tiny Tims: The idea for a Christmas morality tale came to Dickens after he visited poverty-stricken chidren at the Field Lane Ragged School in London  

 

The real Tiny Tims: The idea for a Christmas morality tale came to Dickens after he visited poverty-stricken chidren at the Field Lane Ragged School in London

Writing day and night, and with virtually no editing, Dickens turned out his 'little book' in just six weeks - just in time for Christmas. But while it is tempting to picture him scribbling away with his head filled with romantic notions of cosy festive firesides, goodwill and plum pudding, Dickens had something rather more practical on his mind.

His serialisation of Martin Chuzzlewit had been ill-received and sales were poor - and his wife, Catherine, was pregnant with their fifth child. Dickens was more anxious than ever about his financial affairs. As viewers of the BBC's recent Little Dorrit will be all too aware, debt and the fear of financial disaster were never far from the great author's mind. His father, John, a clerk at the Navy pay office, lived beyond his means and was incarcerated in 1824 in the infamous Marshalsea debtors prison in London.

Dickens, who was just 12 at the time, was removed from his private school and was sent to work a ten-hour day at a shoe polish factory to help support his family. No wonder memories of his father's ordeal continued to haunt him, even at the height of his powers as a writer.

 

In many ways then, Dickens's Christmas book was a get-rich-quick scheme. But the author also had grander motives on his mind.

The idea for a Christmas morality tale came to Dickens after he visited the Field Lane Ragged School in London, where he witnessed the heartbreaking plight of poverty-stricken children - dozens of 'Tiny Tims' - and gave a speech to the Manchester Athenaeum, founded to bring culture and education to the 'labouring masses'.

Even if his priority was to make money for himself, he also believed his argument, spelled out in A Christmas Carol, that charitable goodwill should start with the individual.

Debt and the fear of financial disaster were never far from Dickens's mind, as viewers of the BBC's recent Little Dorrit will be all too aware

Debt and the fear of financial disaster were never far from Dickens's mind, as viewers of the BBC's recent Little Dorrit will be all too aware

'He was a passionate social reformer,' says Dickens expert Professor Donald Hawes. 'But money was never far from his thoughts because of his own childhood.'

Dickens began writing immediately and, as he always did when he was in the grip of inspiration, quickly. In early December, with the book finished, he told a friend he believed it could inspire good works - and sell well. His instincts were correct. The first 6,000 copies sold out within days after the book was published on 19 December, and it has been selling well ever since.

But A Christmas Carol's success is based on more than just its social message. It was soon inextricably bound up with a new idealised form of Christmas - one that has lasted to the present day.

Dickens's timing was uncannily perfect. He wrote the Carol at a time when Christmas was undergoing something of a revolution. In the first half of the 19th century, it had barely been celebrated by the industrial working classes and was generally accepted to be in decline.

Workers - just like Bob Cratchit - were lucky even to get Christmas Day as a holiday. But there were economic and social changes at work. A religious revival along with vast social reforms placed greater emphasis on the traditional virtues of neighbourliness, charity and goodwill.

Actor Patrick Stewart as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the TV version of A Christmas Carol

Actor Patrick Stewart as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the TV version of A Christmas Carol

Dickens seized upon the prevailing mood just as it was about to sweep the nation. In A Christmas Carol, he crystallised it in popular form and made it accessible to the reading public.

Historian John Pimlott says: 'It showed how Christmas ought to be kept. It stressed the duties without which the material things could not be fully enjoyed, and the special obligation which lay upon everybody to make sure that the children had a happy Christmas.'

At the same time, England was being infiltrated by new Christmas customs. In 1841, Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, erected the first Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, something that Dickens referred to as the 'pretty German toy'.

In 1843, the year the Carol was published, Sir Henry Cole, the first director of what would become the Victoria and Albert Museum, commissioned the very first Christmas card.

Printed in dark sepia, 1,000 copies were made of the card, which was divided into the panels. The outer two featured two acts of charity, 'feeding the hungry' and 'clothing the naked'. Between them was a picture of a jolly festive family party. It was a stark reminder of the obligations the rich had to the poor at Christmas.

