I found these photos by the keen amateur photographer Edward Linley Sambourne, who was also the chief cartoonist for Punch magazine. They are early examples of candid street photography, using a hand-held camera. He was obviously interested in the fashions of the day, and as you can see, most women were still wearing corsets and very long dresses or skirts at the time.
A ‘modern’ young lady, stepping out. She appears to be full of confidence.
Described by the photographer as a ‘Common shop-girl’, this lady is reading a book as she walks along. Much like people looking at their phones today.
A ‘progressive’ lady walking with her bicycle. She would have been making something of a ‘statement’, in 1906.
This lady is carrying a ‘modern’ handbag. The forerunner of today’s familiar female handbags.
Another ‘handbag and book’ lady.
Two elegant friends walking together. They are also carrying books and one has a letter in her hand, ready to post it.
And two more doing the same.
Some ladies at the time favoured black, or dark clothing. Sometimes this was to indicate modesty, or they may have been in mourning. Here are two of them. The first lady appears to have spotted the photographer.
A well-to-do older couple exiting their carriage in Central London.
Women and children wandering in a London Park. The children were dressed in very similar clothes to the adults.
Can you imagine wearing so much clothing in high Summer?