This amusing photograph shows two local men, probably rural labourers, messing about by old stocks in Sutton Coldfield. It was taken during the 1890s by Sir John Benjamin Stone for the Warwickshire Photographic Survey. Stone was a notable photographer as well as Member of Parliament for the borough.
I like this view as it contrasts strikingly with the modern suburb. The idyllically slow pace of life such images conveyed invariably glossed over the tough living and working conditions that were the lot of many rural folk, creating an idealised view of this vanishing world for posterity.
I was intrigued by the photograph because it shows machinery used to punish criminals had become a relic of history, providing amusement to local people whose lives would in turn be affected by modernisation as nearby Birmingham expanded. The ancient stocks are different to others I have seen, designed with wheels so the guilty could be clamped by the legs and paraded through the streets!