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Skegness trio

This is a nice trio of walking pictures which show us a family group’s late morning trip on Skegness pier. It looks to me like two brothers with their respective wives and a daughter, but from the numbering we see one of the wives and her father were snapped walking together with a paper parasol first. Seven photographs later the quintet are sat on the iron pier bench for a static portrait, before a more typical walking picture three pictures later. One wonders if the missing frames were given over to other shots of the same group or the cameraman just snapped different people in between. But it does show us that while these sort of photographs were often spontaneous, people were not above making use of the photographer as well. The firm are not indicated on the back and it is difficult to be sure who might be responsible, though Skeg Cards had a license to snaps people on the pier for some years and are a likely candidate. The cards look to date from the early 1930s and are in lovely condition, so someone has looked after them for 70 years or so.

There are two more walking pictures from the same spot on Skegness pier on the site.

Restoration

I do not normally post images found on the web but any publicity for a pier restoration has to be worth making an exception for. I was trying to identify an unmarked walking picture recently which turned out to be taken on Victoria Pier in Colwyn Bay. I do not associate the town with a pier and sure enough their listed Grade 2 structure has been through the wringer over the last 40 years or so (even though it was mostly just a pile of rusting iron in a field lately it remains listed!) Finally however funding has been allotted to a partial restoration of a small section, using ironwork rescued and cleaned up, with missing parts replicated and recast. The idea seems to be that if further funding can be found then more will be added. This will in fact be the fourth time the pier has been rebuilt in 120 years.

Needless to say walking pictures were taken on and near the pier in the 1920s and 1930s and the pier trust shows these two examples on their fund-raising website. Sadly it does not tell us who the people are, when taken or the firm responsible, but the hand coloured example below is quite unusual and was either done by the studio or a gifted amateur. A firm called Happy Snaps did cover the town (as well as Llandudno) for a time, so it may be one of theirs.

The colour image at the top shows the restored area which should be open later in 2021. Whether this will be enough to bring some much needed levelling up for the town remains to be seen but we will certainly stop by next time we’re in the area.
Many other walking pictures were taken on the road running down from Colwyn’s railway station to the seafront (there are two on this site), though that area has been rather savaged by later “development” (unless you call the blasting through of the A55 and building of a big Poundland there progress!).

Rocketman

The painting of wooden boards with comic images and cutting holes for people to stick their heads through does seem to be one of the oldest of the photographic souvenir portrait genres. There have been a number featured on this site going back to the early 1900s and on to the present day, including a few I have seen in recent years at the seaside (the vintage ones are on this page).
Even so it was fascinating to see this image turn up in a Guardian newspaper photo feature recently. French documentary photographer Stéphen Gladieu was allowed what these days is fairly unique access to photograph people in every day scenes in North Korea. His careful studied approach to portraits produces what the authorities there probably took to be very uplifting images, but which cut right through the artifice and reveal so much about the people and places.
This particular image shows a cut-out of astronauts which you can stand behind for a souvenir photograph, if you look for a while you can begin to see traces of the street and buildings behind. It shows human nature is much the same wherever people are in the world. Power mad dictators notwithstanding. Thanks to Stéphen for allowing me to reproduce it here. There’s another book for my Xmas list!

Pedigree

It fascinates me how unseen family photographs continue to stay hidden away for so long. Despite having been through what we thought were all the family photographs for material to use on this blog, this new walking picture turned up recently. It shows Lawrence Warburton (in his holiday attire – which meant removing jacket and tie and rolling up sleeves) with his eldest child Sheila walking beside him (clearly beaming at the photographer), and (out of sight!) baby Leslie in the rather smart Pedigree brand pram. It must be from around 1957 and was most likely taken in Wales in either Rhyl or Colwyn Bay where the family usually took their holidays as they lived not too far away in Cheshire. This was one of two prints side by side on a postcard, later cut in half by the family. I do like Sheila’s large seaside hat! The same pram is in use on a slightly earlier walkie this time with Sheila inside. The photographers are not known but with a very bright sunny day they were struggling to get the exposure right (I have been able to correct some of this after scanning).

Riding the dog

I was lucky enough to find these two cards not long ago. They are not identified but were taken by Sunbeam Photos. based in Margate. The street scene – and the cars – suggest early 1950s. I have not been able to work out exactly where they were taken, though other Sunbeam cards with the F prefix are located in Folkestone, so this may well be down on the seafront there. If that large plaster rock formation rings any bells with local historians do let me know. The reinforced stuffed felt dog is doing well but kooks to have been repatched for the season! In a nice touch the parents of the little lad have asked for a close up snap to be taken as well, so they took home two nice souvenir postcards.

There is a page about the various Sunbeam animal props on the site.

Prestwick

L-R Archie, Margaret (Peggy), Alistair McIntyre and Aunt Chrissie Ross. Near Prestwick railway station on Links Road, 1950.

Two more walking pictures taken in the small Scottish coastal town of Prestwick, both taken on Links Road, which runs from the railway station to the promenade alongside the original golf course (where The Open began). I have seen others taken here so it looks like this was a busy pitch for street photographers, with a regular stream of people getting off the train or passing on their way back into town. The postcard prints are likely to be by El Te, a firm known to work here, as it matches examples by them closely, taken on a 35mm camera. They did sometimes add their details via a rubber stamp on the back.
The family were snapped on their way to the front, although they have stopped walking to have their photo taken. Alistair has been stocked up with a spade and bucket as well as an ice-cream. You can see another family behind them waiting their turn. In the second print below they are coming back from the seafront; hopefully the spade etc. are in Peggy’s holdall! They were both taken on a trip in 1950. The original golf house can be seen in the background, still there although much altered.

Prestwick 1950. Same holiday as other snap. Building is the Prestwick golf course hotel, now altered quite a lot. Links Road.

I don’t know how people collected their El Te prints or where, but their office was only a few streets away. I have matched them as closely as possible on street view. I must admit I have never visited this part of the country and the fact that a huge airport surrounds the town would put me right off. The railway bridge in the first walkie has been replaced (hopefully someone saved the station sign!) but otherwise the view hasn’t changed much in 70 years. The golf building has been dwarfed by a grim new oversized block of housing but otherwise the scene is recognisable.