Sidewalk Photographers, Bournemouth & Great Yarmouth

Sheri Fenley, The Educated Genealogist, has this week written a very interesting and informative article about Sidewalk Photographers in her role as guest author over at the footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed blog. I thought I would take this opportunity to show off a series of these candid shots from my own family collection. Sheri talks about the quite different character of the photos taken by sidewalk artists and, in particular, how the unstaged nature of the shots often resulted in “a captured moment in time unlike any other.” I have noted another benefit of having these pictures in one’s archives – they often include people who, for whatever reason, otherwise didn’t have their portraits taken very often.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam & Aunt Sarah, Dated in pencil, 10 June 1931
Postcard format (89 x 139mm) by Jackson’s “Faces” (1921),
Great Yarmouth & Gorleston-on-Sea
, Collection of Barbara Ellison
My great-great-uncle Charles Hallam Payne (1870-1960) and his wife Sarah Emma née Parker (1870-1946) were well off enough to be able to retire from running the family grocery and off-licence at a relatively young age, in 1914. I doubt that this was due to the roaring success of the shop. It was more likely to have been the result of a steady and comfortable income produced as rent from houses inherited from his father Henry Payne, who died in 1907. Anyway, when they were in their late forties Hallam and Sarah handed the shop over to younger brother Fred Payne (1879-1946) and moved from St James Road in Normanton to Dale Cottage near Ingleby in South Derbyshire. (I have blogged previously about Dale Cottage here.)

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam
Inscribed in pencil, June 1932, Bournemouth
Unidentified photographer, Paper print (65 x 60mm)
Collection of Barbara Ellison
One of the things this steady income enabled them to do was to take regular holidays to the seaside, and the family photograph collections include an interesting series of photos of “Uncle” Hallam and “Aunt” Sarah (as they were known to my father and his sister) promenading in Bournemouth and Great Yarmouth in the 1930s.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Aunt Sarah & Uncle Hallam
Inscribed in pencil, at Bournemouth, June 1933
Postcard format (90 x 140mm), unidentified photographer
Collection of Barbara Ellison
One of them is of Hallam by himself – perhaps Sarah was indisposed that day – but most show Sarah as well, and since I have few others of her from this period, they are particularly valued.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam & Aunt Sarah
No inscription, but dated September 1933, Bournemouth from others in sequence
Strip of two photos (each 70 x 63mm), Unidentified photographer
Collection of Barbara Ellison
The autumn of 1933 seems to have been a particularly active period for the street photographers of Bournemouth, as they seem to have caught Hallam and Sarah at least four times.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam, Aunt Sarah & Christine Payne
Inscribed in pencil, Bournemouth, September 1933
Strip of two photos (each 89 x 67mm), Unidentified photographer
Collection of Barbara Ellison
Some of the shots show them walking with their niece Christine Payne (1910-2001), daughter of Hallam’s younger brother Fred.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison>
Uncle Hallam, Aunt Sarah & Christine Payne
Inscribed in pencil, Bournemouth, September 1933
Paper print (each 89 x 70mm), Unidentified photographer
Collection of Barbara Ellison

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam & Aunt Sarah, Inscribed in pencil, June 30/37
Postcard format (91 x 140mm)
by Jacksons “Faces” 1921, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea
In 1937 they were captured in the precise spot, and by the same photographer, where they had been holidaying six years earlier …

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam & Aunt Sarah
Inscribed in pencil, July 5th 1938
Postcard format (90 x 140mm)
by Jacksons “Faces,” Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea
… and again the following year, although the location is rather blurred and not possible to identify with certainty.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Uncle Hallam & Fred Payne
Undated but probably in the late 1930s
by Lacey’s Happy Snaps, Alum Chine, Bournemouth
The last photo in the sequence shows Uncle Hallam with his brother Fred (father of Christine, shown earlier) out walking at Bournemouth. It is unfortunately undated, although I believe it was probably taken in the late 1930s.

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~ by gluepot on Sunday, March 15, 2009.

7 Responses to “Sidewalk Photographers, Bournemouth & Great Yarmouth”

  1. >You are so lucky to have these great photos. I think that photos that have not been “posed” for make the best ones. Thanks for sharing, I am now extremely jealous LOL

  2. >Thanks Sheri – it’s good to have to cross-pollination, so to speak.I have noticed that these sidewalk photographers were particularly common in the 1930s and 1940s, but wonder if any readers have come across similar photographs in their own family collections from earlier decades?

  3. >I love your old photos. I find it ironic that years ago people went to the beach dressed up like they were going to church.Now people go to church dressed like they were going to the beach..

  4. >That’s a good line, Claudia, thank you.

  5. Really interested in this genre of photography. My late father in law George Meadows was a walkie photographer. See:- http://www.greatyarmouthphotographic.co.uk/seasidephotographer.

  6. Try again. Not Anonoymous. See:-www.greatyarmouthphotographic.co.uk/seasidephotographer

  7. Thanks Paul. Yes, an interesting genre which warrants further research! You have an interesting series of "walkies" and other seaside shots on your web site.Regards, Brett

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