Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

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2621 It seems that the early years of the 20th Century, at least in Hastings, were the heyday of the ‘beach photographer’ and I have quite a few examples of beach photographs in my collection, most of them well-handled but not posted. I often wonder, who were they, those people in the fading photographs? Almost certainly they were ‘day-trippers’ arriving by train to the nearby Hastings Station or, later, in the 1920’s in charabancs. Had the fashion for photographic seaside souvenirs not died a natural death in the 1930’s the war would have finished it off anyway.

Beach photographers usually identified the individual photographs by including small placards or blackboards within the pictures advertising themselves and noting details of the party. The images were finally produced on postcard-sized photographic paper and included a ‘postcard back’ already printed. Presumably, the photos had to be ready for collection by the subjects within a short time of the pictures being taken - easy enough for A M Breach, from the Old Town fishing family of the same surname, operating from various addresses in White Rock between 1897 and 1922 but what about William Weeks Pearson of ‘Pearsons Popular Postcards’ fame, he was another prolific beach photographer and lived and worked from 30 Vicarage Road and later 22 Whitefriars Road, on the West Hill, as an ‘outdoor’ photographer he preferred not to use a studio, were the negatives taken home for development of the prints ready for the trippers’ departure? Or were they paid for at the time of taking (unusual at that time) and posted on in a bundle, or posted with an invoice, quite possible in those far-off, more trusting times. More questions than answers I’m afraid.

The uncredited photo above, probably taken in the 1920’s Has the Queens Hotel clearly visible in the background and, on the right are the buildings that were later to fall victim to air raids and the area in which they are all posing standing is now covered by Sidney Little’s Promenade

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

1906 Below:Breach’s ‘Having a Good Time at HASTINGS No 22’ is undated, but if it’s later than 1922 his studio would have been at 72 Cambridge Road, and he seems to have ceased trading in the 1930’s

1058 Left: Pearson’s “June 23 No 2”, taken to the east of the original White Rock Baths, shows children ready kitted-out with buckets and spades, ready for the seaside and in the background a Punch-and-Judy show is taking place

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

1066 A M Breach’s picture above, 'Peace at Hastings 1919', clearly identifiable as being opposite the end of Robertson Street, is interesting for several reasons, it’s not a run-of-the mill beach photo, it was probably a family, a local group who went to Breach’s studio at 37a White Rock,(just out of shot to the left of the group,) specifically to have the group photo taken and were posed outdoors. Was the picture taken to celebrate the safe return of the two young soldiers shown lounging in the front row? Another thing to notice is, to the right of the group, the ladders to the top floor of a house in Caroline Parade. Ten years earlier Robert Tressell, in his ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ had highlighted the fatal dangers of these ladders, no Health and Safety then! This card has been posted, on the  8th July 1919 to Lieut. H C Burberry, 130 Chinese Labour Company, LEF, France – does anyone know anything about 130 Chinese Labour Company?

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

1927 A M Breach’s ‘No. 195 Public Group’ shows, in the background, the roof of a covered charabanc but with over 40 folk in the picture they would not have all fitted in it, so it may have nothing to do with the picture. The soldier, top left, suggests that the photograph could have been taken around 1919.

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs

2620 Uncredited is the picture with Hastings Pier in the background and the coconut fibre runner to aid walking down to the sea. Some of the younger members have clearly been swimming – their all-encompassing swimwear is clearly wet and the headwear looks like shower caps of later years.
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Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
0274 "Pearsons Popular Postcards" July 20 Group 2, early 20's? with the Queens Hotel in the background

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Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
1777 A note on the reverse says "Taken at Hastings 26/9/17" Shoulder flashes say "Royal Flying Corps" and the location is in the beach in front of the Palace Hotel which had been used as a billet for the RFC
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2255 Unnamed photographer but dated, on the negative, No3. 11/8/26. Note Palace Hotel on the right and Grand Hotel opposite the pier. In the background there are rowing boats drawn up against the sea wall
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2358 An A M Breach photograph. Unposted but on the back it says "Can you find Grandad here?"
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2502 "A M Breach's No 109 Public Group" with Caroline Parade as the backdrop. The area is now covered by the seafront A259 over an underground car park

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2521 A M Breach "Having a good time at HASTINGS 22" Posted to Stoke Newington on 5th August 1919

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2524 Warrior Square with St.Leonards Pier in the background, Childrens Special Service Mission. Undated but early 30's? The card is embossed A M Breach Hastings. I remember these missions in the late 1950's

Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2538 "A M Breach's No 117 Public Group" with Caroline Parade as the backdrop, note soldiers centre back so 1919 or earlier?
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2589 "Having a good time at HASTINGS 289 Photo by A M Breach", Palace Hotel on the right and White Rock Baths as a backdrop
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2619 Uncredited, Hastings Pier in the background and Palace Hotel on the right. was this a charabanc outing - is that the driver wearing the white cap, middle row on the right
Historic Hastings Beach Photographs
2622
Left. Uncredited and taken with the Harbour arm in the distance 1920's?

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