The ladder motifs are instruments of humour, composition or a 'certain significance'. You will have to search hard to find the ladders in some of these pictures.
Richard’s memories of Bradford when he was a child are tinged with a lovely humour. But the man lighting the street lamp, perched on his ladder is an accurate bit of history.
This is similar to Cleaning the Crucifix painted the same year. In this picture the empty ladder and the shroud left over the head of Christ to await Easter and the portentous landscape behind all combine to create an emotional response. The jagged course of the mountain stream is reminiscent of the lightning rending the Curtain of the Temple as Christ gave up the ghost.