ADVERTISING hoardings are common place on roadsides and other places to be seen.
The aim being to attract potential customers to purchase whatever product is being plied. Newspapers, leaflets and, of course, social media provide other platforms for people to attract attention to their businesses so it is interesting to look back and see how this process would have been played out in bygone times.
'Victorian Street Life through the Magic Lantern' is the perfect tome for readers who want to take a trip down memory lane; filled with 40 black and white photographs of bygone street scenes, the book provides an educational insight into how street sellers plied their trade.
The book's author, Andrew Gill, began collecting original Victorian and Edwardian photographs, mostly glass, 'Magic Lantern' projection slides more than 40 years ago.
He explains how Magic Lantern was the predecessor of the pre-digital slide projector, the first magic lanterns were created in the mid-1600s by natural philosophers exploring the nature and commercial potential of optics.
Andrew explains throughout the 1700s and 1800s light sources improved making it possible to show bigger, brighter and clearer pictures to larger audiences.
During Queen Victoria's reign, magic lantern shows became established as mass-media entertainment. Multiple lanterns could create special effects and some slides even gave the illusion of movement.
Created from glass, earlier magic lantern slides were hand painted. From the 1800s photographic images were applied to slides leading to mass production.
Andrew's chapters on focusing on street life and people we meet sets the scene of an interesting period of time when people, keen to advertise their profession, took to the streets and by doing so injected colour and character in communities which thrived and survived with far less than today's society.
Readers will meet the likes to the 'knocker-up' who would rise from his slumber before the sound of the factory bells to make sure the workers were up and ready for the working day.
Another refreshing photograph shows the milk boy doing his doorstep deliveries; the butcher's boy, armed with a basket of meat to deliver to his customers.
Literally putting their best foot forward is a boot and shoe company which appears to have been based in Hull. The intriguing photograph shows the driver riding along in a boot on a horse-pulled cart - certainly an eye-catching advertisement.
The Sandwich Man was literally a walking advertisement. Interestingly, this particular photo was taken in Bradford where the flat-capped seller is captured standing inside what appears to be a double sandwich board advertising Hepworth & Sons Clothing at 37 Market Street, Bradford.
There were shoe shiners and wax lighters who sold smokers requisites; tinkers with bric-a-brac to sell amidst a street scene far busier with visible skill and graft - take the photograph of the stone masons for instance and the stone breakers, breaking up large lumps of quartz-like stone into smaller pieces to repair macadamised roads- embroiled in physically challenging professions.
Two women swathed in shawls and long skirts armed with baskets of fruit pose for the picture as they peddle their citrus wares along the pavements where the 'Fruit Women' would spend long days with shifts starting early morning and lasting late into the night.
Sparks would certainly fly as the Knife Grinder wiles away the working hours on his big wheel sharpening bladed cutlery
Gas inspectors and cab drivers - pulling their passengers in a horse and carriage - organ grinders and flower sellers also grace the pages of this wonderful book where we also meet the Bill Poster. Drawing similarities to the more modern types of advertising hoardings, the Bill Poster goes about his business pasting up information about everybody else's in an eye-catching way to attract attention.
'Victorian Street Life through the Magic Lantern' is available on Amazon as printed and e-books priced at £4.99 and £2.99 respectively.