I have deliberately avoided selecting photographs from well-known sources such as the City Engineer’s Collection in the Liverpool Record Office. Today’s selection does come courtesy of LRO but I hope I can add an additional dimension to what is my favourite photograph in the whole CE archive.
The role of the CE photographers was to document their department’s work. They did not see themselves as artists but they were skilled at using the plate cameras as well as being able to deal with the attention their presence would always attract. Setting up a camera would take enough time for all the kids in the neighbourhood to appear – it was an event and they wanted to be part of it. Fortunately for us, the CE photographers clearly realised that it was easier to humour the crowds and include them in the photograph rather than spend futile time chasing them away. As a result their earlier photographs (until the 1940s when they had largely switched to 35mm), are full of animation.
Why I specifically like the Netherfield Road photograph is because it has three distinct areas of interest.

What a fabulous image of Ms Barkers shop with the boys looking enviously at the sweets on display. Isolated from the main photograph, it stands up as a brilliant image in its own right.

Here we have those strange landings (leading to Everton Terrace at the back) with a group of children gathered to have their photos taken.

Finally, possibly the weakest image but fascinating, nevertheless, as another group stand watching the proceedings and a small boy follows his mate up to the first landing. How much do you want in one photograph!

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