Here is another photograph of Lime Street, presumably taken by the same photographer but from a vantage point closer to St George’s Hall.
The year is 1931 judging by the two films showing at the Scala and Palais de Luxe. Tom Sawyer, starring the child actor Jackie Coogan, was released in 1930 and Potiphar’s Wife, Laurence Olivier’s third film, in 1931. The Futurist (next to the Scala) appears to be offering Viennese Nights – a musical and the first film to be shot entirely in Technicolor – was another 1930 film which enjoyed a long box office life, although little critical success.
The photograph shows a calm street scene but this was exactly 80 years ago and the Great Depression was at its height, following the disastrous Wall Street Crash of 1929. The country was in economic turmoil and it is interesting to read a piece I lifted from Wikipedia:
Under pressure from its Liberal allies as well as the Conservative opposition, the Labour government appointed a committee to review the state of public finances. The May Report of July 1931 urged public sector wage cuts and large cuts in public spending (notably in benefit payments to the unemployed) to avoid incurring a budget deficit. This proposal proved deeply unpopular within the Labour Party and among its main supporters, the trade unions, which along with several government ministers refused to support any such measures. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Snowden, insisted that the Report’s recommendations be adopted to avoid incurring a budget deficit. In a memorandum in January 1930, one junior government minister, Oswald Mosley, proposed that the government should take control of banking and exports, as well as increase pensions to boost purchasing power. When his ideas were turned down, he resigned. He soon left Labour to form the New Party, and later the British Union of Fascists.
Fascinating how we fail to learn the lessons of history. Unemployment in 1931 reached 25% and the decade that followed 1931 led down a very dark tunnel – what will happen here in the next ten years?

Lime Street, 1931

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