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.
John Lawson sent me this example of a Benson’s walkie recently, which we suggest dates from around 1962. The walkie shows John’s Great Grandparents William and Jane Wandless and was taken on Sandside next to the harbour in Scarborough, Benson’s usual beat. There are more details of Benson’s Scarborough walking pictures business on the site and the firm also operated in Bridlington. Looking again at the examples I have, it is possible that Benson numbered their cards continuously over the years, as they are numbered from 7000 or so up to 50000+. It would be a great way to help date them if so and also shows us that the firm took over 50,000 photographs during their tenure.
We have looked at Benson’s on the site before. They operated in Bridlington and Scarborough post-WW2. This walkie is from the Scarborough office which was based on Sandside next to the harbour. It was sent to us by Joy Rawlings and shows her Grandmother Lillian Fox on the right (in the spotty dress) with two friends (Mrs. Duddle centre and Mrs. Jones, a neighbour, on the left) and her Grandfather John Fox in the background. I would think mid-1950s from the look of it. They have just passed the little fish market stalls (a newer version of them survives) and the previous lifeboat house on the end of Foreshore Road, which was only demolished in 2015. Amazingly Google Maps still has a glimpse of this view, see below, but on the rest of the map it has disappeared. You can read more about Bensons on the site. Thanks to Joy for the scan.
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.
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.
This unusual walkie came amongst a clutch of snapshots I purchased at the local flea market last week. There was an entire box full of photographs from a house clearance, all from the same family, but very little to identify them. My guess is the teenager in the middle is a Miss Bradbury, flanked by her parents. It looks like she cut their heads out to mount into some sort of oval frame, but kept the rest of the print. The Bradbury’s lived in the Huddersfield area – all the snapshot wallets were from the town – and holidayed across the UK. On this occasion it was Scarborough, where they were snapped by a walkie photographer down by the harbour at a place known as Sandside (which has featured here before) probably in the early Fifties.
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 great walkie catches three women on a morning’s shopping expedition, though we don’t know where, as there is simply not enough clues in the photograph. That seems to be a biggish department store they’re striding past, and we can date it to 1938 as one of them has written it on the back, with two names, Marjorie Nilson and Violet Sawyer. The other woman is simply identified as a “lady friend”. I assume that’s Violet in the centre, with the hard to miss V patterned dress.
A postcard sized print, and no firm named on the back, the three have clearly just spotted the camera in time to smile, but otherwise it’s a very typical unposed walkie portrait.
Just an update on one of the unidentified walkies I posted a few weeks back. When I looked more carefully there was a very faded pencil mark on the back of one, which looked like “Southsea, 1938”. I did some hunting on the web and think the two women were walking down Waverley Road towards the seafront and pier. Southsea is below Portsmouth.
The tops of two very distinctive buildings are visible in the 1938 view. It is almost impossible to get the same angle today but this is the only view which fits the architecture. Almost the whole street on the right has been redeveloped; originally a local branch line came down to a station here (Southsea East). This was shut in 1914 but much of it survived into the Fifties used by local businesses, and has only been replaced relatively recently.
The houses at the end of the street, where the ladies are, seem to have been pulled down to make room for a roundabout, and the shops on the left behind them have mostly been badly converted to low-rent accommodation. Back then there were a number of hotels further down the street (one now converted to a school) and this is perhaps what drew the walkie cameraman to a location which was clearly a lot busier then than it is now.