Piers

Seaside piers were popular with walking picture cameramen as they offered a steady stream of potential customers coming and going throughout the day.  The rights to take photographs would have been obtained from the owner of the pier, normally an annual license, rather than the council.  It is not always possible to identify the locations of pier walkies as there is not enough detail in the close ups, but some are named and others can be confirmed by comparing to known sites.  So I thought I would put these into a subsection for people interested in the history of piers. The example below is from Torquay. If you search for “pier” there are other postings.

Torquay Pier

Torquay Pier entrance, 1931

Torquay was home to a number of walking photographers, most notably Remingtons, but they were generally taken on the sea-front walks. This is the first walkie I have found taken on Princess Pier in the town. There is no firm given on the print, which is postcard format albeit an inch or so smaller, but it has been dated 1931 on the back in pencil which is always useful. Clearly the couple out for a stroll, or perhaps off to catch a show at the small pier head venue, have spotted the camera but as always it still results in a very natural portrait. The camera is not too close, and I wonder if he was trying to frame the people in the curious lattice work archway at the entrance to the pier. This curious structure was not part of the pier when it opened, but added later. Some histories suggest it was metal but my money would be on timber looking at some of the wear and tear near the base. The designer appears to have included two diving platforms into the right hand support, so adventurous folk could plunge into the harbour and seemingly climb back up the ladder. Happily the subjects of this photo appear to have more sense!
I do not know when the arch was taken down. This postcard view gives a wider angle and shows the arch and pier looking out to sea (and what seems to be a bowling green and club house on the right) and you can see the pier head buildings which were destroyed by fire in the Seventies (the pier itself has had a lot of restoration work in recent decades). I have marked where our couple would have been when the walkie was taken.

Torquay pier 1920s

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