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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A while ago I wrote here about a Walton headmaster, Mr. Coulson. Today I received an interesting insight into the way this man worked (or should that be ‘whacked’?) his students.
Martin Evans sent me these memories of Walton Secondary School in the 1950s


            I attended Walton County Secondary School from the autumn of 1953 until July 1957 and during the whole of that time Mr B. M. Coulson was the headmaster. Other teachers included Jock Hadden (Technical Drawing), Mr Barrel – called Joe (Science), Miss Ensor – nicknamed Hack (English and History), Mr Pennycate (English and Literature), Mr Broom (Art), Harry Martin (Physical Education) and Mr Langmaid (Woodwork). I also recall a Miss Tordoff but I am unsure wich subjects she taught. Although I was placed in class 1A where the from master was Mr Barrel, Coulson always took the class for mathematics. Coulson was always called Tip. Tip gained his nickname from his habit of caning pupils on the tips of their fingers. Tip’s motivation derived from a book on mathematics he was writing and he used his pupils as guinea pigs to test his ideas. He was not content with average performances in mathematics but demanded excellence in as many of his pupils as possible. For him to achieve some success, or even eminence, in his chosen field, he bullied the pupils, often screaming at them at the top of his voice. The pupils were then aged from twelve to sixteen years and to have a huge man screaming at them and slamming his desk lid down so often or to crash a stick down on their desk was a major ordeal. On many occasions pupils came away from his lessons crying their eyes out. Lessons on mathematics were something to dread. There is no doubt that Tip’s bullying was the cause of distress in the staff as well as the pupils as there were incidents when the staff were bullied in front of the pupils.

Tip often gave us tests on mathematics and I can recall him on one occasion  looking at each pupils’ paper where the answer that 4 x 0 = 4 was written and completely losing any vestige of self control. He stormed down the rows of desks screaming at any child who had written that 4 x 0 = 4, picking up their paper and screwing it up and throwing it away. Almost the whole class was at fault and the test was started again.

A year or so later he gave my class another test and in which we were required to answer ten questions. I looked at the paper and saw to my horror that I could only answer one out of the ten. I knew perfectly well that if I managed to answer only a single question I would be subjected to intense bullying so I did what I had never done before and copied the answers from the boy next to me. I knew that he wouldn’t get them all correct so I was secure in the knowledge that if five or more were correct then I would escape bullying. Tip marked the papers at his desk in front of the class and after marking mine he called me out to his desk. There I saw to my horror that every question was correct and Tip did not believe that I could have answered them all by myself. He did not say anything but just pointed to one of my answers and asked me to explain how I arrived at the result. By some unbelievable piece of luck the question he asked me to explain was the only one I had worked out myself.  I explained how I had arrived at the answer and Tip then quietly asked me to return to my place in the class. The feelings of relief I experienced was palpable and even today I can relive it.

He did teach my class quite advanced mathematics for pupils at a Secondary Modern School. We learn how to use logarithms, simple indices and the concept of brackets. In 1956 Tip decided to segregate a number of his more promising pupils and afford them special treatment. In effect this meant that he would take these pupils himself for additional subjects and more and more mathematics. Presumably this was to provide him with detailed assessment of their progress in conformance with his views on education. I was one of those who were selected. The others were John Harvey, John Gates, Caroline Bide, Peter Townsend and a few others whose names I have forgotten. For subjects such as science, history, art and craft, woodwork, religious instruction, geography and music, there would be little change in teacher but there were occasions when Tip would gather our small group in his own office and take them for such subjects as reading extracts from Shakespeare. On one such occasion I was asked to read an extract from a Shakespeare play about the kings of France and promptly read it using the word “dolphin” instead of dauphin. On hearing this word a number of times and thinking that I was being deliberately awkward, Tip started shouting at the top of his voice; ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ Trembling I then repeated the same passage using the word “dolphin” again. Thinking that he was being mocked Tip drew himself up and was about to launch into a blistering attack on me when with great aplomb Peter Townsend looked into the copy of the book that I held and saw that the printed word really was ‘dolphin’. ‘It does say that, sir,’ Peter said. Tip snatched the book from me and when he saw the word “dolphin” had indeed been printed, he subsided like a deflated balloon. There was never an apology but an explanation was given and the class then continued as before.

On another much later occasion Tip had asked some official of the education system to attend a class of his selected few. During the lesson Tip asked Peter Townsend how to derive the roots of the equation ax2 + bx + c = 0 from first principles. Unfortunately Peter had forgotten how to do it. Tip was getting ready to commence bullying (restrained as there a witness present) when one of the others did the required calculation. Tip was mollified and justified at the same time.

