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.
I’m not sure where this ‘Movember’ craze all began but scanning this photograph the other day I felt it more than fitted the theme.
This Edwardian portrait was taken in Folkestone in August 1908, probably at a cheap indoor seaside photograph studio. The lady has moved slightly during the exposure (there don’t appear to be any clamps for holding heads straight in the studio) and is a little out of focus as a result, but the resulting image has a nice relaxed feel to it. The gentleman in particular, with his waxed moustache, loose (and very short, but still clipped in place) tie, and cap seems very at ease. You can imagine him setting off for a cycle ride dressed like this.
The couple also had a sense of humour, one of them has written “Types of English beauty!” on the back before sending it to friends or family.
The print has been processed quite quickly, you can see the fingerprints of the darkroom assistant in some places where he or she hasn’t washed all the chemical off their hands. I do like the slightly impressionistic flower backdrop being used too.
This unusual walking picture pair came to me recently through Ron Cosens. The walkies were taken by a firm called Wardoura Motion Picture, which is neatly rubber stamped on the back of each frame. They were clearly taken by a converted movie camera, a format used by several walkie firms, probably around 1932. But the cameraman has had time to capture the couple twice as they walked down the pavement, and they bought both strips.
On the whole of the internet I can find only one other reference to a Wardoura walkie, which says it was taken in a place called Bowinemouth. The owner thinks this is in Australia, but there are a couple of vintage references – one from 1927 – to a place called Bowinemouth in Dorset. However I cannot find any recent references for the place name, so at the moment it has to remain unknown. As for the name Wardoura, it does have a vaguely Australian feel about it but equally might be playing on Wardour Street, the film centre of London before the War. As always if anyone can shed any light on this walkie please get in touch.
Since I first posted this I have animated the frames to give us an idea of the encounter with the cameraman over ninety years ago. You can see this posted on the site.
Empire Films took walkies in Clacton On Sea during the Thirties, and we have added a short history of the firm to our site.
So far I’ve been able to push walking pictures back to 1913, which is the earliest positively dated card I have found. This pair turned up recently at a flea market, and look very much like early commercial walking pictures (rather than someone snapping a friend with a Box Brownie!). Although there is no obvious reference number, the scowl of the woman and the disinterested look of her companion does not suggest they knew the photographer. But if it is an early walkie, perhaps they were yet to get used to the experience. In contrast the gentleman in the other walkie looks bemused by it all, with a smile on his face.
Dating images like this is never easy, the quality of the photos in not great to begin with and they are quite small (2.5″ by 3.5″). But a check on fashion history sites suggests that the woman’s hat, which has a clearly arched brim and domed top, was in vogue for a short time around 1917-1919, so that could give us a reasonable date for the photos.
I was not able to pin-point the coastal town myself, but Simon Potter has confirmed this as sunny Eastbourne.
Four walkie pictures turned up recently with the same two women in them. They do look very much like sisters. As the photos were found (and one taken) in Sheffield, I assume one of the ladies was a resident of the city so couldn’t resist a bit of detective work. The photo on the right has the date and ‘Blackpool’ in biro, which gave me a starting clue.
Thanks to Tony Sharkey at the Blackpool Archives, we know two of the photographs were taken on Waterloo Road in Blackpool, which is a main route east west ending at the sea-front. The photo was taken just 250m from Blackpool South railway station (which was originally called Waterloo Road), so the photographer had picked a street which would have been thronged with day trippers anxious to get to the promenade. As we think the women lived in Sheffield, they would probably have journeyed from there to Manchester, then changed for Blackpool.
The photographs, which are 21/2 by 31/2 inches, date from 1951 (Monday October 8th – written in biro on the back) and 1952. Both women have very smart Fifties coats on (compare them to the less fashionable coat being worn by the woman behind them!).
On the other side of the road you can just make out the main Blackpool post-office (which is still there, albeit abandoned by the GPO of course). At first glance you would think the pictures were taken on the same holiday, but there is building work being done on the post office in one, and not the other. So the walkie cameraman must have had his pitch here, close to the Bull Hotel pub, for a couple of seasons at least. The scene today on this spot is not very different.
Tony says he’s seen a lot of walkies taken on this spot, but it’s a first for me. I did find one on the web from the early 1940s (see below) but in the main I suspect they are not easy to identify as there is no company name on the back. So unless someone has captioned them on the back it would be hard to tell where they were taken. Most Blackpool walkies I’ve seen were taken on one of the three piers or on the Promenade by firms like Walkie Snaps (see some examples on the site here).
It is not impossible that the photographer is still around, he would be in his mid-eighties. Be great to have a chat. The women? Well the taller sister got married in 1956, we know as she kept a walkie if herself and her husband on their honeymoon in Scarborough! She became Mrs Milner, but after that we have no more clues.
This walkie is clearly a more organised affair than most. Probably the group of firends were approached on the walkway near-by in the usual way by the cameraman but arranged to have a full group shot all in a line, so needed space to sort themselves out before walking toward the camera. The location is easily recognisable by the ornate lattice cupola, which crops up in many walkies taken by Sunbeam in Margate. This was in the grounds of The Bungalow Tea Rooms in the Cliftonville area, above Palm Bay. Sunbeam seem to have had a kiosk in part of the building for a time too. The grounds also had a small open air dance area just to the right of the photo. This rather nice postcard view below shows the complex in it’s heyday, and the walkie people were more or less exactly where the three children are playing in the postcard. The only unanswered question of course is why “Bungalow”? I’m guessing, but there does seem to be an older single storey building on the right which may have been the original bungalow prior to all the extensions. It was needless to say all demolished in the 1970s. There is more about Sunbeam on the site, and if you put Sunbeam into the search box on the right, several other cards will be shown.
The card was loaned to me by Ellen Ryan in America, along with others taken by the firm. Some will appear in the Going Home On A Postcard book. Thanks to Ellen for her help on this project.
Following on from the page about Sunny Snaps in Worthing, I found this card. It’s a great image, the two young women (sisters by the look of it) in trouser skirts striding purposefully along, looking directly at the camera. As the card is only marked South Coast, I’d be stuck for the location but happily one of the women posted the card (perhaps to their parents, Mr and Mrs Marks, in Ashford) and this shows it to be sent from Worthing. Even better, the card writer comments directly about the photograph being taken: “We seem to have collected a few of these ghastly things so you are obviously doomed to have one. Actually we did not know it was being taken or it would not be sent to you looking as grim as this! “
Grim or not, Wilks and Epps (nicknames it’s hard to decipher over seventy years later) obviously dropped by to see it on display and overcame what sounds like a slightly middle-class view of walkies enough to buy it, and others taken on the same holiday.
I can just make out some signs for Kodak and Selo Films on the shop front behind them, so perhaps Sunny Snaps was operating from this location as well.