Ideal, Folkestone / Deal, Kent

Ideal Photos and Ideal Pictures, two similarly named walking picture firms working close by each other, but it’s difficult to know if they were linked and so far these are the only examples of their output I have seen.


Ideal Photos were based at the Promenade in Folkestone, Kent, and supplied postcard sized prints to their customers in the early Sixties.  The building on the cliff top in the background is the famous Leas Cliff Hall, so the photo must have been taken below on the seaside promenade to the east of this. It’s a little out of focus too, I suspect taken on a 35mm camera.

Apart from this we know nothing about Ideal Photos, except for the details on the back of the print added using a rubber stamper. Nor do we know anything about the two women in the walkie, although they look like Mother and Daughter (the pockets on her dress are amazing!).


Ideal Pictures were working not far away in Deal, and are also new to us. This great walkie above was found by Paul Godfrey, and shows a young couple outside the Clarendon Hotel, which is just by the pier entrance in Deal. Built in 1763, the building at 51 / 55 Beach Street is still very recognisable today and is now back as a hotel too, although the ornate balcony has gone. The couple look very smart and from the button hole in his jacket lapel, it’s possible they are newly married. This is a little earlier than the Folkestone walkie, probably late Thirties, and the photographer was more experienced as well by the look of it.  The negative has a hand penned reference number down the side, and the firm’s name is printed on the back of the paper.

There was a walking picture firm working in Deal in the 1940s after the war too. Their prints are half postcard size but not marked on the back at all. Whether it was Ideal Snaps returning to the trade after the War I don’t know. I have two examples (one is dated August 1946) and they are both very sharp and were I think taken with a 35mm camera, possibly a Leica. They were difficult to identify as the Beach Hotel in the background on these has since been pulled down for a pub car-park for the Port Arms next door while the other has been wrongly identified by the owner as Skegness on the back which didn’t help, still the memory can play tricks!
If anybody has any further examples please get in touch.