In those days extra tuition during the evenings was a formality and although not compulsory many of the children attended these lessons. Mathematics (taught by Tip, of course) was one of the subjects offered in the evenings and Tip expected his “selected” students to attend these lessons. Thus, my friends and I were required to suffer the bullying tactics of Tip during the day and during the evenings as well. On one occasion I decided that I was not going to the evening mathematics lesson but on the next day at school Tip called for me and asked why I hadn’t attended. With incredible and surprising bravery I found himself saying: ‘I didn’t feel like it, sir.’ However, instead of the expected explosion and hectoring Tip merely said: ‘I shall remember that when you come to me for a reference.’ Luckily that eventuality never came to pass.

In 1956 and 1957 the form master for 3A and 4A was Harry Martin who was a very popular man. Some pupils took examinations from an organisation called the Union of Educational Institutions. Some of class 3A took examinations in various subjects including English, Mathematics and Technical Drawing (taught by Jock Hadden – another popular teacher) in both these years. In 1957 some of us took the mathematics examination. Both John Harvey and I managed to get every question correct but whereas John was awarded 100%  I was only awarded 97%. The reduction of 3% was because I had dropped a large blot of ink on my examination paper. For this achievement I was not praised but thoroughly berated by Tip.

I left Walton County Secondary School in July 1957.There were no regrets at not having to see Tip, Hack and Broom ever again but considerable regrets at leaving Harry Martin, Jock Hadden and Joe Barrel. These latter three were the complete antithesis of the former three. I and the others who had also suffered four years of endless bullying could not believe that their treatment by Tip had been for any other reason than for Tip’s pleasure and self gratification. Unknown to us all we were wrong, completely wrong, as the general comments in my last report showed. Tip himself wrote “ A splendid effort – very high standard reached in most subjects.” This was to be Tip’s last year as headmaster of Walton County Secondary School. Why he left and where he went to are unknown but there can be no doubt that the staff and pupils were delighted to be free from the tyranny that had been such a feature of his management. Tip was replaced by Mr S. E. Rhodes as headmaster.

There is no doubt in my mind that Tip did have the interests in the education of his pupils at heart but the means he adopted for implementing those interests were based upon appalling bullying and he should undoubtedly have been prosecuted. I feel that he did far more damage to his pupils than good.

I have often wondered why there were no complaints by the pupils about Tip’s appalling behaviour either to the staff or to our parents. I never considered doing either and can only think that to complain was to court ever more, and perhaps worse, bullying and that was something that none of us could contemplate.

Martin tells me that he never retained contact with any of his former colleagues from the Secondary Modern at Walton, which is shame. Do you remember him?
I was at the primary school with his brother, Andrew.


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Today the good folk of Walton came together to say farewell to one of the most loved characters that the town has ever seen.

The popularity of Ernest Winston White, known to everyone as ‘Ernie’. was shown by the way All Saints’ Church was packed to the rafters with locals, family and friends to say goodbye to an unassuming man who made a mark on the towns of Walton and Frinton.


Wartime evacuation of Walton resulted in Ernie being born in Whitby in 1941 although the family home was at 73, North Street, Walton.

One of his first employments was on the pleasure boat ‘The Lady Kent’ which sailed with tourists on board from the Albion Breakwater. He later worked for Lilley’s Bakery where he was a favourite with the owner Alf Lilley. A man of many talents, he was also a chef, a dustman and Summer kiosk owner at the Bath House Hotel in Walton as well at The Ocean View and in Holland-on-Sea and Harwich.

1226 High St Nov 1978

He later opened The Whitehouse Restaurant in Walton’s High Street in the premises currently known as Bartalls.

Here he had a snooker hall above the restaurant and every Christmas he would entertain local pensioners with free dinners and teas.

His venture into Frinton caused a lot of excitement among the residents and councillors when he proposed and eventually succeeded in opening the first fish and chip shop the town had ever seen. The business is still trading although Ernie sold out years ago.

He also tried to open Frinton’s first public house and although he failed to get permission I’m sure his attempt led to the eventual submission by the Council and the opening of the town’s first pub, The Lock & Barrel in swanky Connaught Avenue.

Today we all said a fond goodbye to Ernie at a service which was so well organised by his family, even to the touching memory of Ernie’s beloved bike being tethered outside the church entrance.

