A Glass from the Past

A while ago I received a piece of Walton history in the form of a photograph of a beer glass.

Albion glass 3It was sent to me by Roger Wade (the gent in the photograph) asking if I could throw any light on the engraved greeting on the glass, which had been a Christmas gift to his grandfather in 1924.

You will see that it mentions P F Cole of The Albion Hotel, who I can only assume was the licensee or manager at that time (although he is not listed on the Pub History.com web site). Albion glass 2

Roger’s grandfather’s name was Matthew Roger Wade and he was a coastguard in the town at that time. No doubt The Albion was his ‘local’.

Does this mean anything to anyone?

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Putmans Photo Print Wallets

It’s raining today and a post on the Clacton & District Local History Society Facebook site has inspired me to go down memory lane.

Kodak Yellow WalletMark Barrett (the son of one of Walton Primary School’s most appreciated 1950s teachers) posted a photo of a wallet in which customers’ photo prints were supplied by Putmans in the 1950s. It was similar to this one. This reminded me that I have a number of old print wallets stored away.

So here is a brief history of Putmans Print Wallets.

The earliest one I’ve ever seen was probably in use in the 1920s. This was when Frank Putman started in business working from his parents’ home at 12 Church Villas, where he developed and printed films in a shed in the back garden. He had a hut on the Albion Beach where he both took photos and also accepted holidaymakers’ films for processing.
Earliest print wallet Kodak

This was at a time when Kodak was the most popular name in photography.
It refers to “The Kodak Way” and “Velox” Gaslight printing paper which was sold in three different grades for the discriminating amateur to get the very best out of any negative contrast.

Also it advertises The “Kodak” Self-Timer which could be attached instead of a cable release to enable the owner to include themselves in the picture.
‘Selfies’ are not new

The ‘Kodak’ Magazine was available for two pence monthly.



Brown Envelope walletFrank Putman then leased premises at 86/88, High Street where a simple, locally printed manila envelope was used to hand back the customer’s prints.  This was probably during WWII when the business was carried on by his wife Jessie, whilst he was serving in the RAF.

In the 1950s the yellow Kodak wallet pictured at the top of this post were used and were then followed by a neat, smaller wallet, supplied by Ilford Films, with a variety of pictures on the covers. At this time most films were roll films (120, 620, 127, 116, 118 etc.) and they were contact printed. i.e. the prints were made the same size as the negatives. All of this was done manually – no automation. Larger prints were made using the conventional enlarger.

Ilford baby crawling Wallet jpg  Ilford lady in boat Wallet

It was around this time that I came onto the scene. I started working as ‘the lad’ doing anything I was allowed to do, and at 11-years-old I thought I could do everything. My main task was to load the individual prints which came out of the darkroom having been washed, onto a moving canvas belt which took them around a highly polished and very hot stainless steel drum to both dry them and impart a glaze (shiny surface) to them. At this tender unenlightened age I relished this job as very occasionally there would be a topless female photo.

Dev and Printing Hand stamped walletI joined the business when I left school at 16 and by then the term ‘Enprint’ was the preferred size of print. These were a bit larger than the old contact prints and the darkroom had been equipped with an Enprint printing machine and automatic roll paper processor.

Putmans processed and printed films for all the Walton, Frinton and Kirby chemists and other outlets where film was sold during the summer months.

It was down to me to cycle to all of these shops twice a day to collect the films and then deliver the finished prints.

In the peak summer time this amounted to hundreds of films each day.

Winter time was quite a different matter and this was when we serviced the machines and spent hours printing the name on the wallets as you can see in the above picture. This was done by an amazing little machine called a “Rollboy” which printed four different colour inks each time it was rolled across a wallet. Blue tripod wallet


The final style wallet used was this one which was commercially printed and supplied to us at great expense in the tens of thousands.

If you have a Putman photo wallet tucked away somewhere – and there must be thousands of them still in boxes and lofts – I would be pleased to see it if it is different from any I’ve illustrated here.

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German Graves

A few wet days after a splendid sunny summer has returned me to my desk and to pass the time I have been looking at and scanning a few more negatives from the Putman Archive.

