Derby appears to have had quite a long tradition of walking picture photographers (Spotlight Photos were certainly active here in the 1930s), and this latest find pushes that run through into 1948 – the date scrawled in pencil on the back. Sadly the owner gives no more information, and the photographer was not named on the back, so I was about to add it to the ‘unknown’ file when I noticed the public transport vehicle in the background.
Now bus enthusiasts are second only to train enthusiasts in seeking to nail the history of their chosen hobby, so I did a blow-up of the bus. To my surprise it looked to be a trolley-bus, a now largely forgotten form of bus which combined the flexibility of the ordinary bus with the eco-credentials of the electric tram.
I hunted down the British Trolleybus Society on the net and sent off my rather blurry image. Within 24 hours, Dave Hall, their archivist, was back in touch to tell me the bus was undoubtedly one of the Derby transport fleet, and looked to be on route 66 which came into the city across the river and ran south out to the suburb of Allenton.
This chimed with the likelihood that the walkie photographer would pick a busy central street to operate, so I checked the maps. Derby centre appears to have been massively pedestrianised so no street views were available, but I did a search for old pictures of St. Peter’s Street which was on the trolleybus route. Sure enough a nice view of the street, with a trolleybus in view, confirmed the hunch.
City centre walkies have a very different atmosphere to their holiday based cousins, and these two gents appear to be walking down the street together, the one in front saying something back over his shoulder to his companion, but it’s hard to be certain.