This walking picture is full of life, and looks to be a father having bought his two excited children presents – hard not to imagine it’s a football for the lad under all that brown paper and string. They seem to be walking past a large railway station (there is a big Way In sign in the background) and the feel is of London, but I cannot identify it. The poster hoardings are just too blurred to make anything exact out beyond an advert for Empire Tea. Clearly reasonably well off, his Homburg hat contrasts with the Bowler hat seen in the background, and together with daughter’s smart headwear suggests late 1920s for the date.
It is a postcard sized print (“British Made”!) with a pencil note for the ticket reference on the back, but the frame is printed with quite a large border on all four sides. If anyone can ID the station do get in touch. That might be the letter L of LMS top left, but if so I cannot match this to either Euston or St. Pancras, their London main stations.
This walking picture strip was a few pence and I do find these consecutive images interesting so picked it up without paying much attention. On closer examination it may actually be from a French holiday resort; the back has the French type of layout and the words ‘carte postale’ which is a bit of a clue, but the curious beach tents also look foreign. Otherwise the scene is very much as many British resorts, and shows us that walking pictures were popular everywhere. Of added interest for me was the glimpse of the walking picture kiosk top right, with a couple of people studying walkies pinned to the display. I’ve had a go at animating it, and you can see other animations on the site on the video page.
These two walking picture cards are not identified, nor are the people known. I think they are probably by the firm of Skeg Cards, set up in Skegness by Bert Jackson, as he had the rights to take walkies on the pier from around 1920 onwards. These certainly seem to date from that decade and are typical of the firm. They are also nice sharp images and show a good grasp of the technique needed to capture people on the move. The reference numbers have been written in black ink on the glass negative, and show up white on the prints.
That might be Mum, Dad and grown-up daughter in the top photo [WP869]. He seems laden with supplies perhaps for a sit down at the end of the pier (and is pursing his lips at the camera!), and Mum looks to have a Box camera as well. There is clear interest in what’s going on from a lady in the background, glancing back to watch the cameraman. The image was taken late morning. Many of the buildings behind have now gone (as has most of the pier), but the turreted block of flats top left is still there.
The second card [WP864] must have been taken around the same time, and shows older parents, with Daughter taking her invalided Dad out for a turn. Given the date, he might be a veteran of WW1. His name is Tom, and they were staying at 39 Drummond Road, a guest house in Skegness. He has written a short note of greeting to his relatives back home in pencil on the back. The address on Drummond Road is still a guest house, now called Ivydene, just off the main parade fronting the sea. I wonder if they keep their ‘comments’ books from this long ago?
There are more photographs from the pier in the Go Home On A Postcard book.
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.
I posted these walkies some months ago, which remain a mystery – nobody so far seems to know where Wardoura Motion Pictures operated. Anyhow, I have had a go at animating the two strips to bring them to life a little and give us an idea of the camera operator at work. You can see the original post on the site.
This walkie caught my eye both as it is a good composition and also because it added yet another walkie firm to my growing list, with around 150 walkie firms now identified. This one is by Edwin F Fox, who were based at 51 Aberdeen Road in Scarborough when this walkie was taken by them. This is one of the main streets running into the centre of the city, and both the Fox walkies I’ve seen were taken in the street rather than down on the seafront, although I’ve not been able to pinpoint where it was taken yet (contact us if you have an idea). The image looks to date from the 1920s. There was an Edwin F Fox based in York, and listed on some web pages as one of the pioneers of photography. It seem likely it is either the same person expanding into the coastal town for extra business, or a son. The main rival walkie firm in the town were North Bay Snaps, covered on the site,
It’s difficult to be sure if the five children are locals, or visitors – both the boys have school outfits on but this was often kept as best wear for trips out. Two of the girls have macintoshes on which suggests parents worrying about the likelihood of rain.
What amazed me is that despite the decline of photography shops in the digital age, there is still a photo shop at Number 51 Aberdeen Road, albeit providing in-store colour printers to out-put your digital camera snaps on.
One of tens of thousands of images taken on the ‘pullover’ between Mablethorpe High Street, over the dunes, and on to the promenade. Read more about this popular spot for Walking Pictures on the site here.
Although walkies were large part of seaside photographer’s income, they would turn their hand to other types of informal outdoor portraits. Crowd scene seem to have been very popular, both with the photographer (who could count on a number of sales from the same image) and clearly by the looks of it the people in the photo.
I have yet to get a proper handle on these crowd views. It’s tempting to suggest they were large groups of people from one town all together on a day trip, but nothing here confirms this. Perhaps photographers stood on a stepladder, set up their gear and then had an assistant round people up for the photo? Either way they are really interesting images, and seem to date mostly from the early 1920s, in this case October 1st 1921. It seems unlikely tickets would be handed out, so the crowd were perhaps directed to a kiosk later in the day. If anybody has any further information please get in touch
This card was taken by Bailey, a seaside photography business based in Bournemouth at the quaintly named Glenn Fern Studio, and at 228A Old Christchurch Road. From what I have seen they also photographed passengers on boat trips and people sat on the beach in deckchairs. The company story is featured on the site here.
A little quiet yelp in a collectors shop in Hull recently puzzled my brother who was bemused by my excitement over a seemingly insignificant piece of paper ephemera. He was none the wiser when I explained I’d never seen a photographic wallet from the walking picture firm of Snaps in Bridlington before. For as well as their busy trade in walkies and other types of seaside photography, the firm also did develop and print work for visitors to the resort. These would be returned inside the usual card wallets, negatives in one side, the prints in the other. It looks to date from the early 1920s, judging by the typography and also the way the wallet has been stitched together rather than folded and glued (It would be interesting to know when this technique was abandoned, I have some 78 rpm sleeves which are also stitched rather than glued.)
The story of Snaps walking pictures (and a photo of the building) is on the site here.