Just another easy on the eye site


Bungalow Tea Rooms

WP563 Sunbeam Photo Margate, Cliftonville, Bungalow tearoom

This walkie is clearly a more organised affair than most. Probably the group of firends were approached on the walkway near-by in the usual way by the cameraman but arranged to have a full group shot all in a line, so needed space to sort themselves out before walking toward the camera. The location is easily recognisable by the ornate lattice cupola, which crops up in many walkies taken by Sunbeam in Margate.  This was in the grounds of The Bungalow Tea Rooms in the Cliftonville area, above Palm Bay.  Sunbeam seem to have had a kiosk in part of the building for a time too.  The grounds also had a small open air dance area just to the right of the photo. This rather nice postcard view below shows the complex in it’s heyday, and the walkie people were more or less exactly where the three children are playing in the postcard.  The only unanswered question of course is why “Bungalow”?  I’m guessing, but there does seem to be an older single storey building on the right which may have been the original bungalow prior to all the extensions. It was needless to say all demolished in the 1970s. There is more about Sunbeam on the site, and if you put Sunbeam into the search box on the right, several other cards will be shown.

Cliftonville-Bungalow-Tea-Room Margate Sunbeam walkies

The card was loaned to me by Ellen Ryan in America, along with others taken by the firm. Some will appear in the Going Home On A Postcard book. Thanks to Ellen for her help on this project.


Sunbeam donkey SEAS

I should have mentioned this on the site before but a recent email from them has prompted me to do so. The South East Archive of Seaside Photography (at Canterbury Christ Church University) is working to preserve and scan the remaining Sunbeam photo archive of some 7,000 images. These mostly seem to be commercial publicity images of local events in and around the Margate area, celebrities and news worthy happenings. (Indeed it does look very like a local newspaper archive. I’m a real sucker for this sort of stuff and they have some great images but it’s a little outside the remit of this site.) Walkies however were a part of the Sunbeam business (it would be interesting to know what proportion of their turnover), but few examples were ever kept (something they shared with most other walkie firms from what I can learn.) However by organising local exhibitions SEAS has managed to borrow and scan a lot from visitors. They are mounting another exhibition – BEYOND THE VIEW – REFRAMING THE SUNBEAM PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION – in July / August 2014 which promises to show off lots from the archive including walkies. This will be at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury University. No opening times given (they do have an email contact address) but sadly rather a long drive for me. Anyhow check out the SEAS website for lots more photos and details (I’ve also added SEAS to the link list on this site below right.) Thanks to Karen Shepherdson.
Perhaps Sunbeam’s real legacy will be the memorable and often surreal images which include the great props they used to tempt people into having their photo taken - at the top is just such a shot from their collection showing one of the seven or eight felt donkeys they had made!

Short history of Sunbeam on the site here and lots more examples if you hit the search button.

The family at Skeggy

Wrates walking picture. Brian Froggatt and family on Holiday, Skegness, 1948.

This good ensemble walkie is clearly from Skegness (the town name was printed into the postcard at the developing stage) and was loaned to me by Brian Froggatt who is the young lad on the left. It includes lots of his family from left to right; Joyce Green (his Aunt), Lily (his mother), Alice and Mary Green. The little girl is Vivienne Frogatt . They were all on the Grand Parade in 1948 on holiday from Sheffield. It’s a very typical Wrates walkie and they would start adding their name to the front of the card not long after this.

The history of the firm is on the site here and there are more Wrates images on the site if you use the search button down on the right hand column.

Seaside fun

Paul Godfrey, who has helped on this site and shares our interest in seaside photography, is helping with the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival, and presenting an illustrated talk on the local photographers who specialised in those comic cut-out boards where you put your head through and were photographed. It’s on at St Georges Theatre in the town on June 11th at 5.30. More details at the festival site www.greatyarmouthartsfestival.co.uk As well as this there will be cut-outs throughout the town and on the pier.  Sounds great fun!

Great Yarmouth Arts Festival

Shopping for the wedding?

Walfred photographic Skegness, Boston

Emily and Audrey

These two ladies are clearly on a mission, and the walkie photographer has missed the critical moment so they have just walked out of focus. They were shopping in Boston Market Place on a Saturday in 1948, and Audrey on the left (with the wicker shopping basket) would be married the following week. The walkie was taken by Walfred Photographic, who were based in near-by Skegness. Quite how they organised things to have the prints processed and available in Boston we don’t know but the firm has been added to our list of walkie companies. As for Audrey, she was one of the first customers for Walfred’s, as they only set up in 1948. She married on March 27th and her daughter Ruth Bishop let me borrow the photograph.

Yarmouth then and now

Lilian and Albert Robinson, Great Yarmouth, 1930. Cine Snaps

Although frustratingly the walkie cameramen appear never to have persuaded my parents to buy a print (despite me going to Bridlington on holidays for most of my childhood and beyond!), my paternal grandparents were less tight-fisted and purchased two walking picture ‘strips’ while on holiday in Great Yarmouth in 1930, both taken on the same day if two surviving frames, one from each strip, are anything to go by. My grand-dad Albert has what looks to be a paper bag of sweets, my grand-mother is dressed identically in both shots, with an overcoat slung over her arm, and the same clutch bag. She is walking next to her father, my Great grand-father. Lilian and Albert were still courting at this time, but married soon after.

The strips were taken by Barker’s Cine Snaps, and would originally have had three consecutive frames per sheet.  Perhaps they each took a frame? I wasn’t sure whereabouts these were taken but Paul Godfrey nipped up to Great Yarmouth to confirm one of them.

“It was taken from the forecourt of Pownall’s fishing tackle shop in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth. John Barker used the shop forecourt to take cine camera walkies in the early 1930s. I think that being private property council walking picture permits were not required. Apparently Pownall’s used the empty containers of 35mm film for lug worm bait!”

Using Paul’s present day photo I have been able to overlay the original walkie taken over 80 years ago, and the match is almost perfect. Sadly the present day shop fronts lack the elegance of those pre-war days but perhaps one day Yarmouth will realise what a resource they have and have some of these shops refronted. Pownells is still trading from the same location as well.  You can read more about Barker’s on the site.


Afghan street photographs

afghan street photographsNot actually walkies, but static street portraits taken on large wooden box cameras similar to those which were used in the UK in the early 1920s have been a feature of life in Afghan towns for decades. A new book is due out which looks at the history of the trade in the country and how it is rapidly dying out due to a change requiring all official photos be in colour, thus depriving the cameramen of a large part of their trade.  The Guardian has done an article based on the book.




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