Two hard to identify walkies here (WP865, 866), but the Gentleman in the middle seems to be happy escorting the same four then five ladies around, twice on the same holiday. He’s even taken his tweed jacket AND overcoat off in the second frame! The prints are small, only around 3″ by 2″, and are quite soft. There is very little in the way of buildings to help tell us where it was taken, and only a pencil reference number on the back which suggests a small business.
The single decker bus might be a clue to an expert so let me know if you recognise it or the town, and I would imagine this to be late 1940s from the big shoulders on the left hand dress.
Back to Miss Bradbury! We posted a cut-out walkie with her on here recently. Going through her snapshots a number of walkies emerged, and seem to cover both her and her husband’s holidays over a twenty year period or more. Here are three more. I might have assumed the first to be just a family snapshot except it has the ‘Walking Picture’ backprint. It looks to be late Thirties to me, the dress pattern on what I assume to be proud Mum is very vivid, and it probably qualifies more as a just learned to walkie! The location didn’t have many clues but I thought the arched gable on the right looked like it might be by Scarborough harbour and so it proved (see the then and now below!). This location at Sandside was popular with walkie photographers and Miss Bradbury was snapped here as a teenager in the walkie below.
Walkie two was taken on Blackpool Central Pier in the late Forties. The V1 display which featured on the pier just after the war (which can be seen on the site) has gone but the Bicycle ride is still there. This is a busy walkie scene; Miss Bradbury and her father are walking toward the cameraman, but you can see a queue of people behind them waiting their turn.
Lastly Miss Bradbury is back in Blackpool for walkie three, this time the North Pier, but with her boyfriend (or perhaps by now her husband) on her right (Uncle on her left?) rather than her parents. She also has a box camera of some sort with her and the patterned frock suggests early Fifties.
Derby appears to have had quite a long tradition of walking picture photographers (Spotlight Photos were certainly active here in the 1930s), and this latest find pushes that run through into 1948 – the date scrawled in pencil on the back. Sadly the owner gives no more information, and the photographer was not named on the back, so I was about to add it to the ‘unknown’ file when I noticed the public transport vehicle in the background.
Now bus enthusiasts are second only to train enthusiasts in seeking to nail the history of their chosen hobby, so I did a blow-up of the bus. To my surprise it looked to be a trolley-bus, a now largely forgotten form of bus which combined the flexibility of the ordinary bus with the eco-credentials of the electric tram.
I hunted down the British Trolleybus Society on the net and sent off my rather blurry image. Within 24 hours, Dave Hall, their archivist, was back in touch to tell me the bus was undoubtedly one of the Derby transport fleet, and looked to be on route 66 which came into the city across the river and ran south out to the suburb of Allenton.
This chimed with the likelihood that the walkie photographer would pick a busy central street to operate, so I checked the maps. Derby centre appears to have been massively pedestrianised so no street views were available, but I did a search for old pictures of St. Peter’s Street which was on the trolleybus route. Sure enough a nice view of the street, with a trolleybus in view, confirmed the hunch.
City centre walkies have a very different atmosphere to their holiday based cousins, and these two gents appear to be walking down the street together, the one in front saying something back over his shoulder to his companion, but it’s hard to be certain.