Skegness again dear?

Many families used to take their holidays in the same seaside town year after year, often dictated by transport links or the nearness of a particular resort. This happy looking couple are no exception, and seem to have stuck to Skegness for all their breaks; as far as I can work out all these walkies were taken in the town in the years after WW2, from the late Forties into the late Fifties.  This dating is reinforced by the serviceman at the right hand side in one of the views.

The two postcard sized photos were taken by Skegness’ main walkie firms, Wrates and Walfreds (both firms are detailed on the site), the smaller ones are not identified. All were taken in the usual spots on Lumley Road and the Grand Parade. I only really wanted a couple of these for the archive, but it seemed a shame to break them up.  Taken together they do demonstrate that while walkies might have been a novelty to begin with, people must have become to expect them being taken on subsequent holidays. And in two of the photos the gent is carrying what looks to be a box camera, so while they could take their own photos they still enjoyed having the walkies.

Fashion wise while the lady has either the same jacket top or (hand knitted?) cardigan in most of the shots, the floral dresses are different in every photo.  But only in the most recent walkie, which is dated 1953 on the back, has hubbie relaxed enough to actually be seen in the street without his tie!


Happy Snaps


Another of those small photo booth portraits, but mounted on a little pre-printed backing card by the photographers, Horsfield’s Happy Snaps of Redcar. With his shirt collar undone, I would imagine the gent was on holiday and wanted a souvenir. A photo booth would have been the cheapest option, certainly cheaper than a walkie. It would also be the quickest. I cannot find any reference to the shop on the web, but the name does suggest they may also have done beach and street photography, although I have not yet seen a walkie from this seaside town.

And while Redcar as a resort is not one that springs readily to mind these days (though I have been for a look), with a superb beach it did serve the populations of some big North East cities from Victorian times onwards, particularly Middlesborough. One lady on the web recalled her day as a child at Redcar: “On the morning as we left our apartments we went to the beach. I had a donkey ride, then on to the ventriloquist whose show began at 10am, then the Punch and Judy Show (a little further along the beach) started at 10.30am. The Pierrots started at 11am (The Optimists of ’38, The Seafarers, and The Wavelets are all names she recalled). Sometimes before going back to the digs for lunch, we went along to Sunshine Corner. After lunch we either went to the boating lake end, Lock Park or the Stray end to the paddling pool.”

Makes you exhausted just reading it! I’m trying to date the picture but would suspect late Forties.

Pier look

WP896 pier to blog.jpg

I do like this pier walkie, but so far the location has eluded me. The gentleman is looking a bit suspiciously at the camera, but must have bought the print, which I think is a frame cut off a strip. Date wise it looks to be early 1930s, and there is a poster propped up advertising Clapham and Dwyer, a vaguely amusing comedy duo I’d not heard of before who were popular in the late twenties and into the thirties, perhaps appearing at the end of the pier show.
There’s a group of people by the turnstile buying tickets to get on the pier, many had a small admission charge before the war to keep a little exclusivity to the site (sadly Wentworth Gardens have had to impose a £1.50p fee recently due to some people damaging the site, nothing changes). There are some nice bits of street furniture about too, the wheeled container and Pratts Oil dispenser would fetch a small fortune today at a salvage yard.
Let me know if the location rings a bell.


British Made


This walking picture is full of life, and looks to be a father having bought his two excited children presents – hard not to imagine it’s a football for the lad under all that brown paper and string. They seem to be walking past a large railway station (there is a big Way In sign in the background) and the feel is of London, but I cannot identify it. The poster hoardings are just too blurred to make anything exact out beyond an advert for Empire Tea. Clearly reasonably well off, his Homburg hat contrasts with the Bowler hat seen in the background, and together with daughter’s smart headwear suggests late 1920s for the date.
It is a postcard sized print (“British Made”!) with a pencil note for the ticket reference on the back, but the frame is printed with quite a large border on all four sides. If anyone can ID the station do get in touch. That might be the letter L of LMS top left, but if so I cannot match this to either Euston or St. Pancras, their London main stations.