So, the publication of A Christmas Carol played no small part in what was essentially a Christmas revolution. Unfortunately for Dickens, however, this success did not translate into financial gain.

He had insisted upon a quality product - crimson and gold binding, four full-page hand-coloured etchings, four wood cuts, a gilt design on the cover - as well as a low cover price so that the book would reach a wide audience. But, despite being a sell-out, the high production costs meant that his profit was much smaller than he'd hoped. Dickens complained that he had earned just £240 when he had hoped for £1,000.

Within months of the Carol's publication, Dickens had moved his ever-expanding family to a large house by the sea in Genoa in Italy to cut living costs. By October, however, his mind had returned to Christmas and the chance to make some easy money.

His next Christmas story, The Chimes, made him his longed-for £1,000.

More Christmas tales followed, along with many great novels, including Dombey And Son in 1848, David Copperfield in 1850, Little Dorrit in 1857 and Great Expectation in 1861.

By then he had ten children and was wealthy enough to buy a country pile, Gad's Hill Place, in Higham, Kent. But somehow it seemed as if the spectre of poverty never really left him. And neither did what he came to describe as his 'Carol Philosophy'.

In later life, Dickens described Christmas as 'a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.'

 

File:Francis Alexander - Charles Dickens 1842.jpeg

Charles Dickens in 1842

Christmas has always been considered part of the American spirit and tradition, essentially associated with the celebration of the birth of Christ, and Christmas trees around public buildings were considered part of that tradition.

In fact, Christmas, as scholar Karal Ann Marling puts it, is “America’s greatest holiday.” This is also the case in many European countries and indeed much of the Western world.[3]  Books such as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens were firmly planted in that tradition.

Furthermore, writers such as Dickens were either product of the Christian tradition or were Christians themselves who grew up in poverty.[4] Dickens in particular was responding to the social condition and injustice of poor children and had implicitly portrayed a Christian message in A Christmas Carol.[5]

Biographer Jane Smiley writes, “With power must come an inner sense of connection to others that, in Dickens’s life and work, comes from the model of Jesus Christ as benevolent Savior.”[6] Smiley continues,

“Love, kindness, forgiveness, benevolence, celebration, mercy, joy, charity, and innocence all had their source, for Dickens, in Christ and Christmas.”[7]

Dickens eventually revived the Christmas spirit and put it in its social context. The English priest Percy Deamer had this to say in 1926:

“A hundred years ago, Englishmen had almost forgotten about the Christmas spirit.  They thought only of being respectable and making money as much as they possibly could; and the poor were oppressed, and their old Christmas ways of beauty and goodwill were despised and forgotten. Then there arose a great man, Charles Dickens, who grew up in poverty and neglect, and who love the good heart of the poor; and he made all men understand that to be jolly and generous is to be Christian

 

Fascinating snapshot of Victorian street traders taken at the dawn of photography

         
  • The hard-hitting collection of London life in 1877 was taken by photography pioneer John Thomson
  • Was one of the first photo projects to focus on working-class people and not the aristocracy or landscapes

They are images of devastating poverty and life on London's streets that look like they come straight from the pages of a Charles Dickens book.

The collection, taken by pioneering photojournalist John Thomson in 1877, show what life was really like for thousands of Londoners in Victorian Britain.

Unlike most pictures taken at the time, they show the daily grind and backbreaking work undertaken by the capital's working-classes.

 

The faces of Victorian London: A 'temperance sweep' (left) featured in the Street Life in London book on auction at Dominic Winter Auctions, South Cerney, Gloucestershire The faces of Victorian London: A 'temperance sweep' (left) featured in the Street Life in London book on auction at Dominic Winter Auctions, South Cerney, Gloucestershire      

 

 

Faces of Victorian London: A 'temperance sweep' (left) and an elderly woman holding a baby, in a picture titled 'The Crawlers' (right), are part of the historical document

 

 

Street sellers: Covent Garden flower women (left) are some of the characters featured in the book on everyday life in 1877 Photograph showing 'Dealer in fancy ware' (jewelry, imitating gems and ornaments)      

