The advertisements have only come to light as the back catalogue of newspapers, which dates back to the 17th Century, is being digitised.
Debra Chatfield, spokesman for the British Newspaper Archive, said: “So many people at the moment are struggling under financial pressure, and with Christmas around the corner, families are panicking about how they are going to pay for Christmas.
“The same was true in Edwardian Britain.
“We can see that front pages and entire newspaper columns were dominated by advertisements for quick cash to help broke Edwardians to pay for Christmas and it seems that turning to instant payday loan companies for an extra bit of help is not just a 21st century phenomenon.”
In 1912 the loans were portrayed as “a departure from loan office routine and humbug” and requiring nothing more than “your own written promise to pay.” Some providers claimed their terms were “impossible to improve upon” and “a boon to would-be borrowers”, while others tried to entice borrowers with “reduced rates on all loans between now and Christmas.”
“The loans must have seemed like a lifeline to cash-strapped families,” said a spokesperson for loans broker, PaydayAdvances.net “With the kind of poverty that existed in Edwardian Britain, it’s not hard to imagine that being able to find extra money at Christmas could have meant the difference between presents, food and fuel to keep warm or nothing at all.”
A lot of people believe that payday loans are a recent phenomenon, but according to PaydayAdvances.net nothing is further from the truth. “People have been short term loans (http://www.paydayadvances.net/
“The Edwardian loans differ in one important respect to the modern Payday loans though. They encourage the ordinary man to put themselves into debt pay for food and fuel, whereas modern Payday loans are not intended to be used for this purpose. They are intended to cover short-term financial emergencies only.
“Also under the new Good Customer Practice Charter which came into force in November, borrowers’ financial affordability is checked and assessed against their ability to pay the loan back. The vintage advertisements of suggest borrowers simply promised to pay the money back with no checks of any kind.”
“In this respect, modern Payday loans are far better than their Edwardian equivalents.”