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Blackpool take-away

There is a suggestion that this atmospheric street scene was taken around Blackpool Station way, which doesn’t really help much as the holiday resort has two main station serving the north and south of the town. But the hoardings certainly look like they could be designed to catch the eye of newly arrived visitors. Frustratingly they are not sharp enough to make out any of the attractions on at the Winter Gardens or the Tower Ballroom (“Dine At The Tower Cafe”), which might help narrow the date down beyond “the early 1930s”. Something has caught the attention of the woman on the left, but her friend is more interested in the cameraman. I assume that’s food in the brown paper parcel, it is being carried carefully so as not to damage the contents! No company identified on the reverse either.

Colwyn Bay

Two young women photographed by the street cameraman walking down from Colwyn Bay station, in September 1940. Both women are sporting a hair do and fashions of the day. This was another very popular spot for street photographers as the road led directly from the station down to the seafront on pier. I do not know which firm took this as the back is not marked (Cine Snaps were certainly working here in the 1930s so it may be by them), but it is what we are calling a Movie Walkie, taken on a repurposed film camera, offering a strip of three prints. As we can see there must have been a steady stream of possibly customers, and note the gentleman behind in his plus fours. I hand’t realised they were still in vogue by this time [Ref WP1273]. This view no longer exists as the area was destroyed (sorry, redeveloped) in the 1970s.

There are more on this spot on the site here.

Bournemouth quartet

A nice quartet of movie walking picture frames, all taken somewhere on Undercliffe Drive, on the edge of the seafront at Boscombe, Bournemouth. They were taken by the firm of George Coleman, who worked here for around ten years up to the start of World War Two. The photo above [WP1311] was taken in September 1935 of Mr and Mrs Bennett. We know this as she has written a quick note on the back, “Happy thoughts of our cheery holiday…”

Taken not far away – notice the elaborate lamp posts are the same in both frames – these two ladies are done up in expensive furs and carrying books too. I have two frames from this strip of what would have been three or four originally. They seem to be putting up with the camera, but did go back later to buy the strip! [WP1308]

These two women were on holiday here in August 1936 and seem to be enjoying themselves. Again taken by Coleman’s on their modified cine cameras. I think they are connected to the woman in the walkie below as the writing on the back is almost the same as it the date. She might even be the woman on the right above.

More on the firm of George Coleman on the site.

And if those thieving gits at My Kind Of Town magazine are going to steal any more material off this site (they even left the watermark on and when I complained and sent an invoice said it was OK to rip old images off anywhere they liked and I could go whistle) at least credit the source.

out for a stroll

But where? Two more walking pictures which have joined the “unknown” file lately. If anyone has a clue, do get in touch! Both were taken on movie cameras and would have been part of a strip of prints when purchased, but there is nothing on the backs to give me a clue, and precious little in the actual images either.

The left hand photo is remarkably ‘soft’, probably a combination of the small lens and negative, and perhaps also a low light level. Yet the resulting print’s almost ghostly look gives it a dreamlike look which we find in quite a few of these movie walkies. There is little real detail, although I can see a distinctive Lyons Tea van in the distance. Everyone seems well wrapped up – the older lady on the left is particularly heavy on the furs – suggesting an out of season photograph and it does have the look of an urban location.

On the right the couple have a more carefree look but once again I can find no clues as to where they were, the Household Supply Stores could be the pre-War version of our Poundshops! Date wise I suspect this is a little more recent, but both are from the late 1920s or early Thirties.

Crown copyright

That’s the paper this walking picture was printed on, not that the government owns it! Crown copyright photographic paper was widely manufactured in World War Two and at the end of the war, sold off on the open market cheaply. So it was great of small business use and many walking picture firms used it during the late 1940s and into the Fifties, where it replaced the postcard size paper often used before.

This walking picture is not otherwise marked but I recognise the spot as the landward end of Bridlington harbour, which was used by cameramen for many years. It’s hard not to think they are mother and daughter on a day out and they both seem happy to be snapped. They were sold three identical prints at the kiosk later that day, again a popular trend with walkies as it suggested better value for money. The firm is not known but may be Snaps, as their office was at the corner of the harbour.

The daughter has a smart boldly patterned dress on but Mum’s hat is a bit suspect!

Bath chair on the prom

Sunfilms are one of those walking picture firms we are still trying to unravel, and I’m not sure this postcard example helps at all! It shows an older woman in a bath chair being wheeled along, and probably dates from the late twenties or early 1930s. I would have been stuck for a location but happily someone has written in pen on the back “Eversfield Place” which is in Hastings, St. Leonards on Sea to be more exact. And sure enough there are several tall seafront buildings here with the distinctive gate columns seen in this photograph, although I cannot pin it down exactly.
Almost all Sunfilms prints I see are three frame strips so being a single postcard is unusual, I only have one other, and that is an early walkie from Huddersfield. The vertical scratches suggests it was taken on a movie camera but it’s hard to be certain, and it is the first by the firm from this town.
It’s quite hard to date the wicker Bath chair, they were made until around 1915 of so, but could date back to the 1880s. If the people are on holiday, maybe the hotel would hire them out for guests, as they would be difficult to transport. You steered them using the metal tiller the woman has in her right hand. Despite this problem, she and her husband look very cheery having spotted the camera! I’d love to read the painted sign on the right, something about Dancing on a Saturday evening, but there isn’t enough detail in the negative.

What I know about the firm is covered on the site:

Sunfilms