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Benson’s Scarborough

Scarborough-Bensons, Sandside, Harbour, walking picture

John Lawson sent me this example of a Benson’s walkie recently, which we suggest dates from around 1962.  The walkie shows John’s Great Grandparents William and Jane Wandless and was taken on Sandside next to the harbour in Scarborough, Benson’s usual beat.  There are more details of Benson’s Scarborough walking pictures business on the site and the firm also operated in Bridlington.  Looking again at the examples I have, it is possible that  Benson numbered their cards continuously over the years, as they are numbered from 7000 or so up to 50000+.  It would be a great way to help date them if so and also shows us that the firm took over 50,000 photographs during their tenure.

Scarborough-Bensons, Sandside, Harbour, walking picture

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School photos

school photo hand coloured 1939

Many people will remember the specialist school photographers, who would visit once a year usually and photograph pupils. I seem to remember it was individual and form photos at junior school (b/w in my day), then the whole year posing outside for a group picture at senior school. Kids would be sent home with a leaflet for parents to choose (and pay for) a print.
I picked this item up as I’m interested in the use of hand colouring on prints prior to the widespread introduction of affordable colour photography. For a time pre-War these ever so slightly hand coloured postcards were one of the options for parents, and I’ve found a number of them from the late Thirties. Here the postcard is additionally set in a paper frame with a calendar attached. As this starts in January, I assume the photos were taken in the winter term to enable parents to get some organised as Christmas gifts for relatives.
As someone pointed out, 1939 turned out to be something of a momentous year and this example must have been stuck in a drawer and never used. The boy in the photo looks like he’d be young enough to not have to join up, one can’t be so sure about his Dad.

Snakeskin handbag

1920s fashion, hats, snakeskin handbag, seaside, two ladies, walkingWP853-B

These two cheerful looking ladies clearly went on holiday together quite frequently judging from a small pile of walkies I found at a market stall recently, probably from a house clearance. Although they are seen with a small child in some (and perhaps grandchildren in others) and husbands, mostly they were photographed together by the walkie cameraman. The majority of the walkies were taken in Skegness after the War, and one in Margate in the Fifties (when the lady on the left seems to be on her own more) but these two sets here I cannot identify, although I do have others taken on the same spot, so it would be good if anyone does know where it is.
Theses walkies were of the type taken on a converted movie camera and sold as a strip of three, but they were cut into individual frames later by the owners and one is missing from each. I think they were probably taken on the same holiday (judging by the tree in the background which hasn’t changed!), and the lady on the right has a very sharp imitation snake skin pattern handbag in both sets. The rough frame edge of the enlarger is also identical on the final frame in both cases.
Date wise one of the Skegness photos is identified as August 1932, but the women look a little younger in these walkies, so possibly 1929, 1930? The then fashionable beret which suddenly appears in one set might have been a holiday buy…
It seems a popular spot, with people perhaps coming up a slight hidden incline in the background to the seafront from town, and you can see half a dozen people in the background in the scene below waiting their turn to walk toward the camera.

1920s fashion, beret hats, snakeskin handbag, seaside, two ladies, walkingWP852-D

Sunny Snaps in London

London Sunny Snaps Isabella Norwell, 1949

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.

Boyd Photos

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.

Boyds photos, Church Street, Hastings

 

Bensons, Scarborough

Walking picture Foreshore Road Scarborough

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.

Scarborough lifeboat house

more pigeons

Pigeons feeding, trafalgar square, London, 1950s.

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.

Another walkie

Walking picture, 1940s, older couple, promenade

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.

Butlin Holiday Picture

Butlin Holiday Picture, August 1948, two teenage boys

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.