This walking picture is full of life, and looks to be a father having bought his two excited children presents – hard not to imagine it’s a football for the lad under all that brown paper and string. They seem to be walking past a large railway station (there is a big Way In sign in the background) and the feel is of London, but I cannot identify it. The poster hoardings are just too blurred to make anything exact out beyond an advert for Empire Tea. Clearly reasonably well off, his Homburg hat contrasts with the Bowler hat seen in the background, and together with daughter’s smart headwear suggests late 1920s for the date.
It is a postcard sized print (“British Made”!) with a pencil note for the ticket reference on the back, but the frame is printed with quite a large border on all four sides. If anyone can ID the station do get in touch. That might be the letter L of LMS top left, but if so I cannot match this to either Euston or St. Pancras, their London main stations.
The vintage head in a hole comic seaside cards are always great fun, but the trend seems to be one which is becoming more popular, albeit with new twists. Cinemas are using quite elaborate cardboard scenery for the new Hans Solo film and you can sit inside the “cabin” and have your picture taken. But this image was taken in Montreux in 2016 and shows a painted view outside the famous Casino there. So you can pretend you’re rolling up in a limo!
The Drummond Road sign places this walking picture in Skegness, and we’ve mentioned the Osbert Walking Picture sign here before too (you can read more about the firm using the link below). It was sent in by Ian Crick, and the photo shows his Grandmother Edith, plus his Dad Brian and sister Doris. The cameraman has been working quite quickly here, the focus is a little out and the boy in the cap obscuring some of the view is not one of the family. Brian is wearing reins, not something you see much on children today but very useful in a busy street, and also spats.
Ian dates this to around 1936 (the horse and cart in the background suggests older, but they did trips around the prom for visitors until after the War), and he remembers hearing of the family trips to Skegness from their home town of Corby in Northants. Edith is carrying a nice wicker basket. She would find herself trending as the Times have just featured these on their fashion pages 80 years on!
Another unidentified Walkie, but the roller skating craze of the Fifties is clearly being catered for judging by the hoarding behind. The walkie has a nice contrasty look about it, perhaps caused by excess light getting in when it was printed. It’s a curious size too, like a shortened postcard. There is no firm identified on the back, but further evidence that the photo must be from the late Fifties is the slightly teddy boy affectation of the son, as seen by the hair do and the big shouldered jacket. Still at least he seems to be enjoying the experience of being photographed on holiday, as do his Mum and Dad. And he has forsaken crepe soles for a pair of those old fashioned leather sandals with the cross weave front panel. And socks.
“I’m just nipping to the corner shop” was an often heard phrase in our house. Mid-way between us and the main shops, themselves only five minutes away, the corner shop was a ramshackle place but handy for all types of groceries and more. They kept going into the early Seventies before being converted back into a domestic property.
Images of old retail environments often bring the past to life (I find myself watching the unremarkable Still Open All Hours sometimes to see what vintage goodies the prop people have used to decorate the set!). Usually you just see the shop staff posed in the doorway but this photograph takes us inside and gives a glimpse of the goods on the shelves of a small grocery shop circa 1910. Interestingly all the foods here are already pre-packed except for the eggs, and there are packets of tea and coffee, quite a few tinned goods – apricots, peaches, pears, salmon – and also jars with meat paste, what looks to be Camp coffee essence, and quite a lot of home made bottled jam. There are also a few boxes of Chivers’ Table Jellys which would have been a bit of a luxury item. The wooden shelves themselves are also very typical of the time, with the turned support alternating with a plain one.
Then tucked away in the corner is the shop assistant, smartly dressed underneath his shop overalls. And with a cigarette on the go as well.
Nothing tells us where this was, though as it was found locally it’s tempting to think it may be from the Sheffield / Chesterfield area. Back then there were small corner shops every few streets.
The print has rounded corners which look like someone has done this themselves. As the person with the camera was clearly proud enough of their shop to take the photo, I could see them making this bit of extra effort.
All three of Blackpool’s piers had walkie cameramen in operation. This nice example is from Dave Gardner, and was taken we think on the Central Pier. The low roof and tower at the end of the entrance building are quite distinctive. David says the young lad is his father, out with his parents, so dates this to around 1938. He is clutching the obligatory wooden beach spade and tin bucket. It was taken by the Blackpool firm of Walkie Snaps.
Although this walkie carries no identifying details, it is a half postcard size print with a miniature postcard style back print. One of the few firms to do this were Walkie Snaps of Blackpool, who sold two identical prints this size to customers. There is dirt on the negative and a scratch down the film too, evidence of hasty processing.
The large building in the distance looked familiar and the Olympia sign just visible confirmed it as Blackpool. The Winter Gardens block survives and has a large exhibition venue inside called The Olympia.
The scene is full of everyday incident, people out shipping, stopping for a chat, and various vintage delivery trucks. It has a pre-War feel about it, so probably late 1930s.
The couple are fascinating, with the gent’s open necked vest at odds with the usual dress standards of the day (an open collar buttoned v-neck top perhaps). But then he probably figured they were off to the beach for a sit and a read of the paper, so what the heck. His solid build and direct look at the camera does suggest you wouldn’t want to argue the toss with him!
The part of Adelaide Street they are on has now gone, replaced by yet another bland shopping mall of some sort (the Houndshill Centre – I looked it up), so where you could once walk straight down to the sea-front from the many guest houses, your way is now blocked by this and service car-parks. A bit of sensible town planning could have opened up a generous parade down to the tower and promenade. You can get an idea of the location by comparing it with the modern day street view above.
I have looked at Remington’s walking picture operation in the site in some detail but this walkie is both a great informal image and it shows their pitch near Torquay’s Princess Pier. Remington were based in Paignton by this time, just a mile or so down the coast. Given the shadows this would have been taken mid-morning, and the postcard print available for the family to buy later that day from the kiosk on the right. Son and heir is wearing what looks like a knitted trouser suit from a pattern and was probably on holiday in the late 1930s.
My last post on hand tinting showed postcard sized examples, but here are two larger examples, both approx 10″ by 8″.
Weddings photographs were something people would spend a little more on, and this formal image looks to have been done in a proper photo studio as the lighting is very good and there is a backdrop behind the group. Usually you would get a set of photographs in card folders, and then one or two for framing, in this case tinted.
The colouring is quite subtle, much of the original black and white photo is left alone, with just some pink added to the dresses and faces, and red on the bride’s shoes. A little touch of orange has been added to her shoulder decoration. Husband seems to be in a dress uniform jacket with one stripe indicates lance corporal, so it may be a war time wedding. That must be husband’s brother on the left.
There are just little hints of economising on the day itself; while the two ladies left and right seem dressed alike, clearly gloves were expensive and they don’t match – nor do the shoes.
The photographer has signed it in the corner (and missed something in the shoot leading to a white corner triangle, while he might have shoved the stool out of view as well!) but impossible to read and we don’t know who the people are or where it was taken.
The little lad on the foot stool looks like a Jerome studio photo, but there is nothing on the back to confirm. Here the studio have gone for a yellow theme, and just added a little pink to the mouth and face. As before this subtle approach works quite well. Today you can get your digital images printed out on many different surfaces, and the parents here had theirs supplied in a mirror frame to hang on the wall. I would think late 1940s.