Where in Walton was this?

This photo of a row of cottages has been in the Putman collection from when I was first employed there. I was once told that it was Kirby Road, but have no proof or idea whereabouts it could have been. Today I asked an 80+ year old Kirby Road lifetime resident, but he was of no help.

I’m therefore relying on my readers to come up with certain proof of the location. 

unknown walton cotts

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Do you know this man?

A while ago a young lady knocked on my door and asked if I could possibly make a restoration print of a small tatty bit of paper she was holding as it was the only photo her nan owned of her husband. Nan was getting on a bit and she thought it would cheer her up.

It was an opaque paper negative rather than conventional transparent celluloid ones. I immediately recognised it as a Gratispool paper negative which were common in the 1940s and 50s.

McKeever startThe name Gratispool was coined from the fact that with every film that the company processed and printed they returned a free (gratis) film (spool). They were safe in the knowledge that the resulting ‘paper’ negatives had to be printed by Gratispool’s own purpose designed reflected light enlargers. The keen amateur and the local chemist could not handle these paper negatives.

I was well aware of this as my brother had used these films and as a young lad with a temporary darkroom in my parent’s bathroom, I had tried to beat the system with some success, but not perfection. McKeever 1

Assisted by Photoshop it would be a simple matter to scan, reverse the result and then restore the damage. I promised to send the young lady an email with an idea of the resulting restored image before completing the job.

But having done, this I was rather ‘hooked’ on restoring what turned out to be a very badly damaged image and so I burnt the midnight oil to nearly finish it off.


After a couple of days I received a reply to my email complimenting me on the restoration, but adding that, “having showed it to grandma she had absolutely no idea of who the man was. Therefore would I please not proceed”.
Too late, I’d done it. So I put it all down to experience and resolved to curb my enthusiasm in future.

However I did say that I would ask around to see if anyone recognised the gent in the photo. I’m sure some of you will probably have details of the motorbike and sidecar. But, can you name the man?

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Unknown faces and places

I have recently been given access to a large number of photographs taken by the Walton photographer Thomas Brooke around the end of the 19th century.

There are many portraits which have no identifying details – some may be of local folk and some may be of trippers who came to Walton for a short stay on the steamships from London.

I have added a new page to my Walton Archive which you view here. If you can add any information I would be most pleased. So far only three people have been identified with certainty.

Box 35-19 unknown family in Brookes StudioSo if you’ve nothing better to do, please take a look. You will be amazed at the quality of the images considering the equipment and materials that Thomas Candler Brooke was working with. Here is a photo showing his actual studio which was behind Brooke’s Bazaar, up an alleyway behind 38 The Parade’.  Thomas Candler Brooke ran the photographic studio roughly from 1885 to 1910 .

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DOUGLAS BARRETT – School teacher extraordinaire

Pupils at Walton Primary and Secondary Schools in the 1950s were privileged to be taught by Douglas Barrett better known as ‘Basher’, although I’ve no idea why he acquired this nickname – he was not at all violent.

He was a man who taught by a hands-on approach to education. There were of course no computers or other electronic aids, but we learned more by simple things such as sticks and the shadows cast from them.

I have just uploaded to my Walton Archive more than 130 photos in which Douglas recorded many of the school activities during his time teaching at both Walton Schools. 

You can see them all at http://www.putmans.co.uk/OW_School_Index.htm  if you scroll down towards the end of the index. I have not added names of pupils, although I can name many of them as these were taken during my time at the Primary School.

Here are just a few to whet your appetite:

A1 Slow bike raceSecondary School slow bicycle race. Sadly Jimmy Claxton who is in the lead did not understand that the winner would be the last cyclist to complete the course and he shot off at some speed. Douglas Barrett is the teacher in the background.




Pupils armed with home-made measuring devices before heading off for a Saturday morning extra-curricula adventure measuring heights, gradients and distances at the Naze




Surveying the school playing field






P.E. in the playground with a minimum of resources.

Pupils created their own support positions for an astride vault.




N14A motley gang of pupils in their country dancing costumes.

I am most grateful to Mark Barrett for allowing me to copy and restore all of his father’s collection of Walton School photos.

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This is not strictly Walton, but I have recently been sent a wonderful collection of photographs showing Frinton firemen from years ago. As they also covered Walton after WWII I’m including details here.

The photos were sent to me by one of the granddaughters of George C. Jeffs who was a senior member of the brigade and a well-known local builder and decorator in the 1940s.

OF683George is pictured here with a shield he won by virtue of being the shortest man in the brigade and thus able to get into tight spots which others could not access. He features on many of the photographs and is easily spotted by his lack of height.

He came to the area from Luton and after working for W. Green & Son in Frinton  set up his own business with his son, Eric, and son-in-law Gordon Lamb of Walton. Gordon lived with his wife and three daughters, Christine, Carole and Allison in Martello Road.



MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Christine & Carole in Martello Road

I have included all of the Frinton Firemen photos in my Walton Archive under the ‘Nearby Villages’ index.  Look at images reference OF674 to OF691


The above image of a funeral of one of the firemen (I’m guessing) leaves me with the question – Does anyone know who the deceased person was?

Christine has also sent me lots of other Walton photos which I will hopefully get uploaded to the Archive in due course.

I have just updated the Archive with many new Walton images in most indexes – all images with a reference number greater than OW2827 are new

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Happy Christmas to all my readers

2018 Card

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Today I have uploaded around 200 new images to the Archive

All images with a reference number higher than 2751 are new. New items can be found  under the following categories:




High Street



Esplanade & East Terrace



Marine Parade

Other Places

Also added people with surnames starting with B C E F G H J M O P S & W

and lots of new Groups

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