What to Wear in 1906: A Street Fashion Photographer From Edwardian Engand

Over a century before The Sartorialist was stopping fashionable people to capture their unique sense of style, photographer Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) was documenting the street fashion of Edwardian England. Sambourne worked as chief cartoonist for the English magazine Punch, and as an illustrator. When he first picked up photography, it was to use as reference to improve upon his other arts, but soon it turned into an obsession.

(Above: Aug. 2, 1906 – Kensington Church Street)

July 12, 1905 – Cromwell Road
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 9

Captured on the streets around his house at 18 Stafford Terrace in Kensington, London (now a museum), these images reveal a world of fashion still strongly influenced by the last days of the Victorian era. Here fashionable women go about their day in long dresses, tight fitting corsets, and hats so large even a slight breeze could send them soaring.

Like the work of many street photographers today, Sambourne’s candid photographs are refreshingly free from stiff poses or fashion that wouldn’t make it off the runway. If you were to walk down a Kensington street between 1905 and 1907, these are truly the fashions you would see.

May 1906 – Kensington Church Street
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 2

July 3, 1906 – Kensington
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 3

Sept. 8, 1906 – Kensington Church Street
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 4

Sept. 8, 1906 – Kensington
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 5

Feb. 20, 1906 – Cornwall Gardens
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 6

1906 – Cromwell Road
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 8

July 4, 1906 – Kensington
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July 20, 1906 – Notting Hill Gate
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May 1907 – Cromwell Road
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June 27, 1906 – Kensington
Edward Linley Sambourne Street Fashion 19

June 26, 1906 – Kensington
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All images via Leighton House Museum & The Library Time Machine, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea & Mashable

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