I am always very careful when making judgments about old photographs. What might seem obvious can often turn out to be nothing of the kind on closer examination. Today’s two photographs are a good example. If one only has one photo to examine, the conclusion is that here is a very sad scenario of a tired bootblack grabbing a few minutes sleep outside St George’s Hall. Put the two photographs together and you realise they are both staged for dramatic effect. Of course the boy probably is a bootblack but the photographer has probably paid him a few pennies to pose for dramatic effect. A more fanciful (and totally unlikely) explanation is that the photos are cunning product placements for Martindales, an old Liverpool company that once dealt in coal and associated products but are now central heating engineers.

Product placement 1910 style

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