 

 

Street sellers: Covent Garden flower women (left) and a 'dealer in fancy ware' with a wary-looking customer (right) are some of the characters featured in the book

Window into the past: Photograph pioneer John Thomson and journalist Adolphe Smith trawled the streets of London to take pictures such as this 'Water-Cart' for their book

Window into the past: Pioneer John Thomson and journalist Adolphe Smith trawled the streets of London to take pictures such as this 'Water-Cart' for their book

From road sweepers to flower sellers, the collection gives a fascinating snapshot into the past at the dawn of photography.

Thomson worked with radical journalist Adolphe Smith on the project, which was one of the first to concentrate on working-class people.

It features child labourers working on the streets of London, as well the back-breaking jobs of many people in the capital.

The hard-hitting collection, compiled into a book called Street Life In London, shows the grim reality of life for millions of poverty-stricken Londoners during the Victorian age.

The pioneering project came after the likes of Dickens and philanthropists such as Thomas Barnado began highlighting the conditions in the inner cities.

Like scenes from Oliver Twist, Thomson's pictures show barefoot children fending for themselves in the capital.

His depictions of extreme poverty in classics such as Our Mutual Friend are also shown in the heartbreaking images, such as the ill woman cradling a baby on the streets.

 

Historic rarity: The book of photographs, such as 'Carey the Clown' (right) and 'Public disinfectors' (left), is up for auction in Gloucestershire Historic rarity: The book of photographs, such as 'Carey the Clown' (right)      

 

 

Historic rarity: The book, which includes photographs titled 'Public Disinfectors' (left) and 'Carey The Clown' (right), is up for auction in Gloucestershire

Forgotten treasures: The book is filled with scenes such as this one of 'November effigies' for Bonfire Night

Forgotten treasures: 'November Effigies' shows an impressive-looking monster headed for the flames on Bonfire Night

 

Child labour: The book shows children at work - a common sight in Victorian London. Pictured right is a boot shiner, called an 'independent shoe black' Child labour: The book shows children at work - a common sight in Victorian London. Pictured right is a boot shiner, called an 'independent shoe black'      

 

 

Child labour: The book shows children at work on the streets of London, including an 'independent shoe black' (left) and 'Italian street musicians' (right)

Forgotten trades: Two men sit in the sunshine as they try to hire out donkeys for rides on Clapham Common

Donkey ride, anyone? Two likely looking entrepreneurs sit in the sunshine as they try to hire out novelty rides on Clapham Common

 

Extreme poverty: Some of images show people such as the 'London Nomades' (left) living in shocking conditions Extreme poverty: Some of images show people such as the 'London Nomades' (left) living in shocking conditions      

 

 

Extreme poverty: Some of images in Street Life In London (pictured right) show people such as the 'London Nomades' (left) living in shocking conditions

Thomson took the 36 photographs between 1877 and 1878 and published them in a monthly serial over 12 parts.

They were then printed in Street Life in London, with the work regarded as being hugely important for its use of photography as social documentation.

The book is going under the hammer on Thursday at Gloucestershire auctioneers Dominic Winter and is expected to sell for between £4,000 and £6,000.

John Trevers, a valuer and auctioneer at Dominic Winter, said: 'The book is famous in the sense it is one of the first social documentations shown in photographs.

Stunning slideshow of Street Life in London images

Street trades: A 'dramatic shoe black' waits for customers in this image that features in Thomson's book

'Dramatic Shoe Black': The reason for the title of this photograph may have diluted over the years, as there doesn't seem to be much 'drama' going on (but their shoes DO look clean)

 

Everyday London life: Workmen put up advertising posters (left) including one for Madame Tussauds and Recruiting Sergeants relax outside a pub (right)      

 

 

Everyday London life: Workmen put up advertising posters (left), including one for Madame Tussauds, while recruiting sergeants relax outside a pub (right)

Bizarre: A 'street doctor', dressed in massive platform shoes and a large top hat, plies his wares on the streets with a sign reading: 'Prevention Better Than Cure'