This photograph taken on 23rd October 1947 in Walton cemetery intrigued me. The negative was catalogued under the name Polzelbauer which I discovered was probably an Austrian surname and I can only assume that this was the name of the lady in the photo.

2787 WWII German graves (Polzelbauer)

Reading the names on the grave markers it was obvious that these were the resting places of German airmen and sailors killed during WWII.

Marker 1   Marker 2

I immediately turned to Geoff Rayner’s excellent book “Seaside Front Line” which lists all events and incidents at Frinton, Walton, Kirby and Great Holland from 1939 to 1945. Sadly I could not find anything relevant around the dates on the grave markers.

My next move was to send a copy of the photograph to Geoff for his opinion. True to form I soon received a reply which I copy below:

“I see an interesting challenge in that photo! The dates are probably unlikely to tie-up with dates in my book as I imagine these are bodies washed up on the beach or collected by the lifeboat and they could have been in the water for weeks or months. One name that I would have expected to have seen there was Fritz Kessler, the pilot of the Fw190 brought down just off Frinton on 30 May 43. His body was brought to the pier by the lifeboat the same day. Perhaps he was on a different grave marker just out of shot.”

The next day this truly comprehensive follow-up from Geoff landed on my desk:

“All except Seaman R Kurschnet were relocated to the German Military Cemetery at Cannock. Maybe that’s the link with the lady – a visit prior to transferring him back to Germany/Austria? She might be a sister, an aunt or maybe his mother (hard to tell her age) who had re-married.

The remaining three in that left hand grave are in adjacent graves at Cannock: all in plot 5 row 7, nos 147, 148 & 149.

From the right hand grave, Thomaschewski is also in plot 5 row 7, and in grave 145. Maybe the ‘unknown’ person is in 146? Unfortunately Baumann is a common name and no first name is listed on the grave marker. At Cannock there is a Walter Baumann (died 4 Feb 43, aged 22) in plot 5, row 5, grave 120. So, close to the others but not with them. The date might be significant though – see below.

I imagine there might be another grave marker just out of shot to the right containing the Fritz Kessler (30.5.43) I mentioned earlier. I wonder why he wasn’t popped in the same grave as Baumann as that has only three in it but there are four in the other grave.


Hornatschek 29 Oct 40.  (Heinrich) An Me109 fighter pilot shot down by RAF fighters in the Thames Estuary on 30 Sep 40 during the Battle of Britain.

Kuhn 30 Oct 40.   (Alfred) One of the crew of a Ju88 bomber targeting London and shot down by RAF fighters on 27 Sep 40 during the Battle of Britain. The other three crew members are listed as ‘missing’.

Salomo  31 Oct 40.   (Alfred August) One of the crew of a Do17 bomber which failed to return from a raid on 30 Sep 40 during the Battle of Britain. The rest of his crew are reported as ‘missing’.

Kurschnet  16 Mar 42.   No information found, but see comments above about possible repatriation.

Thomaschewski  30 Apr 42.  (Johann) German Navy. At Cannock date of death is given as 25 Jan 42.

Baumann  (4 Mar 43).   Possibly ‘Walter’ whose date of death at Cannock is recorded as 4 Feb 43 (age 22). This may tie in to an incident in my book for the evening of 4 Feb where an aircraft was seen to come down in the sea between Frinton and Holland. The following morning the Coastguards reported the same location for an aircraft and a German dinghy was found off Frinton. I think it unlikely that the date on the grave marker would be incorrect, although of course it is possible, so it means he was in the water for some time – maybe trapped in the wreckage then popped free four weeks later. Things should be clearer when/if I identify the aircraft involved in the 4 Feb incident and check the crew names.

Unknown.  (18 Mar 43). No information, but maybe from the same aircraft as Baumann.”

I was not even aware that there was a German Cemetery at Cannock Chase, but soon found a lot of details online. This is a photo of the site


I am recording the names of the fallen Germans here as with today’s Internet and the ability to search the Web so easily, maybe one day a relative will discover the photos and find comfort in knowing that the Brits at that time gave the dead men a decent burial.

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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 http://frothblowers.co.uk/aofbhist.htm

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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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