Sunfilms walking picture Clacton

Walking picture taken in Clacton by Sunfilms, 1930s

Another walking pictures business which appears to have flourished during the lte 1920s and into the 30s, but about which little is documented.
Sunfilms took strips of three consecutive walking images using a converted movie camera (more about this type of camera can be found on the Barkers pages). These strips are quite distinctive due to a bold stencil logo at the top. However the frames are otherwise unmarked, so once cut up it hard to identify who took them.

Sunfilms walking picture Clacton

Sunfilms walking picture taken at the top of Pier Avenue, Clacton

Happily some people made notes on the backs of their Sunfilms frames which shows they were probably based in Clacton On Sea.  This has helped identify a location on the busy junction of Pier Avenue, West Avenue and Station Road in Clacton. Pier Avenue led down to the seafront (and obviously the pier!) and was probably lined then (as now) by amusements and gift shops.  Many Sunfilms photos show an imposing building in the background, the Central Hotel (currently a Vodaphone outlet).

The former Central Hotel, Clacton, seen in many Sunfilms walkies

The former Central Hotel, Clacton, seen in many Sunfilms walkies

Other evidence shows they had an associated company on The Isle of Wight, and also took photos in  Bournemouth,
At the top of the Sunfilms strips was a white bar onto which the lab staff could write a reference number.  Later they used an automatic numbering device in camera which shows up on the prints.

This frame shows the automatic numbering system.  Location not identified.

This frame shows the automatic numbering system. Location not identified.

Sunfilms appear to have run into financial difficulties because in 1933 Kodak Ltd brought action against the company, one assumes for non-payment of bills for paper and / or film. As a result of this Sunfilms was voluntarily wound up. As there is a record from 1948 of Sunfilms going into voluntary liquidation this suggests the business was restarted in some way, although of course they may not have been active for all that time.

Sunfilms Clacton

Complete strips are like movie out-takes. Location not identified.

The only other firm I know operating in Clacton was Empire Films, who also took strips of walkies and static photos on the steamers which operated from the pier during the 1930s.  Empire Films prints were all marked with their name on the back.


3 responses

  1. Lindsay

    I have some family pictures taken by Sunfilms in Bognor in the 30s

    February 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm

  2. Denys

    I have a single “SUNFILMS” that appears to be in the 1920’s and I believe in Bournemouth.

    February 11, 2017 at 7:11 am

  3. Pingback: Mystery church | Go Home On A Postcard • Vintage seaside photography

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