Cough sweets: A 'street doctor', wearing a corrective shoe and a large top hat, plies his wares on the streets with a sign reading 'Prevention Better Than Cure'

 

Scenes of relaxation: Three men drink from tankards outside a pub and a group are shown sitting (right) under the caption 'Hookey Alf of Whitechapel'      

 

 

Scenes of relaxation: Three men drink from tankards outside a pub (left), and a group are shown sitting under the caption 'Hookey Alf Of Whitechapel' (right)

 

Traders: A trio of 'Mush-Fakers [umbrella makers] and ginger-beers' (left) and the street locksmith (right)      

 

 

Traders: A trio of 'Mush-Fakers [umbrella sellers and makers] And Ginger-Beers' (left) and the street locksmith (right)

'Rather than photographs of the Royal Family or of pretty parks, this is real people at the bottom of society.

'It was around the same period as Charles Dickens was exposing the underclass and it must have been shocking to see the photographs at the time.

'One of the photographs shows a lady who looks very ill, she was dying.

'It really shows a grim London life and must have been very hard-hitting, this is a very important book.'

 

Changing times: 'Cast-Iron Billy' (an omnibus driver, holding whip) Changing times: London cabmen wait for customers (right) and 'Cast-Iron Billy' (an omnibus driver, holding whip)      

 

 

'You'll never guess who I had in my cab last night': Omnibus driver 'Cast-Iron Billy' (left, holding whip) chats to a friend, while London cabmen wait for customers (right)

Costermonger: John Walker, a licensed hawker known as 'Black Jack', who made his living by buying goods for wholesale prices and selling it for more

Costermonger: John Walker, a licensed hawker known as 'Black Jack', who made his living by buying goods for wholesale prices and selling it for more

 

Past times: 'The London Boardmen' (left) were jeered at in the street for being walking advertisements Photograph showing 'An old clothes shop,      

 

 

Making a living: 'The London Boardmen' (left), who were jeered at in the street for being walking advertisements, and women working in a clothes shop (right)

'A convicts home': Former policeman Mr Bayliss (left) ran a home for released prisoners. He is seen talking to Indian drummer Ramo Sammy, known as the 'tam-tam man'

'A convicts home': Former policeman Mr Bayliss (left) ran a home for released prisoners. He is seen talking to Indian drummer Ramo Sammy, known as the 'tam-tam man'

 

For sale: A fishmonger (left) talks to customers at his stall and youngsters enjoy ice-creams from an Italian vendor (right)      

 

 

For sale: A fishmonger (left) talks to customers at his stall and youngsters enjoy ice-creams from an Italian vendor (right)

John Thomson made his name as one of the first photographers to travel to the Far East where he documented the people, landscapes and artifacts of eastern cultures.

He returned to the UK 1872 and moved to Brixton to live with his family where he published his photojournalism.

It was on his return he started documenting Victorian London. He later returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh until his death from a heart attack in 1821 at the age of 84.

Refuse collectors: These 'flying dustmen' collected rubbish and dust from across the capital in their horse-drawn characters

Refuse collectors: These 'flying dustmen' collected rubbish and dust from across the capital in their horse-drawn wagon

Day in the park: A nanny and a child pose for a picture on Clapham Common and in the centre of the picture if the photographer's portable darkroom

Day in the park: A nanny and a child pose for a picture on Clapham Common. The odd-looking contraption in the centre of the picture is a portable darkroom

Victorian street food: A shellfish vendor is surrounded by customers interested in trying his wares

Victorian street food: A shellfish vendor is surrounded by customers interested in trying his wares

 

Window into the past: Boatmen on the River Thames (left) who were known to work on the 'silent highway' and 'Covent garden labourers' (right)      

 

 

By water or on land: Boatmen on the River Thames (left) who were known to work on the 'silent highway', and a picture titled 'Covent Garden Labourers' (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
   

Pictures of times past: Forgotten photographs give a rare and fascinating insight into 19th Century city life in Britain from Newcastle stumbled on an amazing treasure trove of street photographs which capture the city's Victorian residents going about their daily lives.

