The above photograph, specifically set up by the photographer, shows Frances Midwood Erlis (nee Walter), pictured in a street in Toxteth with a group of the local children. Frances is the older lady standing on the back row holding a small child, near to the centre of the window. Frances was born with the surname Walter in 1880 in Liverpool. She married her husband Thomas Erlis, on 5th August 1901 in St Gabriel's church, Toxteth Park. The couple went on to have 10 children together.
At least three of the youngsters pictured in the photo can be said to be members of the Erlis family, identified from other photographs we have of them in our possession.
Someone has written on the base of the picture 'Kids of Gaskell Street'. Gaskell Street was situated between Park Road and Mill Street in Toxteth, just north of Essex Street. The couple's home was near Hughson Street where I lived with my own grandparents in my formative years (see map below).
There is no date on the photograph of the children itself, but we can estimate that it was taken at some point during the mid-1930's, just prior to the second world war breaking out in 1939.
Following the outbreak of the war, the Erlis family were living at their home in number 12 Gaskell Street. This property was damaged after it sustained a direct hit from a German bomb on the 6th May 1941, and Mrs Erlis lost both her legs during the attack. She was to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair until she finally passed away in 1950.
Tragically, their daughter Lilian Midwood Erlis (b.1923) was killed during the same air-raid. She was just 18 years of age at the time. Lilian is pictured in the above photograph standing on the back row of the children, second girl from the left.
Further details of Lilian's story can be found on a separate post <here>.