A new series of images from Victorian Britain have been digitally coloured and updated to show how technology has transformed some jobs even while the day-to-day role remains the same.

The photos have been published by computer giant Dell and show remastered images of professions including a taxi driver, messenger, nurse and photographer alongside their modern-day counterparts.

The photos were sourced from the Museum of London and Alamy.

Historic images restored for modern setting
(Dell)

 

The juxtaposition is made by showing the images on Dell’s newest laptop, the XPS 13 2-in-1.

The remastered photos were the work of colourist Matt Loughrey, who spent six days digitally restoring the black and white photos in full colour so they would blend with modern backdrop.

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On the photos, which were all taken between 1870 and 1920, Loughrey said: “What struck me is how similar we are to these people, even after 100 years.

“Seeing them side by side shows, in a way, that nothing has changed – behind the transformation that technology has brought to the roles, the people have the same aspirations, family lives and routines as us.”

The restoration work was done on a tablet using specialist software that is able to identify colour within black and white images.

Nurse with image of Victorian equivalent
(Dell)

 

“I source the colours accurately using an algorithm that matches monochrome shades to their colour equivalents in red, green and blue hues,” he said.

“It’s a painstaking process but endlessly rewarding because other people get the same out of the final photograph as I do when they look at it – a chance for self-reflection and connection with people from centuries ago.”

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Historian Kate Williams said: “What these images show is how technology changed these roles at different paces.

“Many people will be surprised to know that by 1900, when the first ‘point-and-shoot’ camera came to market revolutionising the way photographers worked, the abacus was still being used in the classroom! The calculator was an invention of 1967 so students had to rely on textbooks and their teacher for assurance of more complex arithmetic”.

A historic photograph of a teacher with a modern day version
(Dell)

 

“The twentieth century also saw huge changes for the role of the nurse.

“At the time the picture was taken in 1900, nursing was only just being seen as a profession thanks to Florence Nightingale – but even then most of the work was domestic – cleaning and rolling bandages – as the technical side of medical care was performed by doctors.”

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