Bright’s of ?

bournemouth walking picture 1920s e price department store

The Easy On The Eye walkie collection inevitably contains a fair number of unidentified images. Here’s one which offered a few clues so I thought I’d have a go at tracking the location down. It’s a single surviving frame (around 2″ by 3″) probably from a set of three consecutive images but has no company names on. The department store in the background looked very imposing but frustratingly the name was obscured so it could have been in any large town. The registration number on the car was visible though and using a guide to vintage number plate codes it was identified as registered in Bournemouth between 1929 and 1934 which fitted the lady’s fashions. Obviously a van could drive anywhere but in those days people tended to stay closer to home more, so it was a clue.
The lady on the left (all the women in the picture have fur collars by the way) is stood at the entrance to another store, but the name, spelt out in mosaic letters on the pavement edge, is incomplete. In the background though is a small delivery van, with the name Bright’s on the roof. Could it be parked outside their store? A hunt on the web confirmed a store of that name in Bournemouth, later taken over by The House of Fraser, and gave an address but as it is now on a pedestrianised area it wasn’t covered by Google street view. Google image on the other hand threw up a lot of pictures, but the former Bright’s store while clearly old, didn’t fit the one in the walkie.
I began looking at the other large department stores, Beales and Dingles. Neither looked right, but Dingles was a stunning Art Deco building and I got distracted. One recent photo seemed to be taken from a plane; apparently Bournemouth has followed the trend for city centre attractions but instead of a ferris wheel, they’ve installed a tethered balloon you can go up and down in. While I was flicking through some more images of the Dingles store taken from the balloon I spotted off to the right a red brick building with a covered walkway round the outside which coincidentally looked very like the one in my walkie.

bournemouth walking picture former e price department store
Sure enough, getting back to (Google) earth, the building fitted exactly. Today it’s occupied by several smaller stores, but Price & Sons occupied the whole block back before the war. One more walkie pinned down.

bournemouth walking picture former e price department store


3 responses

  1. Great bit of detective work although I spotted a slight discrepancy. The last letters of the shop name above the Brights van say ” Co Ltd”, whilst in your found image the name is “E Price & Sons Ltd”. Judging by the cars, your image looks to be about 20 years older than the Walking Pictures one. Perhaps there was another business in place later?

    June 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

    • simon robinson

      It’s possible Andy, there is certainly quite a difference between the shots.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  2. Gillian

    This shot is of the south side, or the back of, Brights & Coulsons, better known as Brights of Bournemouth, hope this helps. I know it well!

    May 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

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