Head in a hole

The vintage head in a hole comic seaside cards are always great fun, but the trend seems to be one which is becoming more popular, albeit with new twists. Cinemas are using quite elaborate cardboard scenery for the new Hans Solo film and you can sit inside the “cabin” and have your picture taken. But this image was taken in Montreux in 2016 and shows a painted view outside the famous Casino there. So you can pretend you’re rolling up in a limo!

Head in hole Casino.jpg


Edith Crick Skegness.jpg

The Drummond Road sign places this walking picture in Skegness, and we’ve mentioned the Osbert Walking Picture sign here before too (you can read more about the firm using the link below).  It was sent in by Ian Crick, and the photo shows his Grandmother Edith, plus his Dad Brian and sister Doris.  The cameraman has been working quite quickly here, the focus is a little out and the boy in the cap obscuring some of the view is not one of the family.  Brian is wearing reins, not something you see much on children today but very useful in a busy street, and also spats.

Ian dates this to around 1936 (the horse and cart in the background suggests older, but they did trips around the prom for visitors until after the War), and he remembers hearing of the family trips to Skegness from their home town of Corby in Northants.  Edith is carrying a nice wicker basket. She would find herself trending as the Times have just featured these on their fashion pages 80 years on!



skegness walkie.jpg

Another unidentified Walkie, but the roller skating craze of the Fifties is clearly being catered for judging by the hoarding behind. The walkie has a nice contrasty look about it, perhaps caused by excess light getting in when it was printed.  It’s a curious size too, like a shortened postcard. There is no firm identified on the back, but further evidence that the photo must be from the late Fifties is the slightly teddy boy affectation of the son, as seen by the hair do and the big shouldered jacket. Still at least he seems to be enjoying the experience of being photographed on holiday, as do his Mum and Dad. And he has forsaken crepe soles for a pair of those old fashioned leather sandals with the cross weave front panel. And socks.

Corner shop

greengrocer shop 1910.jpg

“I’m just nipping to the corner shop” was an often heard phrase in our house. Mid-way between us and the main shops, themselves only five minutes away, the corner shop was a ramshackle place but handy for all types of groceries and  more. They kept going into the early Seventies before being converted back into a domestic property.

Images of old retail environments often bring the past to life (I find myself watching the unremarkable Still Open All Hours sometimes to see what vintage goodies the prop people have used to decorate the set!). Usually you just see the shop staff posed in the doorway but this photograph takes us inside and gives a glimpse of the goods on the shelves of a small grocery shop circa 1910. Interestingly all the foods here are already pre-packed except for the eggs, and there are packets of tea and coffee, quite a few tinned goods – apricots, peaches, pears, salmon – and also jars with meat paste, what looks to be Camp coffee essence, and quite a lot of home made bottled jam. There are also a few boxes of Chivers’ Table Jellys which would have been a bit of a luxury item. The wooden shelves themselves are also very typical of the time, with the turned support alternating with a plain one.
Then tucked away in the corner is the shop assistant, smartly dressed underneath his shop overalls. And with a cigarette on the go as well.
Nothing tells us where this was, though as it was found locally it’s tempting to think it may be from the Sheffield / Chesterfield area. Back then there were small corner shops every few streets.
The print has rounded corners which look like someone has done this themselves. As the person with the camera was clearly proud enough of their shop to take the photo, I could see them making this bit of extra effort.

Blackpool Central

All three of Blackpool’s piers had walkie cameramen in operation.  This nice example is from Dave Gardner, and was taken we think on the Central Pier.  The low roof and tower at the end of the entrance building are quite distinctive. David says the young lad is his father, out with his parents, so dates this to around 1938. He is clutching the obligatory wooden beach spade and tin bucket. It was taken by the Blackpool firm of Walkie Snaps.

Gardner family c1938