This walkie has really stumped me. It’s from a walkie strip, three consecutive images in sequence on a postcard, but the other frames have been cut off. These type of cards were printed in Britain during the late 1920s but this doesn’t look very British. That it was likely taken abroad comes from some very hard to decipher writing on the back, and the names I assume of the two young girls, J and F Ginjn, a surname which gets hardly any hits on the web. I tried it with a Polish friend but he said it wasn’t from there. He had a thought that it might be Hungary but if anyone can help do please get in touch. The girls are wearing quite distinctive knitted headwear, matching coats, patterned socks and some sort of decorative tied knot round the top of the coat. It looks like the girls are in a muncipal park and there’s a kiosk in the background. They certainly look very smart and quite pleased to be having their picture taken. I found it at a local fair recently, so perhaps the family came here later in life, maybe to escape the war?
Although Sunbeam were the premier walkie company in Margate, other firms did take photographs in the town and surrounding area. “Holiday Snaps” were one such business, based in Charlotte Place in Margate before WW2. They were certainly taking walking pictures in the early 1930s but like other firms, they did static portraits in the street as well. I found this example recently, taken on one of the bridges across the beach access routes.
It seems to be Mum and Dad, with their three sons, plus perhaps the children’s Gran and a family friend. It looks as if the photographer was based on the bridge, that’s probably the Holiday Snaps board just peeping into the left of the shot. What made the portrait for me though was the mongrel, which has strayed into shot, turned it’s back to the camera and raised it’s tail!
Paul Godfrey, a fellow seaside photography enthusiast, has just published a booklet about some of the photographers operating out of the small town of Gorleston on Sea, just the other side of the river which separates it from Great Yarmouth on the East Coast in Norfolk. Paul has an extra interest in this part of the world as he has family connections with one of the walkie firms in the area. “Snapped At Gorleston On Sea” is unashamedly aimed at quite a niche audience but nevertheless is packed with information on the two main firms who worked in the town – Barkers and Jackson’s Faces – as well as the busy holiday camp firm Hastings. The book gives a detailed history of each firm, and also includes details of photographers, equipment and other technical information. Paul has managed to speak to a few people involved in the trade which gives some nice personal details on how busy the staff could be.
The book is self published (A5, b/w, 50 pages) and being sold locally, but you can contact Paul via walkiephotos at yahoo.co.uk (substitute the @ symbol) for details should you want to purchase by mail-order.
I was able to visit Paul recently for the first time, and spend an entire afternoon chatting about these photographs. I appreciate his help on all sorts of details over the years. He was able to identify a few more walkies from my collection which is always a help.
I do have a few images from Gorleston awaiting scanning, but in the meantime here is a nice card from Jackson’s Faces (who worked both towns for many years). Undated but probably early 1930s, the two women (mother and daughter by the look of it) are walking along Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth, with the Royal Hotel in the background (still open). The younger woman is carrying her handbag and a box camera of some sort. Cards by Jackson’s are often very good quality and this image is very sharp indeed. Unusually the card does not have any reference number on it.
You can read more about one of the firms, Barkers, on this site.
Les Walker has kindly scanned me a number of Bridlington walkies. For many years Les’s family used to own the amusement arcade next door to the Snaps building (as well as similar arcades in neighbouring resorts), where Bridlington’s longest running walking picture firm was based. What is interesting is that Les recalls even though they were residents of the town, they still liked to buy the walkies whenever they could. Money was particularly tight in the years after WW2 but this was one luxury they tried to afford even then.
This is one of Les’s collection, showing his relative Robert Lenthall and daughters. It was taken on Bridlington’s south side, just below the Monarch hotel near the Spa (the view has changed little though the hotel is now apartments). Les thinks it would be around 1960. Robert looks very smartly dressed – you wouldn’t see many gents walking there now looking like this, and the two girls have nice patterned summer frocks with jackets. Both have managed to get an ice-cream too by the looks of it which probably accounts for their cheery smiles!
There is more about the walking picture firm of Snaps in Bridlington on the site.
While this site is about the walking picture images, many other types of portrait were available to the day-trippers at the coast in the 1920s and 1930s. Having your child photographed atop a donkey was more popular than you might imagine, and I have a gallery of half a dozen of these images on the easy on the eye site if you want to read a bit more. The photograph here was taken on Blackpool Pleasure Beach on September 20th 1928. I don’t know who the little girl is.
Given the current heatwave, I thought it would be appropriate to post these two walkies from the thirties which show us what every well dressed man and woman was wearing in the high summer back then.
Our two women, Doris and Betty Petch, looked like sisters at first glance but I suspect they’re actually a hip mother and her daughter, both in halter-neck outfits of the thirties. Mum has what looks like a hand-knitted cardigan over her arm and the more sensible shoes. Both seem to have some sort of clutch bag.
The photograph (ref: WP200) was taken in 1937 “on holiday” in Margate. It looks like they were on some sort of bridge but searching around old photos of the area this turns out to be Margate Jetty which ran out at the side of the harbour wall. You can also see a steam ship chimney on the right and pleasure boats left from the pier head.
I’m not sure if it’s a Sunbeam photograph, as the reference number is done by hand. My thanks to Valerie Gibson for the loan.
The two unknown gentleman, photographed strolling along Margate seafront (WP141), look like they’re off for a game of beach ball. Loose belted trousers with turn-ups and open necked shirts are the order of the day, along with white sports shoes. This one is a Sunbeam card, taken in Margate, and has the automatic numbering common to many of their negatives. It’s a really good example of how shallow the depth of field was which suggests a wide aperture. The cameraman has got the focus pin-sharp.
Note too the very lopsided way the print has been cut out, not a 90degree angle anywhere!
You can read more about Sunbeam on the site.