Aaron Guy, who works at Newcastle's Mining Institute, discovered the 300-image collection of early glass negatives after peering into a long-forgotten box.

He was moving some old furniture for the Society of Antiquaries when the innocuous container caught his eye.

Children gathered outside of the station hotel, Neville street watching a performance.

Children gathered outside of the station hotel, Neville street watching a performance.

Women's work: Two Newcastle matrons pass the time over some knitting by the city's Quayside, while children loiter nearby

Women's work: Two Newcastle matrons pass the time over some knitting by the city's Quayside, while children loiter nearby. Mr Guy explained: 'The society were moving to a smaller building and were passing some of their belongings to other organisations.

'I was just being nosy really, peering into boxes, when I happened to spot that one contained some really old glass negatives. I thought they seemed interesting so we asked for permission to bring the plate boxes back to our office to have a proper look.' Further inspection revealed a whole raft of lively, high-quality images of everyday street life, dating from at least 1880. The shots feature a ragtag collection of ordinary North Easterners, and were taken at locations such as meat markets, fairs, and tiny corner shops. Experts believe at least a third of the pictures were created by the same photographer, and while many of them depict life in Newcastle, the cache also includes scenes from nearby Tynemouth and Lindisfarne.



Scouting the wares: A young girl examines the window display of a city shop selling fresh veg, sunlight soap and sweets

Scouting the wares: A young girl examines the window display of a city shop selling fresh veg, sunlight soap and sweets

Making their own fun: Children skip and play around a lamp post

Making their own fun: Children skip and play around a lamp post

Maritime legacy: Onlookers wait for the launch of a ship in Tyneside

Maritime legacy: Onlookers wait for the launch of a ship in Tyneside

While early photography was largely the preserve of the rich, this unknown photographer went out of his or her way to document the lives of the working classes.

The decision is all the more interesting because Newcastle was a thriving industrial centre by the 1880s, with no shortage of prominent people to photograph.

The city was also home to industrialist Joseph Swan, who in 1871 devised a method of producing dry photographic plates which removed the need for a dark room and made photography more commercially viable.

Up it goes! A doughty competitor tests his strength at the Temperance festival on the Town Moor, Newcastle

Up it goes! A doughty competitor tests his strength at the Temperance festival on the Town Moor, Newcastle

A little girl looses her hat, while men in bowlers listen to a speech at the Temperance Festival on the Town Moor, Newcastle

A little girl looses her hat, while men in bowlers listen to a speech at the Temperance Festival on the Town Moor, Newcastle

Starting young: A little girl selling cordial with meat sellers at either Paddy's Market or Bigg Market, Newcastle

Starting young: A little girl selling cordial with meat sellers at either Paddy's Market or Bigg Market, Newcastle

Pondering the collection's origins, Mr Guy said: 'We know very little about where these negatives have come from.

'They were never catalogued and the society doesn't recall how or when it came by them.

'We aren't even completely sure whether they are one photographer's archive, or if they were produced by several individuals.

'Photography would have been a very expensive hobby at that time, but this person was shooting in a very contemporary way.

'Despite the cumbersome equipment he would have been using – a large plate camera, probably on a tripod – I would describe this as observational documentary, almost photojournalistic in style.

'The work doesn't look staged, but if it was then the photographer was doing things very differently from his contemporaries. This work feels less distant and more engaged than other series I have seen.

'It may have been someone with means, or a commercial photographer with quite a distinctive viewpoint, who decided that Joe Bloggs on the street was more interesting to photograph in his spare time than the high society of Newcastle.

'He was really quite ahead of his time in that respect.'

Earning a crust: A young peanut seller captured at work

Earning a crust: A young peanut seller captured at work

Catching 40 winks: A man makes time for a nap in what was then the centre of Newcastle

Catching 40 winks: A man makes time for a nap in what was then the centre of Newcastle

The Society of Antiquaries is now carrying out research work in connection with the pictures, in the hope of figuring out where they were shot, and by whom.

