The walking picture firm of Wrates are covered on the site, but this seems to be quite an early hand numbered example of their work as the back print does not mention their Harrington Road studio or the Pier kiosk. It turned up recently, I would think it dates from the 1920s and shows two elderly but imposing ladies pottering past the entrance to the Tower Gardens on The Grand Parade in Skegness one morning. They are wearing fashions from an earlier to the photographer era, which perhaps make it look even older than it is. Despite their seeming indifference they must have taken a ticket a few seconds later and gone back to the kiosk in the afternoon to buy the print!
Scottish walkies are not seen so often, but the trade was active there and this walking picture turned up recently, taken in Union Street, Aberdeen in September 1947, the details recorded on the back by one of the two women in the photograph. This suggests a local photographer making a living throughout the year, as it’s beyond any sort of holiday season (I have seen a Skegness walkies dated as late as October.) The road is the main shopping street in the town, and unwittingly the image gives a real insight into the bustling nature of the thoroughfare, with a horse and cart, cars, cycles and buses (there are tram tracks too) all passing the camera, and there is a slightly misty atmosphere to the photo which I like. Although people on holiday might have expected to be photographed in the street, the look of puzzlement particularly in the lady on the right suggests this was not the case here.
The view is still very recognisable today in the shot above although the cobbles have gone and it is hard to replicate the foreshortening in the original image. The two women are just passing what is still Jamieson & Carry’s jewellery shop on the left (the firm have been on this site since 1925 although that’s a fairly recent move, they were established in 1733!).
Frustratingly there are no photographer details on the back beyond the ubiquitous frame number. The only other firm I know operating in the town was Movie Snaps, who also took smaller walkies here and in other Scottish locations in the late 1930s but seem to have closed when the War started.
Although North Bay Snaps (whose known history we covered on the site a while ago) were probably Scarborough’s premier Walking Picture firm for a time before WW2 it’s hard to know what else the firm supplied. I assume there was a kiosk to collect and pay for walkies, but also probably a main shop and studio.
Peter Wollinski in Australia has sent me this North Bay Snaps postcard print which poses a few questions. The image is very low quality and looks like it was taken in an Autobooth. Peter says the younger woman on the right is his late Mother, the other lady is not known: “I have no idea when the photo was actually taken, but from the information on your site must have been before 1941 and probably before the war began. My mother was Austrian and worked in London from 1936 to 1943 before being interned on the Isle of Man and then repatriated back to Austria in 1944.”
Most autobooth photographs are quite small, passport size, but the machines often did (and still do) have an option for larger sizes. But they would do prints on special paper rolls, not postcards and as this is on a North Bay printed postcard back (and clearly cut by hand), it rather suggests they printed it in the normal way. Maybe the two women had a small photo and just wanted a copy doing, which would account for the out of focus look, yet the frame edge being perfectly sharp.
If anyone does know any more, let us know.
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.
This trio of walkies all turned up recently, and all capture two female friends or relatives out shopping by the looks of it. None are identified as yet but the first one has a horse drawn laundry van with ‘Provincial Laundry Whitley Bay’ on the side which suggests the town itself or one nearby. The two younger women are just stepping into the camera range, but the rest of the three frames are lost.
Similarly walking as if they mean it, the next two women may be mother and daughter, she seems very amused to be photographed. I like the idler resting against the lamp post in his Oxford Bags, watching what’s going on. It’s possible he sneaked into a whole set of that morning’s walkies!
Lastly another mother and daughter by the looks of it, both fairly laden from a shopping trip down what looks like a busy street. The woman on the right has just blinked as the shutter clicked! I always associate those wooden garden fencing panels with the concave centres with the seaside, having often dragged sticks or spades along them to make a racket as a child in Bridlington.
As always if anybody recognises the views do get in touch.