Astonishing amateur images which capture the fashion of women in London and Paris over a century ago

Street blogging may be considered to be a  modern phenomenon, but a series of images unearthed by Kensington and Chelsea  Libraries prove that the practice may date as far back as the early  1900’s.

The Library service has published several  wonderful images by the late amateur photographer Edward Linley Sambourne, who  was also the chief cartoonist for Punch, which give an amazing insight into the  street style of the woman of London and Paris over a century ago.

Sambourne’s beautiful street photography  captures the casual side of Edwardian fashion in a manner which is rarely  seen

London, Cromwell Road, 12th July 1905
London, Church Street, 8th September 1906

Taking a stroll: A young woman pictured in Cromwell  Road, London on July 12th 1905 in a stylish white shirt with a belt and an  ankle-length skirt while another woman, who Sambourne describes as a  ‘shopgirl’ walks along Kensington Church Street, on September 8th 1906

London, Kensington, 8th September 1906
London, 15th June 1908
London, 30th June 1908
Time warp: A female cyclist fiddles with her hat in  Kensington on September 8th 1906, a formally dressed woman in a white dress and  a black handbag walks along the street on June 15th 1908 and a woman wearing a  similar outfit strolls while engrossed in a book on June 30th 1908  (right)

In one image, which was taken in  Cromwell  Road , South Kensington in July 1906, a woman looks in the  direction of the  camera as she strolls along the street, dressed in an  ankle length plaid skirt,  matching jacket and a sophisticated hat.

In fact hats seems to be the most  popular  accessory of the woman pictured , and there is an eclectic mix  of straw  hats,  church hats and veiled hats amongst all of the  photographs.

However there is a distinct lack of  handbags, with less than half of the unnamed subjects opting to carry  what has  now become a major staple of modern fashion.

In another image, a woman is seen  walking  along the pavement in Kensington guiding a cycle with one arm  and rearranging  her enormous hat with the other.

London, Kensington, 4th July 1906
London, Cromwell Road, 1906

Two by two: Sambourne captures women holding books in  Kensington on July 4th 1906 and a two friends walking together on July 4th  1906

London, Cornwall Gardens, 20th February 1906
London, Cromwell Road, 1906

Back to black: A woman looks in the direction of the  camera as she strolls along the street, dressed in an ankle length plaid skirt,  matching jacket and a sophisticated hat in Cornwall Gardens on February 20th  1906, while a second woman, also dressed in a dark outfit takes a walk on the  same day

But perhaps the most modern image is  of a  young woman, who Sambourne describes as a ‘shop girl’, strolling  down  Kensington Church Street completely engrossed in a book.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the women of  Paris  are dressed slightly more stylishly than the Londoners with  parasols being a  common fixture.

While corsets and long, fitted dresses are  undoubtedly the style of choice, there are also some shorter, below the knee  styles on display.

Paris, 3rd June 1906
Paris, Tuileries Gardens, 4th June 1906
Paris, Place du Louvres, 4th June 1906

Parisian chic: These images were taken during  Sambourne’s trip to the French capital in 1906 and show women, men and young  children out and about

Paris, Helene du Bois, 4th June 1906
Paris, Helene du Bois, 4th June 1906
Paris, 5th June 1906

Stylish: Sambourne’s friend Helen du Bois is pictured  playing handball in a formal dress on June 4th 1906 and a  stylish woman walks up a concrete staircase in Paris on the following  day

The Parisian images were taken during  Sambourne’s trip to the French capital in 1906.

The cartoonist took up photography as an aid  to his art and took many fascinating images of Victorian/Edwardian  society.

His wife Marion wrote in her diary that  photography had become as much an obsession as a hobby.

Paris, 4th June 1906
Paris, Rue des Rivoli, 5th June 1906
Paris, Champs-Élysées, 3rd June 1906

Eclectic style: Two women, who are most likely in  mourning, dressed in black lace, another pair of women lead a young girl  down a staircase in Rue des Rivoli and a group of women holding parasols and  wearing eyecatching hats walk along the Champs-Élysées

Paris, Boulevard des Italiens, 5th June 1906
Paris, Steps to Rue de Rivoli, 3rd June 1906
Paris, 3rd June 1906

Street style:  A couple walk along the Boulevard  des Italien on June 5th 1906 (left), a group of women walk up the steps of the  Rue de Rivoli on June 3rd 1906 and two well-dressed women stand in the streets  of the French capital on the same day

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