Ernie Bike

17th October 2017

Today I have been given permission to reproduce below the Eulogy which Ernie’s son, Mark, delivered at the funeral. It’s full of humour, love and sadness all rolled into one:

My Dad Ernie, was born on the 2nd of August 1941 in Whitby Yorkshire, I could so easily be talking with a funny accent, wearing a flat cap and racing pigeons with a ferret down my trousers. The reason for him being born t’up north was due to the war after his mum and 2 brothers were moved away to escape the bombs and 3 actually fell at the school he would later attend Walton Primary in Standley Road just round the corner from his family home at 73 North Street where he grew up with Brothers Ted, Basil, John (Who sadly died at an early age) and sisters Maggie and Cathy.

His first ever job was on the Lady Kent pleasure boat ride that left the Albion breakwater every hour during the summer and would go round the end of the pier and life boat and back again, this was a first job for many youngsters and I too had that privilege at roughly the same age of around 13.

From there he went to work at the bake house for Lilley’s and incidentally my sister was actually named after one of them, Alf which she changed as soon as she could talk.

The Lilley’s were a huge part of my Dads life and Alf treated Ernie like the son he never had, it seemed no matter what my Dad got up to Alf would forgive him, his daughter Sally sent us a beautiful letter last week with plenty of stories about my Dad including ruining the delivery bike because instead of taking bread to various businesses around town he was often seen giving his mates rides in the tray bike which resulted in trashing it within weeks, it seemed it was impossible for him to get the sack because of Alf’s love for Ernie, even destroying 80 apple pies never got in the way of their friendship and after my Dad left Lilleys to work on the building sites Alf still showed his love for my Dad and on a very cold icy winters morning Alf spotted my Dad wearing only a shirt and no jacket, Alf asked him, ‘Where’s your coat boy’? My Dad replied ‘This is it’, Alf drove back home and found a leather bomber jacket and gave it to my Dad and said ‘Keep yourself warm boy’ and they remained friends throughout their lives and my Dad was always invited to any Lilley family gatherings.

After stints as a pier boy making people sick on the Waltzers where he met my Mum, they married at 18 and had 4 children together Hilary, Matthew, Julian and me and in later life he had Claire with Jenny and 7 Grand Children including my Daughter Ellie who I am so pleased he got to meet just a few weeks before he died. 
He had other jobs as a chef, a dustman and renovating houses but his real talent was in retail.

He ran the kiosk at the bathhouse for around 15 years and anyone that knew Ernie would know very few people ever left without buying something.

One particular sale has remained in all our family’s memories until today about the Lady who came to buy some flip flops and she was a size 5 but the smallest size we had left was a 10, that wasn’t going to stop my dad making a quid so he went inside and got a breadknife and proceeded to cut the footwear around her heel and after paying her pound off she walked albeit in comedic fashion up the Esplanade. There he is today still making money as you will discover when you try to leave the church today it will cost you 3 quid to get out to pay for the wake.

Dad went on to run kiosks at Ocean view next to the Kino, Holland on sea and Harwich, he was then and always will be the donut king, sorry Nigel Speight.

While running the kiosk he along with my mum Hilary, Matthew, Julian and I went back into the shoe business selling some of the most hideous shoes I had ever seen, we were of course made to model them on the first ever Walton Market in the 70s but his bad history with footwear soon came to a halt and we left that to the experts who are still there today.

We then opened a Café in the high street where Bartalls is now called ‘The Whitehouse’ with a snooker club above, At Christmas my Dad would show his love of the people and the community by laying on Christmas dinner and tea for local pensioners and even gave them all a gift and provided transport if they needed it, a generous man with a big heart.

Dad had dreams of being the first person to open an ice cream kiosk on Frinton seafront but all his efforts were denied in an attempt to keep Frinton ‘Special’, eventually my Dad did something everyone said was impossible and became the first person to open a fish and chip shop in Frinton’s Old Road which is still going strong today, we then tried to open the first pub in Frinton but it proved even more of a challenge than the chip shop, but I still like to think that my Dad had more than a little influence on the way Frinton has changed for the better today with its chip shop and pub.

My Dad was a fighter, a few of you here today will know that Ernie narrowly escaped death in a dreadful car accident in the mid 70s suffering bad head injuries, punctured lungs and broken ribs and it was touch and go for 2 weeks in Black Notley hospital. But a lot of you here today will know my Dad suffered in later life from Dementia, a terrible disease where the body remains the same but the mind is no longer the person you know.

