Boyds, Eastbourne and Hastings
Boyd’s Photo Stores (or sometimes Boyd Photos) operated a walking picture and street photo business in Eastbourne and Hastings, and this walkie is from their Hastings shop on Church Street, probably taken in the early Thirties. I struggled at first to match it to old photos of Hastings pier, which was largely destroyed by fire not long ago and has been rebuilt. Using a vintage photo we can see it was taken in the central part of the pier, I have marked the position; the building facade behind them has been changed, but the buildings down the middle and the dome all match nicely. So Boyd’s clearly had a license to operate on the pier itself.
The couple? Well, they are perhaps a little eccentric looking to our eyes. The photo was taken early morning (looking at the shadows and the rows of empty deckchairs), hence his muffler and beret. But Boyd’s caught up with the same pair later in the day and photographed them on the shingle beach in deckchairs. Even there he is wearing the same gear (and showing off his natty buckled shoes) but his wife has at least taken off her mac, otherwise she wouldn’t feel the benefit later.
The second half walkie image is from Eastbourne pier, taken just inside the entrance. Again the pier buildings suffered badly from fire damage not so long ago. Boyd had a kiosk on the pier where you could view and collect your portrait. As the ladies have head scarves it looks like a bit of a breezy day but they seem tickled by the experience. I think this photo dates from the late Forties.
The third image, a static portrait, is also by Boyd at Eastbourne and is from the Fifties (I have a dated photo of them as well as this), which shows us that the business ran for some years. Someone has written on the back “these three, found wandering at Eastbourne pier…”!
Eastbourne and Hastings are about twelve miles apart, so Boyd may have run labs in both towns at the same time but they may have started in Hastings before the war, then set up again in Eastbourne after the war was over. There is a reference to a family department store called Boyd’s in Eastbourne in the Fifties, so perhaps this was their main business and they ran a street photo operation there during the holiday season. They do not appear to have sold the prints as postcards, which probably explains why the name doesn’t turn up as often as some.
As always if anyone has any more information please drop us an email.
Austin’s operated a walkie business in Eastbourne in the 1950s, and are covered on this site.