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Gladys and her friend

Sylvia Eastwood left, and Gladys Coleman.

This grainy walking picture is interesting, it is just possible it is an old copy print made off the original walkie, which would account for the flat tones. It shows Gladys Coleman on the right with her best mate Sylvia Eastwood and was taken some time during the Second World War. Both women are wearing trousers, with Gladys in the sort of slacks which had become increasingly popular and practical at the time. It is thought to have been taken in the Welsh coastal town of Rhyl. They both lived in Knutsford at the time so this was a popular destination for a day out or break. Gladys was working in a laundry in Knutsford during the war, her parents had three sons in the forces and stopped her signing up (she wanted to be a nurse). She married Lawrence Warburton after the war, and they continued to take holidays in Rhyl with her children through the fifties and sixties.

Festival souvenir

The Festival of Britain which opened on May 3rd 1951 was apparently quite careful about how traders were allowed to operate on the actual festival site, and while it would clearly have been a goldmine for street photographers, I suspect they were worried about people being unduly pestered. However one firm was able to secure a license, and produced these attractive postcards for customers. The four views of the festival remained the same, and the portrait was placed in the centre. They make attractive and obviously unique souvenirs of what must have been a great day out.

Bridlington holidays

Steve Frampton was minded to send us a couple of walking pictures from his family album. The first is from our old favourite firm Snaps, based in Bridlington for 50 years or so (there is a page about them on this site). This one is helpfully dated 1951. I’m not sure if Steve is sticking his tongue out at the cameraman on purpose or just concentrating! He is holding one of those old fashioned wooden beach spades which are now becoming quite collectable.


The second walkie was taken nearby on the slope down to the harbour and the south bay promenade, and was a busy spot favoured by photographers. That’s Steve in the push chair so it was probably taken a year before. His family lived in Southampton but were on a visit to see his Grandparents in Market Weighton just inland. The photographer has managed to get his film scratched a bit during processing but the family have bought it anyway.

A stroll by the river

By River Ouse, Bedford, circa 1930.

These four gents seem to be having a nice walk by the river. It would be impossible to locate but happily it was sent to us by Sheila Bley, who says that her father Joseph in the man second from the right. She dates it to around 1930, which ties in nicely with information I have that Sunfilms had a walking picture agent in the town in 1928, and this certainly look like one of their style of photographs. It would originally have been three frames, the rest have been divided up, perhaps amongst them. The old main road bridge across the river can just be seen in the far distance. It is so far the only example I have seen from the town. There is more about Sunfilms, who operated all over the country, on the site.

Driving in my car

I’m used to seaside souvenir photos showing vintage cars, dating from the early 1900s; either painted flat cars or sometimes even real vehicles driven onto the beach for people to sit in and show off. But this one from the 1960s in Japan indicates that the idea lasted much longer in some places. While very different from walking pictures the head in a hold snaps do have a quality of their own, as well as some often very non-PC images. You can read about this and see similar examples on the site.

Westbrook walkie

This walking picture caught my eye not long ago. It was taken by the firm of A. H. Remington who at this time based in Margate taking street portraits like this. From the shadows, it must have been taken late afternoon. Most walking pictures were taken in the morning so people could see (and buy) the print later in the day, but in busy places they did also work afternoons as well. So this couple would in all probability have popped along to the kiosk the following day to search for their photo.
I picked it up mostly for the great composition; the middle aged couple walking along Westbrook Promenade have spotted something interesting up on the Royal Esplanade, just as the cameraman has lined them up for a photograph. Given that there is almost nobody else in view, it seem likely that they must have seen the cameraman as they strolled along but the result is still a very relaxed and natural looking image.

I have marked the spot they were looking up at on the old postcard view above. The Remington postcard is from the 1920s (we know this as the firm relocated to Paignton in 1930, not to mention the fashionably large hat the woman is sporting) and the elaborate building in the background is the Westbrook Pavilion. This was damaged in storms in the early 1950s and then pulled down (this is Margate, you didn’t think they would restore it?). Today a bleak crazy golf course sits forlornly on the site.

The story of Remington can be found on this site.