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Streamlined

WP1064-Czech-Zlin-parents-and-baby

This street photograph is from Zlin in the Czech Republic, and shows a proud Czech couple with their son in a wonderful streamline style chrome handled push-chair.  These sort of over the top designs were quite popular there in the 1940s and Zlin had a name change in 1949 which helps date this. The town is famous as being the original home of Bata shoes until WW2. The photographer’s stamp (Evjakova) gives an address on Stalineva Street, so that may now have changed, I have not been able to find it on the online maps!

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Photofilmeurs

WP1065-Nice-walking-1948

This interesting walking picture (the photographers were known as photofilmeurs in France) was taken on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. Apparently the street name came about because holidaying English people paid for the first walkway as a way of finding employment for out of work beggars, and the town then extended this. Walkie cameramen has a hard time of it in France and were often banned. In Nice they were only allowed to operate on this stretch of the seafront, so quite a few tourist walkies survive, usually easy to identify by the number of palm trees about. This is the first hand-coloured version I have seen though, in general you don’t see many given this treatment. It looks like it was done by the supplier, and is somewhat overdone, but the couple – “E & Gus” – seem to be enjoying themselves. Maybe they were taking one of their first overseas breaks after the War.

Strolling round Port Erin

WP1060-Isle-of-Man

This great portrait looks like it could have come from a family album it is so informal, but the reference number shows it to be a commercial walking picture. Two of the gents are in the new fangled Oxford Bags, and may be brothers. Their female friend is smartly dressed too.  It was taken around 1936 by the firm of S R Keig, based in Douglas on the Isle of Man (and photographers since around 1860 through to 2010) but very hard to locate exactly until another by the same firm turned up which was taken in the smaller resort of Port Erin not far away, and this enabled us to identify the rest as from the same town. I have added them to our list on the site where you can find some more Isle Of Man walkie examples and a bit more detail.

Souvenir of Butlins

Butlins-holiday-camp-Clacton

The Butlins holiday camp souvenir photographs are a subject all to themselves, and I do turn them up from time to time, usually taken in the camp grounds or nearby beach (there is a nice example of the site). They always have the little Butlins overlays in the corner.  But this example is new to me, sent by Paul Godfrey.  At first glance I assumed the young lad was montaged into the negative at the printing stage, but the canny photographers at the Clacton Butlins camp had gone one better. They built a giant wooden postcard format stand, and cut an oval in the centre for people to pose in.  They rightly reasoned that nobody would really notice the joins when it was printed out at postcard size. Paul notes that the camp did open for a couple of years prior to WW2 but at that time the souvenir photo franchise was run by Empire Films. When it reopened later it was taken back in-house. The little bits of detail you can pick out in the montage suggest an early 1950s date for this print.

Worthing again

Worthing-1937-Sunny-Snaps

It’s always good to see Sunny Snaps walkies as the firm’s history remains a bit of a mystery, so each identified example helps build up the story (and also dates the fashions nicely!).  This pair were sent to me by John Thompson, who was trying to identify the locations. The 1937 walkie was taken on Worthing sea-front promenade, and was a popular spot with cameramen for some years before World War 2. The array of buses shows why!  I also have a walking picture taken at exactly the same location as the 1938 Sunny Snap, which we know was South Street.
John knows the people are his family and is now trying to find out exactly who they are.
There is more on the site if you search for Sunny Snaps and more from Worthing in particular with a link to the firm’s story, and more in the book Go Home On A Postcard.

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A stroll in Leningrad

Russia Alex Kononov walkie 1

While my research is mainly focused on British walkies on this site I am aware the trade was worldwide. But recently we were sent scans of two walking pictures taken in Russia, the first I have seen from that country. They were sent by Aleksey Kononov (we share a fascination with the history of rock group Deep Purple!) and show members of his family, out for a stroll in the sunshine in Leningrad back in 1962. “There is my mum (in a light headdress) with her father (my grandpa) and sister (my aunt), and also there is grandpa’s friend.”  The city is of course known today as Saint Petersburg, and both pictures were taken on the same trip.  As well as showing that walkies were part of Russian street life, what fascinates me is that if you compare these with walkies taken in Britain at the same time, there is very little difference whatsoever. They could have been taken in Skegness or Bridlington.  So at the height of the Cold War, this was after all the year of the Cuban missile crisis which I can recall as a child, ordinary people were out enjoying the same experience in Russia and Britain. And walkie cameramen were there to record the event.

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Children

Victorian children 2.jpg

These two found prints make slightly uneasy viewing, the children seem to be looking right through the photographer to a different dimension.  But they did appeal to me in a pile of discarded prints. Most people who snap their children go for something a little more natural looking, especially outdoors. Instead these kids look frozen in time, something you normally associate with indoor studio portraits. I think the two girls in the two photos must be sisters, the light flaring and print edge on both is the same, even the grass, which suggests they were taken not far apart time wise (or maybe it’s the same person?). It’s quite hard to date them but the buttoned up shoes suggests late 1890s or turn of the century (and they are printed on thin photographic paper typical of that era). The girl’s dark dress looks a bit home made under the magnifying glass.

Both prints are around 3″ by 4″, or quarter plate as it was known, and suggest they were contacted from glass negatives of that size.

Victorian children 1.jpg

Esplanade, Bognor

Bogner Walking Snaps walkie

Bognor Regis council seem to have altered so much on the Esplanade that I doubt we’ll ever be able to pin this walkie down, but it is unusual in that the company have added a what looks like an automatic date stamp to the side of the print, and the name of the town, as well as the normal hand written reference number. I assume all this was done at the darkroom stage while the prints were being exposed. These are two frames from what would have been a strip of three originally, and were found by Paul Godfrey.  We have seen walkies by Sunny Snaps and Sunfilms taken in the town around the same time, but this is not by them, and is simply marked Walking Snaps on the back.  I have one frame from the same firm but that only has day and month, and lacks the year date. The quality is much poorer than prints by their two bigger rivals (my example is so bleached out it’s hard to see anything!) but very filmic.

Bournemouth walkies

July 1954 Bournemouth

No mistaking mother and daughter here, they look so alike on this postcard sized walkie. One of them has dated it to July 1954 on the back but didn’t add where it was taken. I thought at first it might be Filey Brigg in the background, but while it is clearly right on the seafront somewhere I could not get a proper match for those very distinctive street lights until the other day when a card from Bournemouth sea-front turned up.

Bournemouth 1920s

The second walkie was also initially another mystery, this is a single frame cut from a set of three originally sold on a postcard to one of the two ladies. Frustratingly there wasn’t enough detail in any of the background to give a clue, the photo is only around 1.5″ by 2.5″. It must be from the mid-1920s and seems to be a shopping trip rather than a seaside visit, some three decades before the card above. That advertising board propped up on the left rang a bell though, and I found it in exactly the same place on another walkie which I have identified as one of the main shopping streets in Bournemouth away from the seafront. It advertises shows in Victoria Park in the town.

There are more Bournemouth walkies on the site if you do a search, including a set of three which I have animated.