walking picture

Flat cap and turn-ups

An unidentified walking picture [WP867], it looks like the gent is out for a brisk constitutional on his own. It could be mid-1940s, but his outfit is pretty timeless! Pipe clamped firmly in mouth he’s not really looking at the camera but must surely have been aware of what was going on. The auto card number matches some from Margate walkie firms which might be a clue, again the H identifies the photographer to the darkroom staff back at base.

WP867-margate

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Waterloo walkie

This walkie [WP868] would be a hard one to locate but for two reasons; first I recognise it as Waterloo Road in Blackpool, having helped identify some walkies taken there in the past. And the lady in the centre has written “Blackpool June 1950” on the back in biro!

Walking picture, Waterloo Road, Blackpool June 1950. Mother, daughter on tricycle
It pre-dates the other Waterloo Road walkies (which you can see on the site here) by only a year or two, but were taken on a different camera.
Which just leaves us with one last puzzle, who is in the family group? I assume the lady on the far left is just caught up in the picture but perhaps the lad on the right (with his beach spade) is related.
They may be locals, it’s hard to imagine they would have travelled far with the tricycle which the little girl is understandably distracted by.


Ladies and gent…

Gentleman and four ladies, walking, 1940s

Two hard to identify walkies here (WP865, 866), but the Gentleman in the middle seems to be happy escorting the same four then five ladies around, twice on the same holiday. He’s even taken his tweed jacket AND overcoat off in the second frame! The prints are small, only around 3″ by 2″, and are quite soft. There is very little in the way of buildings to help tell us where it was taken, and only a pencil reference number on the back which suggests a small business.
The single decker bus might be a clue to an expert so let me know if you recognise it or the town, and I would imagine this to be late 1940s from the big shoulders on the left hand dress.

Gentleman and five ladies, walking, 1940s


Skegness pier

Skegness pier, 1920s, walking picture, Mother, father and daughter.

These two walking picture cards are not identified, nor are the people known. I think they are probably by the firm of Skeg Cards, set up in Skegness by Bert Jackson, as he had the rights to take walkies on the pier from around 1920 onwards. These certainly seem to date from that decade and are typical of the firm. They are also nice sharp images and show a good grasp of the technique needed to capture people on the move. The reference numbers have been written in black ink on the glass negative, and show up white on the prints.
That might be Mum, Dad and grown-up daughter in the top photo [WP869]. He seems laden with supplies perhaps for a sit down at the end of the pier (and is pursing his lips at the camera!), and Mum looks to have a Box camera as well. There is clear interest in what’s going on from a lady in the background, glancing back to watch the cameraman. The image was taken late morning. Many of the buildings behind have now gone (as has most of the pier), but the turreted block of flats top left is still there.

Skegness pier, 1920s, walking picture, Mother, father in wheelchair and daughter.
The second card [WP864] must have been taken around the same time, and shows older parents, with Daughter taking her invalided Dad out for a turn. Given the date, he might be a veteran of WW1. His name is Tom, and they were staying at 39 Drummond Road, a guest house in Skegness. He has written a short note of greeting to his relatives back home in pencil on the back. The address on Drummond Road is still a guest house, now called Ivydene, just off the main parade fronting the sea. I wonder if they keep their ‘comments’ books from this long ago?
There are more photographs from the pier in the Go Home On A Postcard book.


Sunbeam 1931

Sunbeam walking picture, easter 1931, couple, fur coat.

Dated walking pictures often prove useful in helping to determine when a Walking Picture business was operating, and also in putting a date to unmarked cards. This walkie is by the firm of Sunbeam, based in Margate. It shows “Auntie Annie and Uncle Harry” and was taken on the seafront on a breezy day (judging from his flapping coat and her tightly held furs) in Easter 1931, as they have written this in ink on the back.
As the reference number bottom left is still scratched into the negative we can reasonably assume that any cards which have the numbers on the negative done in pen or by machine post-date this. The E prefix refers to a particular photographer’s pitch, so he could be credited with the sale.
I do like the accidental composition on this photograph; Harry just a step or two ahead of his wife, the cameraman has caught them in mid-stride, no chance to collect themselves and pose. He only had a moment for them to be just in focus.
Sunbeam was an important firm and probably the largest Walking Picture business in the UK at one point. It was established around 1919 and was still taking walkies into the 1960s. Their history is covered on the site.
Photo : courtesy Easy On The Eye.


Grand Parade

Skegness-grand-parade

The walking picture firm of Wrates are covered on the site, but this seems to be quite an early hand numbered example of their work as the back print does not mention their Harrington Road studio or the Pier kiosk. It turned up recently, I would think it dates from the 1920s and shows two elderly but imposing ladies pottering past the entrance to the Tower Gardens on The Grand Parade in Skegness one morning. They are wearing fashions from an earlier to the photographer era, which perhaps make it look even older than it is. Despite their seeming indifference they must have taken a ticket a few seconds later and gone back to the kiosk in the afternoon to buy the print!

skegness-Wrates-postcard-back


Blackpool girls

Blackpool-walkie-snaps

From one of the three Blackpool piers (my money is on the South Pier), another walkie from Blackpool company Walkie Snaps. This is a pre-War example, identified by the film sprockets showing on the right hand side, their layout at the time. The print is 3″ by 4″ approx and would have been a strip of three. The two girls are enjoying an early afternoon stroll judging from the shadows, other holiday-makers are taking a post-lunch rest in the shelter on the left!
There is some history about Walkie Snaps on the site (although for such a prolific walkie firm not much is yet known) and more examples of their photos in the book Go Home On A Postcard.


From Workington

workington

This walking picture is a long way technically from being a great photograph but it captures a tiny moment in time so well; two young women with a new baby out walking with their pram on a blustery day, you would think it was just taken by a friend – except it has the giveaway print reference number on the back. One of the women has written their home address on the back, 3 Howgill Cottages, Low Road. This is a rural road in Brigham outside Workington in Cumbria, but I cannot locate the house. Not do we know for sure where it was taken, though one of the North West resorts seems likely, perhaps Morecambe (could that be the Midland Hotel – 1933 – going up in the distance?).
Despite the poor print, what seems to be double exposure, chemical marks and the lack of detail (it’s only 2″ by 3″ but may have been one of a pair), they clearly enjoyed having it taken and bought the print as a souvenir of the day.


Busy Aberdeen

aberdeen front

Scottish walkies are not seen so often, but the trade was active there and this walking picture turned up recently, taken in Union Street, Aberdeen in September 1947, the details recorded on the back by one of the two women in the photograph. This suggests a local photographer making a living throughout the year, as it’s beyond any sort of holiday season (I have seen a Skegness walkies dated as late as October.) The road is the main shopping street in the town, and unwittingly the image gives a real insight into the bustling nature of the thoroughfare, with a horse and cart, cars, cycles and buses (there are tram tracks too) all passing the camera, and there is a slightly misty atmosphere to the photo which I like. Although people on holiday might have expected to be photographed in the street, the look of puzzlement particularly in the lady on the right suggests this was not the case here.

Union Street Aberdeen

The view is still very recognisable today in the shot above although the cobbles have gone and it is hard to replicate the foreshortening in the original image. The two women are just passing what is still Jamieson & Carry’s jewellery shop on the left (the firm have been on this site since 1925 although that’s a fairly recent move, they were established in 1733!).

Frustratingly there are no photographer details on the back beyond the ubiquitous frame number. The only other firm I know operating in the town was Movie Snaps, who also took smaller walkies here and in other Scottish locations in the late 1930s but seem to have closed when the War started.