Ancient Order of Froth Blowers

A recent photo addition to the Archive has led me to learn about the humorous charitable organisation known as the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers.

When I was looking closely at this photo of the Pier Hotel and the Pier Approach  I noticed above the door, as indicated by my arrow, the word T. S. Hanscomb

2756 idicator

2756 Detail

Initially I assumed this could be ‘Training Ship Hanscomb’ and started to ask my friend ‘Google’ for help. Eventually I struck lucky and discovered that the Pier Hotel was a meeting place for the AOFB in Walton and  Thomas Samuel Hanscomb was the local organiser.

I further discovered that the aim of the organisation was “to foster the noble art and gentle but healthy pastime of froth blowing amongst gentlemen of leisure and ex-soldiers”

The AOFB flourished around the world between 1924 and 1931. Each meeting place, be it a pub, club or hotel, was known as a VAT and Walton had two – The Pier Hotel and The Walton and Frinton Yacht Club.

The Pier VAT was run by a lady as its address was c/o Fairy Belle (the title for female members) T S Hanscomb and the Yacht Club VAT was organised by Mr. J. F. Brackett.

AOFB -CufflinksMembership was five shillings for which each member received a pair of silver enamelled cufflinks, a membership booklet and card which entitled them to blow froth off any member’s beer. Their motto was “Lubrication in Moderation”.

By late 1928 there were more than 700,000 members across the world raising £100,000 (equivalent to £5.5 million today) for children’s charities.

Other local VATs were at The Warwick Castle in Clacton, The Crown Hotel in Thorpe-le-Soken, The Anchor Hotel in Brightlingsea and The Cups Hotel in Colchester.

You can read lots more about this fun organisation at

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Kathleen Garnham – Walton’s World Champion


I’ve often been asked why the café by the Naze Tower is named ‘The Links Café’

“The links”  is simply a strip of generally undulating, but always sandy, terrain linking the sea and the arable farmland around the edges of the British Isles.

As this area often went unused, save for the odd rabbit farm, this was ideal ground for sporting pioneers on the east coast of Scotland back in the 15th and 16th centuries, as they experimented with a new stick and ball game and it was over these narrow corridors of gorse-covered, sandy dunes that rudimentary “courses” were first carved out and golf, as we know it began.

573a Tower & Golf Club HousePrior to the second world war there was a Golf Course on The Naze north of the Naze Tower known as the Naze Links.

The club house can be seen to the left of the Tower in this photo


But how many know that the Golf Club which was established there in 1925 was home to a lady golfer who was a World Champion?

Kathleen GarnhamKathleen Garnham  (left) was one of Britain’s leading amateur golfers prior to WW2. Her family were founding members of the Naze Golf Club, where her father was Chairman and her mother was Ladies Captain.

She was born in 1904 and by the time she was 27 years old named golfer of the year in 1931 by fellow women English golfers. In that same year she featured as one of the country’s leading Amateur Ladies Golfers in a special edition of the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News magazine.

She was a member of the successful British team which toured the United States in 1933 where she won that year’s Florida State Championship, the Sedgefield Medal Tournament and reached the final of the South Atlantic Tournament.

Kathleen Garnham was a member of the English Ladies Golf Union team which won the International matches played at Ranelagh Golf Club, West London in 1934 and 1935. She won the French Open in 1937 and the Belgian Open in 1939.

She was also an accomplished painter of children’s portraits and landscapes hosting her own one-woman shows in London. Her golfing and her painting were interrupted by World War II service as a war substantive section officer in 1943 in the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in a photo interpretation unit that served the U.S. Army Air Forces as well as the Royal Air Force. She was credited with identifying the German missile factories at Peenemunde that built the V-1 and V-2 rockets that were used against England. Like most service personnel she was awarded two campaign medals.

She then moved to Baltimore in 1948 and married architect Charles M Nes Jnr who had served in the US Air Force in England. She continued to play golf and was a member of the Green Spring Valley Golf Club, Maryland, where she won the club championship in 1972 at the age of 68. She also won the US Women’s Golf Association Senior Championships (70 years and over class) five of the first six years she was eligible. She sadly died after a car crash in the US in 1990 at the age of 86.

All details of Kathleen Garnham above have been researched by Steven Walker who has kindly given permission for publication here.

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Christmas card 2017 flattened

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Lifeboat Procession 1935 Film

I have recently been made aware of a super little bit of very old cine film on the British Film Institute web site at

This is an eight minute film titled Walton-on-the-Naze Carnival 1935. However the first six minutes of very early amateur colour film is actually Clacton-on-Sea Carnival. The final two minutes are of Walton’s 1935 Lifeboat Procession with credits to Miss Prior, Miss Dunlop, Col. Smith and Mr. Morris.

My thanks to Chris Oxley for bringing this to my attention.

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I thought that I was aware of all the early photographers in Walton, but when I saw this cabinet photograph offered for sale on eBay I was intrigued enough to purchase it.

Cabiinet Central Studio 2 High St

The image is not at all interesting, unless someone comes up with the names of the two people in front of the camera. The name and address of Central Studio, 2, High Street, Walton was what caught my eye.

Cabinet style photographs were popular at the end of the 1800s (1868 – 1914) and are approximately 4½ x 6½ inches in size, mounted on stout card with the photographer’s name printed on the front.

I did wonder if this was an early photograph by my old boss, Frank Putman, as he started his business from his father’s garden shed at number 12, High Street and he did have a pitch on the Central Beach at that time. But he started out in business in 1921 and the house number is different, which makes it most unlikely.

There was a studio in Clacton-on-Sea named Central Studio run by Charles Magowan ARPS but this was not established until around 1937.

Number 2 High Street is one of the Churchfield Villas opposite the church, as is number 12 where Frank Putman’s parents lived. The resident at number 2 in 1914 was E. J. Withers, but more than that I do not know.

1349 Churchfield VillasChurchfield Villas c1900

If anyone can throw any light on this mystery I will be very pleased.

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Back in June 2008 (blimey, so long ago?) I wrote a post here which mentioned the London County Council summer camp, or as we called them, “The Borstal Boys”. You can read it here  The camp in my memory was set up near the Martello Tower.

I have recently obtained this photograph showing the camp at a different location which I cannot immediately identify. Any ideas?

2677 LCC Camping ground Borstal boys

The more familiar site for the tents was as shown below

1889 LCC Camp (Borstal Boys) Martello c1950

2651 Martello Field Borstal Boys camp

These photos taken in July 1937 of the children heading up Mill Lane from the camp for their church parade, shows how many there were. I’m beginning to think that they were not all borstal boys in those days.

LCC Children Camp Church Parade (1) 10 July 1937       LCC Children Camp Church Parade (2)  Mill Lane10 July 1937

LCC Children Camp Church Parade (3)  Mill Lane10 July 1937       LCC Children Camp Church Parade (4)  Mill Lane10 July 1937


21st November 2017

Sorry folks – my stupidity. I’d not noticed the Martello Tower which had blended into the background. Now the location is obvious. Here’s a detail of the image.

Image may contain: outdoor
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I have recently received this photograph of Walton’s football team, but with no date of when it was taken. The photo intrigued me as the players are wearing a different strip to any I’ve seen before.

Walton First XI

A non-striped strip appears in team photos between 1906 and 1949 as below:

Walton Football c1906    Walton Town FC 1936

Walton Football Club 1949

This suggests to me that the striped strip was worn earlier than 1906.

Does anyone have details of the history of Walton Town Football Club?

The late Harry Hatcher was a formidable fount of knowledge of the club, but sadly he is no longer here to help.

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