'Workers on the Silent Highway', 1877.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph produced using the Woodburytype proces of two workers on the deck of a barge on the River Thames, taken from 'Street Life in London' (London, 1877) written by Adolphe Smith with photography by John Thomson (1837-1921). The aim of this book was stated as 'to bring before the public some account of the present condition of the London street folk, and to supply a series of faithful pictures of the people themselves'. It is one of the first examples of photography used as social documentary.