Here’s another really atmospheric walking picture taken by the firm of Sunny Snaps in our capital city. The firm continues to throw questions up about how it operated, particularly in London. It was scanned for us by Gary Wade, who was especially interested to see if we knew where it was taken. The answer was no, however like him we spotted the familiar London Underground logo (designed in 1913 by Edward Johnston) in the background, on a fairly distinctive post-WW2 building. So I sent it over to District Dave’s London Transport forum, and sure enough Richard there quickly identified it as Leicester Square tube station, at the end of Charing Cross Road.
The Sunny Snaps photographer was stood on the now pedestrianised part of Cranbourne Street outside the Hippodrome (then a music hall and variety theatre, now a casino complex), you can just see the awning above their doorway in the top left. Although it’s an overcast day, what little shadow there is gives it as around mid-day, so the gentleman may have been on a trip to the newspaper stand in his lunch-hour (he doesn’t look like a tourist or visitor), and is striding towards Leicester Square itself. I suspect by the wry look on his face he has noticed the camera, but is looking away, which suggests they were not an uncommon sight. Having said that he took his ticket and ordered a print. The date is very hard to read, but looks to be 1939.
I have been doing a bit of digging around and have now identified a few more Sunny Snaps locations in London; one of their cameramen worked on Park Parade in Harlesden between 1934 and 1937. A Sunny Snaps postcard taken near Shepherd’s Bush tube station is documented and Ladbroke Grove has been identified as another site where they worked in 1935. They also snapped away on Lewisham High Street just after WW2. Hopefully more will come to light or be identified. As always I’d welcome any information on the company itself.
It’s hard to get the exact view on street map, but the screen shot below is not too far off, the building on the right is a replacement.
More updated details on Sunny Snaps history can be found on the site.
Just a regular post-WW2 walkie, this one dated 1951. Not as good technically as pre-War work, and probably machine developed and printed. It’s anonymous, but the owner scribbled on the back in fountain pen “Self, Tommy, Peter, Dalia” and the location, “Bournemouth, Summer 1951” For once however we can discover a bit more about “self”, the gentleman on the left in the strange coat, as this was rescued from a skip earlier in the year along with more material, including quite a few walkies dating back to the 1920s. Read the story and see more images on the site.
Two surviving frames from a movie camera walking picture strip, with Mum, Dad and what may be identical twin daughters, but where it was taken eludes me, although the distinctive Georgian houses behind them may be familiar to someone. As was often the case, the daughters are wearing their school blazers as “best”, and all four have taken off heavy coats suggesting the weather is taking turn for the better. It probably dates from around 1932.
Another nice complete Sunfilms walking picture strip from the late 1920s. Although the firm worked mostly around Clacton, they also had operators elsewhere (including the Isle of Wight). I cannot identify the location here. However that does seem to be a viewing area to the right, probably looking out to sea. If it rings a bell with anyone please get in touch. As with other strips like this I have also had a go at animating the strip, and also added a bit of colour. There is more information about Sunfilms on the site, and more examples in the book Go Home On A Postcard.
I am struggling to find any clues as to where this walking picture was taken. The camera is obviously very close on the pavement to the two young women, one of whom looks very puzzled as to what is going on. It looks like a parade of shops perhaps leading down to the beach, and some of the architectural features to me have the feel of a South Coast town like Brighton. Beret’s were obvious in fashion that summer at any rate. If anything rings a bell do let me know!
You cannot argue with that, as this couple stroll down Lumley Road in Skegness towards the esplanade and beach one August lunchtime. He has the popular white leisure shoes, regulation ciggie in one hand, and rolled up paper, and she has bathing gear wrapped in a towel. What makes this informal walking picture find useful is that has been dated in pen August 1933 on the back, with Wrate’s Harrington Gardens address printed on as well, which helps us pin down their move to open a new studio there and other similar cards by the firm. The history of Wrates is covered on this site and more examples of their excellent walkies appear in the book Go Home On A Postcard. It is very difficult to replicate the shot today as so many of the old houses have long since been coveted into shops and amusements.
The ladies from our earlier post (below) carried on buying their walkie portraits after the War; here are three more from the same small collection. Because of the tree lined street (and the fact they usually holidayed in the town) I assumed they were taken in Skegness, but looking more closely I found it hard to work out exactly where and decided they must be somewhere else. The only clues were what looked like the word “Dolphin” above the window on the building in the background, and a fuzzy cafe name on the gable end of the buildings on the far left in the photo below. This looked like “The Clee Cafe”; as The Clee is the name of the old fishing area of what became the town of Cleethorpes, that showed me where to look.
A hunt located the Dolphin Hotel and showed the ladies were walking down Sea Road, which links the centre of Cleethorpes to the promenade and the station. A photo from the time online shows exactly where the cameraman was working.
The hotel is still there (see the recent photo), now a loud nightclub, and it’s hard to imagine Laurel and Hardy staying there in 1954 (when they were playing near-by Grimsby.)
Sea Road has been completely changed by road improvements and pedestrianisation. There must have been some sort of recreation area on the right, as people seem to be enthralled by something going on there in the third photo below.
I would think these three walkies span the late fifties to early sixties period, but the firm is not identified and I have no others from this spot. Evidence of the haste of the darkroom work can be seen in the missed development at the bottom of the middle print, and the over exposure on the first print which almost obscures their faces, despite which the print was still purchased.
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.