At this point I want to thank the staff at Blenheim house care home for making his final few weeks the happiest we could of hoped for, their caring and patience goes well above and beyond the call of duty, I personally will still go in there when I can and just say hello to the staff but just as importantly the residents whose faces light up and beam huge smiles when they see that someone cares enough to spare them a moment of their time. My dad was a proud man and you would see him pushing his bike towards the end of his life as he was no longer capable of riding it but instead of using an electric scooter he had in his garage he would use his famous bike as a walking aid.

I know I could tell hundreds more stories about my dad but I’m probably rambling already, so I would like to end by saying my Dad would be so pleased to see how many people came here to pay their respects today (Especially at 3 quid a head)

My dad never did Facebook or any social media, I don’t think he even ever wrote a text message, his equivalent timeline on social media was his daily walk through Walton high street where he would like people in person and give them a real thumbs up, he accepted everybody’s friend request and gave everyone a genuine smile not an emoji, he never deleted anyone from his friends list, if you were his friend you were a friend forever, many of you on that list are here today and I want to thank you for the overwhelming support you gave my family and I on social media after our dad died, twitter allows 140 characters, Walton has had many more over the years, Ernie is one of the final ones, never to be deleted from ours and your memories.

Thank you


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Whatever Happened to Tarret?

Over the many years of writing this blog, I have received many messages of interest, but none more so than one which arrived recently from Charles Auld regarding the houseboat “Tarret” which used to be moored near the Yacht Club.

1422 Houseboat Tarret (B)

He writes:

Motor Yacht Tarret was built at Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson’s yard in Newcastle in 1938 as an experimental hull shape.  My late uncle was then a director of the company and Tarret was registered as his private yacht (I think to avoid having to have her measured for Lloyd’s Register and thereby revealing the hull shape and dimensions).  At the beginning of WW2 she was commandeered by the Admiralty and her hull shape used in the design of MTBs.  I knew that after the war she had become a houseboat, but I did not know where until, quite by chance, I found your photograph on the internet.

Later correspondence revealed a lot more about the vessel:

  Tarret herself was named after the Tarret Burn, a fast running river in Northumberland (near Otterburn).  I have seen some discussion on-line saying that she was built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson [‘SH&WR’] for the Admiralty, but this is not correct.  SH&WR built liners, cargo ships etc – they didn’t built small ships.  My understanding is that they were experimenting with a new hull form for high-speed liners, but the tank tests using normal size models were inconclusive.  Apparently if you built a hull about one-third of the real size it gives much better results, so they built Tarret at 110 feet long to see how it would work out.  As she was not being built for sale, she was built as cheaply as possible.  Some second hand engines were acquired and I understand that she was painted grey because SH&WR were building a number of warships and it was cheapest to ask the supplier simply to send some more grey paint.  As I said earlier, my understanding is that Tarret was registered as my uncle’s private yacht partly to keep the hull details secret and also to avoid the expense of having her registered as a British ship

My uncle was Paulin Denham Christie (his father, John Denham Christie, was chairman of SH&WR from 1930 to 1938).  I remember him as being a kind but somewhat eccentric uncle.  As well as being a director of SH&WR he was also an officer in the RNVR.  He was mobilised in 1939, but then it was discovered that he was a graduate shipbuilder (which was a reserved occupation) and so he was compulsorily demobilised and sent back to shipbuilding.  He always loved the sea, so he then joined the RNLI and became coxswain of Tynemouth lifeboat for a number of years.  He also ran a Sea Scout troop on the Tyne (he had a sailing boat called ‘Gratitude’ which was an old Thames sailing ketch, very similar to the one in your archive photograph 102) and the family reckoned (unkindly!) that the Sea Scout troop gave him a cheap crew!  There is a photo of him with the then Princess Elizabeth at some Sea Scout get-together during the War:

[He got teased about this photo: “Yes, your Royal Highness, this is a sailing boat…”]

1423 Houseboat Tarret(B)

Charles Auld would dearly like to know what happened to Tarret. Was she broken up or was she one of the houseboats which were destroyed by fire? I remember photographing at least two which were on fire when I was just a lad. If anyone can tell me what her fate was I will see that Charles gets to know.

Both of the photographs of Tarret above were taken by Putmans in 1951


Gary Edwards, the former Walton  Lifeboat Coxswain, informed me that “She sank in the Black Deep while undertow to somewhere on the south coast. She was pretty rusty and some of the holes in the hull were repaired with roofing felt! Which washed off under tow!”

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