The scene is little changed today – although the boat house has been replaced by an impressive modern cafe?.
I need a clothing expert to date these three photographs. My suspicion is that they are late 1890s/early 1900s but they could be earlier. The December of 1890 was the coldest on record until this month, so possibly the photographer was recording that severe winter. The lake is well and truly frozen over – with no Health and Safety worries for the dozens of skaters taking advantage. (I particularly like the photograph of the young girls letting their hair down).
Clearly, from the warm outfits, this was mainly a middle-class day out. It is shocking to think that there were thousands of children walking around with bare feet only a few miles away but Liverpool really was a tale of two cities.
New Brighton 1889
Sefton Park 1889
While sorting out my lantern slides for further pictures of the Dingle to follow on from yesterday’s post, I noticed that the Sefton Park slide was dated February 11th, 1889. A few days too late for its anniversary, perhaps, but worth remembering that they had hard winters back then (and coped with them a lot better). The two photographs were both taken by N. Stephen, who also photographed the children carrying beer mugs in an earlier post. I have had difficulty pinpointing any real details about Stephen. The only match in Gore’s Directory (1910) is of a Nathan Stephen of 22 Russian Drive, Stoneycroft. Stephen is listed as a County Court officer, so was presumably relatively well-paid. Hand-held cameras had just been introduced in the late 1880s, so Stephen was an early proponent. The advent of hand-held cameras and roll film were to democratise photography. Even so, it still wasn’t a cheap hobby and it would take a further ten years or more before it became a truly mass medium.
If anyone has more information on Stephen, I would be grateful. It is good to give credit when due, however belatedly.