It’s the quiet nonchalance in this walkie which I like, a slow stroll down the promenade, with one lad just bouncing his rubberised swimming float about as the walkie was taken, inadvertently framing his head. It might be three generations of the family; two sons (one very dressed down in his beret and open top, the other seemingly in his school clothes, pen in top pocket, and a cap), father (with his box Brownie) and grandfather. The card is not identified; the shingle beach suggested southern England and there seems to be a photo kiosk on the left. The background closely matched a walkie I just found, which is by the firm of Mr. Snaps in Felixstowe and sure enough the location checked out, somewhere along Undercliffe Road. I’ve never been to Felixstowe, which to me was always a port, but it is also a large seaside resort and the smart promenade looks to be one of the longest in the country. I don’t know which firm took it, and it doesn’t match the format of those taken by Mr. Snaps (which are usually marked in any case). At some time somebody in the family has written a list of twenty breeds of dog in pencil on the back, perhaps as part of a quiz. I would think it’s from the Twenties.
Identifying this has since helped me locate a few more from my unknown walkies file, including this one above, which is clearly the same concrete slabbed promenade walk (still there and good as new). Again the firm is not given, but the couple are “Tommy and self…”, and it was taken on August 24th 1932 according to the lady who wrote on the back. It’s a very good photograph too, with the smartly dressed pair enjoying a brisk late morning walk. There are pin marks in the corner suggesting this was printed up and posted on a display board, where the couple went along later that day and bought it.
This later image below from the Frith collection shows the same promenade near the pier (which went in the Fifties, a new one has been opened recently). Mr. Snaps are included in our A to Z of walking picture firms.
Whilst my main interest is in the images, walking picture research on this site is providing information for family tree researchers, and we do get quite a few requests for help in identifying unknown walkies which we can sometimes solve. This walking picture is a case in point, sent to me by Annie Goldsen. She knew it showed her mother Mary, the young girl in the centre (aged 7), as well as Mary’s parents (her Mum in the sun visor hat) and her Grandmother, but was keen to know where they were holidaying. It was taken around 1935, and they were clearly off to the beach for a spot of cricket.
I like a challenge; at first I thought it might be Skegness as the white block building was quite like some buildings there, but I drew a blank. In the end it needed a potter through my archives from A – Z, and a match finally turned up in Worthing.
The postcard view below shows the exact spot the family were when the photographer pressed the shutter. The building in the background is amazingly still there, a sort of shelter, changing room and shop combined. Even the buses in the view match.
The walkie would have been one of a strip of three, the reference number is hand-written sideways down the frame edge.
It’s a lovely image, they all seem really happy and having seen him in advance smile for the photographer.
There are quite a few more Worthing walkies on the site if you use the search button.
This walking picture is just typical of hundreds of thousands, and turned up amongst some recent finds. As is often the case I’ve no idea who the couple are, or where it was taken – although the style of the lamp-post might provide a clue when I have the time. I just liked the slightly resigned expression on the gents face, and the tab hanging from the mouth Andy Capp style. His wife is looking more robust, and has kept her hairnet on so perhaps they’re on their way somewhere special. I’d think it was taken in the Forties, both by the fashions and the smaller print size.
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 Sunbeam were the premier walkie company in Margate, other firms did take photographs in the town and surrounding area. “Holiday Snaps” were one such business, based in Charlotte Place in Margate before WW2. They were certainly taking walking pictures in the early 1930s but like other firms, they did static portraits in the street as well. I found this example recently, taken on one of the bridges across the beach access routes.
It seems to be Mum and Dad, with their three sons, plus perhaps the children’s Gran and a family friend. It looks as if the photographer was based on the bridge, that’s probably the Holiday Snaps board just peeping into the left of the shot. What made the portrait for me though was the mongrel, which has strayed into shot, turned it’s back to the camera and raised it’s tail!
This little walking picture has been sitting in my ‘unidentified’ file for ages. The sweep of the beach had a feel of Blackpool about it but I couldn’t match it up to anything so put it to one side. Then the other day I was watching an episode of the BBC history of Wales series, and the helicopter cameraman swept along the coast at Aberystwyth. Something about the seafront development reminded me of this walkie, so I hunted about for photos online and realised I was on the right track. The old sea railings have gone but this old postcard confirmed them and the curious wooden gangway on the beach.
The cameraman must have been lurking around near the pierhead but there is nothing on the card to tell us who took it, or who it is, though at some time one of the women has dated it on the back in pencil 1939.
The photo has been torn off what may have been a sequence.
I did wonder what the white marks were on the left by the upright column; seagulls caught in mid-flight!