Research into Sunny Snaps walkies indicate they worked all along the South Coast in the decades before the War, but then returned to their London base in 1940 working in selected suburbs and returned to this trade when the War ended. This scan sent by Elaine McColl seems to have been one of those later images taken in the capital.
A very everyday walkie, it catches Isabella Norwell, then in her Sixties, seemingly out shopping, except that she wrote on the back of the walkie “this was taken last Sunday”, so perhaps she was off to church. She didn’t date it, but sent it off to her sister Mae in Canada a few days later as a birthday greeting. Elaine says Mae’s birthday was October 10th, which dates the photo to October 3rd.
Isabella lived in Clifford Gardens, Kensal Rise, and given that she is using a walking stick, it seems likely that the photographer was working in the local area, but I have not been able to match it to anywhere on the main street. The sun is quite low, indicating early morning, and it’s not the sharpest of photographs, which hinders detective work!
The scan does not show the card date too clearly but it looks like 1949, if so it’s a very late example. My thanks to Elaine for sharing this and if anyone chances on this and recognises the area, do get in touch.
More London Sunny Snaps on the site.
New walking picture firms keep coming to light, and I have put together some details about Boyd’s, who operated in Hastings and Eastbourne, taking walkies, beach photos and other street portraits. This couple were snapped on the pier earlier in the day, then in a hired deckchair later on. It is a much travelled print too, and we do like the gent’s somewhat eccentric beach outfit. See them and read more about Boyd’s on the site.
We have looked at Benson’s on the site before. They operated in Bridlington and Scarborough post-WW2. This walkie is from the Scarborough office which was based on Sandside next to the harbour. It was sent to us by Joy Rawlings and shows her Grandmother Lillian Fox on the right (in the spotty dress) with two friends (Mrs. Duddle centre and Mrs. Jones, a neighbour, on the left) and her Grandfather John Fox in the background. I would think mid-1950s from the look of it. They have just passed the little fish market stalls (a newer version of them survives) and the previous lifeboat house on the end of Foreshore Road, which was only demolished in 2015. Amazingly Google Maps still has a glimpse of this view, see below, but on the rest of the map it has disappeared. You can read more about Bensons on the site. Thanks to Joy for the scan.
It’s those Trafalgar Square pigeons again, this time entertaining a lady from the RAF (judging from the cap badge) sometime in the Fifties. I’m picking these images up when I find them as they look great en masse. That could well be one of the square’s photographers on the right, he looks as if he is working rather than just being a tourist with a camera.
There’s another shot from the same location on the blog.
This walking picture is just typical of hundreds of thousands, and turned up amongst some recent finds. As is often the case I’ve no idea who the couple are, or where it was taken – although the style of the lamp-post might provide a clue when I have the time. I just liked the slightly resigned expression on the gents face, and the tab hanging from the mouth Andy Capp style. His wife is looking more robust, and has kept her hairnet on so perhaps they’re on their way somewhere special. I’d think it was taken in the Forties, both by the fashions and the smaller print size.
Although not walkies, Butlin Holiday Pictures have a similar casual feel about them and the system operated in much the same way. Butlin’s allowed (and employed) photographers to work on their sites to snap visitors during their holidays, and you could then pick up a postcard print from the site photo booth later. The booths also developed, printed and sold film, cameras and other odds and ends to holiday-makers.
As far as I know walkies were not taken, and people just stood and posed for the photographer. Very popular were shots of people riding the bicycle buggies to get around the camp. I do have a few Butlins Snaps and most are like the example here. They can easily be identified by the corner flash, “A Butlin Holiday Picture”, just set on a piece of clear plastic in the corner of the photo frame during exposure in the darkroom.
This Butlin’s postcard has the date stamped on the back, 20th August 1948, plus an index number which probably corresponds to a ticket given to the customers. The two teenage lads are very tidily dressed, white shoes, slacks, short sleeved shirts and ties and also have a Butlin enamel badge on. As Butlin’s changed the designs of these each season, using the Bygone Butlins site I have identified this as Filey.
I do not know who the lads are for certain, but the one on the left may be a member of the Hirst family, and is seen ‘walking out’ with a Miss Bradbury in a few walkies (which we have on the site!). They came from the Huddersfield area so this makes the Filey holiday their nearest Butlins.
Back to Miss Bradbury! We posted a cut-out walkie with her on here recently. Going through her snapshots a number of walkies emerged, and seem to cover both her and her husband’s holidays over a twenty year period or more. Here are three more. I might have assumed the first to be just a family snapshot except it has the ‘Walking Picture’ backprint. It looks to be late Thirties to me, the dress pattern on what I assume to be proud Mum is very vivid, and it probably qualifies more as a just learned to walkie! The location didn’t have many clues but I thought the arched gable on the right looked like it might be by Scarborough harbour and so it proved (see the then and now below!). This location at Sandside was popular with walkie photographers and Miss Bradbury was snapped here as a teenager in the walkie below.
Walkie two was taken on Blackpool Central Pier in the late Forties. The V1 display which featured on the pier just after the war (which can be seen on the site) has gone but the Bicycle ride is still there. This is a busy walkie scene; Miss Bradbury and her father are walking toward the cameraman, but you can see a queue of people behind them waiting their turn.
Lastly Miss Bradbury is back in Blackpool for walkie three, this time the North Pier, but with her boyfriend (or perhaps by now her husband) on her right (Uncle on her left?) rather than her parents. She also has a box camera of some sort with her and the patterned frock suggests early Fifties.
This unusual walkie came amongst a clutch of snapshots I purchased at the local flea market last week. There was an entire box full of photographs from a house clearance, all from the same family, but very little to identify them. My guess is the teenager in the middle is a Miss Bradbury, flanked by her parents. It looks like she cut their heads out to mount into some sort of oval frame, but kept the rest of the print. The Bradbury’s lived in the Huddersfield area – all the snapshot wallets were from the town – and holidayed across the UK. On this occasion it was Scarborough, where they were snapped by a walkie photographer down by the harbour at a place known as Sandside (which has featured here before) probably in the early Fifties.
Here’s another distinctive Sunny Snaps walkie. We grumble today about chuggers on the high street, but it would have been practically impossible to get out of the way of the cameraman on this bridge!
It was sent in by Tim O’Neill and as you can see there is no location given, but Tim told me it was taken on the footbridge which runs from from Shoreham-by-Sea over the River Adur estuary to Bungalow Town. In the background of the walkie you can see the truncated spire of St Mary de Haura in the town centre.
As I have walked the bridge myself in the past, I was fascinated to learn that walkie cameraman had staked it out before the war. It’s one of those slightly bohemian but now gentrifying spots, bungalows built around old railway carriages, and a row of run-down house boats tied to the edge of the river banks.
The clothes rather puzzled me until Tim explained that the lad was dressed in his school uniform (Brighton College), hence the straw boater: “It is my father, Seán O’Neill, born November 1920 so he is age15½ here. He is returning from college to Norfolk Lodge, Bungalow Town, Shoreham beach, in the summer of 1936. His parents (my grandparents) lived in Bungalow Town from 1904 to 1939/40 when they were evacuated because of fears that the Germans would use Shoreham as one of their invasion beaches.”
Given the shadows cast, the photo must have been taken mid-morning. I went to check it out on the web and discovered that this early concrete footbridge (shown in the photo below) has recently been demolished and replaced by a shiny new thing.
So yet another south coast Sunny Snaps location; perhaps the print was sold from one of the high street shops on the Shoreham end of the bridge? There is more about Sunny Snaps on the site and more photo by them in the book Go Home On A Postcard.