Walkies from coastal resorts are very much more common than our cities. Walking picture businesses did operate in many cities but far fewer examples seem to turn up. There could be several reasons: City walkies might have sold less well, as people were just going abut their day to day business and not in a holiday mood. The trade in cities might not have continued so long and many surviving city walkies are of the strip type, so have been cut up, dispersed and lost where seaside postcards survive.
Certainly finding walkies for my home city of Sheffield has proved very difficult, but here are a few, three taken in the same spot.
The first shot is a nice find, and was loaned to me by the small child in the picture, Ken Hawley. We think Ken was about 8, and is with his Grandfather Frederick Gould. It would be taken around 1935. The cameraman is positioned directly outside Sheffield Town Hall, looking down towards the corner of Fargate and Pinstone Street. Ken is well known in the city, having gone on to open Hawley’s Tools in the 1950s, the best tool shop in the city. In later years Ken began collecting and researching the manufacture of tools and his internationally famous collection is now managed by the Ken Hawley Trust in Sheffield.
Ken does remember the camera being on a tripod, and this is clearly one of a three frame sequence.
The woman in the angled hat was also photographed outside the Town Hall. The building immediately behind her head is still there. I’m making a guess here, but maybe this photograph was taken during 1935 (King George’s V Jubilee) or 1937 (George V1 coronation). Looking closely there is clearly bunting on a lot of the buildings, and you can even see the shadow of more bunting in the foreground.
The strip of three is a great find. Again taken in the same spot – notice the white building to the right in the background, seen on the other image. Given the location, and the light coming from the right (or east) we can tell that it was taken mid-morning. Hard to be sure of the man’s standing in life. The hat shows pretensions, but the jacket and waistcoat appear well-worn. I have a single frame of the same gent taken on another day, which is a lot less clear. I have found an earlier postcard image of the spot, and the red triangle shows roughly the area covered by the images. Today the view is fairly similar, although the area has largely been pedestrianised and some of the minor buildings replaced.
The last strip is a bit of a mystery. I’m pretty certain it is Sheffield. I bought it here and the tram in the background matches those in known Sheffield shots. Yet locating where it was taken has so far eluded me. The iron railings probably disappeared during the war which don’t help. It looks like the cameraman was hidden from view by the gents disappearing away on the right. Husband had however clearly seen what was going on and gives him a real ‘coat of looking at’ as he strides along, while his wife seems unaware until perhaps the last frame. The strip has been cut up but somehow the frames all survive.
No information about the firms behind these images has so far come to light. The local paper in planning to run these and other walking picture images and perhaps this will unearth some more examples.
I have added some more walkies of Sheffielders on holiday to the site.
UPDATE – The people at http://www.SheffieldHistory.co.uk have been debating the last set of images and their consensus is that they were taken in the front of the Cathedral in Church Street. The old photo below taken on the same spot confirms. Thanks for this! Amazingly (for Sheffield) most of the buildings here are still standing, though there is now a large tram platform where the railings were.