It is also keen to trace another 15 boxes of plates which the Society sent elsewhere.

Mr Guy hopes the city of Newcastle will soon be able to share this insight into its history.

'I was really quite lucky to find this box,' he said. 'I don't know if someone forgot it or planned to pick it up later. The aim now is to date and catalogue the work, and then to put it out to other organisations in the city and hopefully get it seen, because it really belongs to the people of Newcastle.'

Having a chin-wag: Women chat outside caravans stationed at the city's Town Moor

Having a chin-wag: Women chat outside caravans stationed at the city's Town Moor

The Mountain Nymph Sweet Liberty June 1866: Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography

The Mountain Nymph Sweet Liberty June 1866: Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography

Philip Stanhope Worsley: An Oxford-educated poet who translated the Odyssey and part of the Iliad into Spenserian verse, Worsley died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty. Cameron¿s portrait was made the year of his death

Philip Stanhope Worsley: An Oxford-educated poet who translated the Odyssey and part of the Iliad into Spenserian verse, Worsley died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty. Cameron¿s portrait was made the year of his death

Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Julia Margaret Cameron lived next door to the poet laureate on the Isle of Wight. It took three years of pleading before Cameron convinced Tennyson (who jokingly referred to her models as 'victims') to sit for his portrait

Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Julia Margaret Cameron lived next door to the poet laureate on the Isle of Wight. It took three years of pleading before Cameron convinced Tennyson (who jokingly referred to her models as 'victims') to sit for his portrait

Zoe, Maid of Athens: Here Cameron photographed May Prinsep, her sister's adopted daughter. By allowing Prinsep's slight movement and by intentionally softening the focus, Cameron instilled a sense of breath and soul in this living apparition

Zoe, Maid of Athens: Here Cameron photographed May Prinsep, her sister's adopted daughter. By allowing Prinsep's slight movement and by intentionally softening the focus, Cameron instilled a sense of breath and soul in this living apparition

Kate Keown: In spring and summer 1866, having purchased a new, larger camera capable of making twelve-by-fifteen-inch negatives, Cameron produced a series of twelve life-sized heads.

Kate Keown: In spring and summer 1866, having purchased a new, larger camera capable of making twelve-by-fifteen-inch negatives, Cameron produced a series of twelve life-sized heads.

Christabel: Coleridge's unfinished poem 'Christabel' (1816) tells the story of a young woman debased by sorcery. A dark poem, full of rolling fog and lesbian innuendo, 'Christabel' was the kind of tale that appealed to the Victorian palate

Christabel: Coleridge's unfinished poem 'Christabel' (1816) tells the story of a young woman debased by sorcery. A dark poem, full of rolling fog and lesbian innuendo, 'Christabel' was the kind of tale that appealed to the Victorian palate

A Study: This image, also titled After Perugino / The Annunciation, is one of more than 130 religiously themed images inspired by Cameron¿s deep Christian devotion and her artistic admiration of Italian painting of the early Renaissance

A Study: This image, also titled After Perugino / The Annunciation, is one of more than 130 religiously themed images inspired by Cameron¿s deep Christian devotion and her artistic admiration of Italian painting of the early Renaissance

Mrs. Herbert Duckworth: The success of this portrait of Julia Jackson, lies partly in its subject¿s actual beauty and partly in the way the photographer modeled it to suggest Christian and classical ideals of purity, strength, and grace

Mrs. Herbert Duckworth: The success of this portrait of Julia Jackson, lies partly in its subject¿s actual beauty and partly in the way the photographer modeled it to suggest Christian and classical ideals of purity, strength, and grace

Sir John Herschel: Sir John Herschel (1792¿1871) was Victorian England¿s preeminent scientist, astronomer, and mathematician, considered the equal of Sir Isaac Newton. Cameron met him in 1836 in Capetown, South Africa

Sir John Herschel: Sir John Herschel (1792¿1871) was Victorian England¿s preeminent scientist, astronomer, and mathematician, considered the equal of Sir Isaac Newton. Cameron met him in 1836 in Capetown, South Africa

 

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