Victorian Life in Photographs
Taken by John Thomson, a Scottish photographer, in 1877, the image on the left is titled ‘The Crawler’. ‘Crawlers’ were typically people so poverty-stricken that they didn’t even have the energy to beg. The destitute woman depicted is minding the baby of a friend with the hope of receiving a cup of tea and a piece of bread as payment, possibly the only nourishment she would have had all day. Although Thomson’s photograph is staged, the image is heart-breaking and there is no denying the desperation of the woman’s situation. The bedraggled group of boys on the right are awaiting admission to Dr Barnardo’s Home in about 1880. The lucky ones? Maybe.
[Photographs from Victorian Life in Photographs. The Crawler (left) and Barnado's Boys (right).]