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Street Life in London by Adolphe Smith and John Thomson, 1878

MS. 23051 photogr. 39

Photographically-illustrated book containing Woodburytype prints of street life in London. The book contains lengthy descriptions of street life accompanied by photographs. Text written by Adolphe Smith; photographs by John Thomson.


  • Creation: 1878


1 item

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

This item is part of a partially-catalogued collection and access currently requires mediation via the archives team. Please send a message to with your request 5 working days in advance of your proposed visit.


MS. 23051 photogr. 39

Former reference:

Wilson Centre Accession Number: 84:0861; Wilson Centre Accession Number 2: TC 191

Biographical / Historical

Adolphe Smith Headingley was a left-wing political writer. He was a member of the First International, took part in the Paris Commune, and played a key role in organising the 1882 International Trades Union Congress.

John Thompson was a Scottish photographer and early social documentarist. He travelled to the far east to document the people, landscapes and artefacts of eastern cultures. Later, he photographed the people and streets of London, publishing the images in a monthly magazine, Street Life in London, with Adolphe Smith from 1876 to 1877. The project documented in photographs and text the lives of the street people of London, establishing social documentary photography as an early form of photojournalism.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from P.J. Mead UK, 20/09/1984

Physical Facet


Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom