Anyone remember the Jacksons Faces photo business?

memory 2203

memory 2203 - Credit: Archant

A prewar photograph of a uniformed Gorleston beach inspector, his son and the lad’s big model yacht, might have been a simple snapshot or a professional job by Jacksons Faces, whose cameramen spent many summers in the borough’s holiday areas, I wrote recently when featuring the picture.

It had been passed to me by Ele Rodgers, of Arundel Road, Great Yarmouth, whose father and grandfather – both named Hugh – were in the nostalgic scene.

That brought me an email from Paul Godfrey, now of Lowestoft, expressing pleasure at seeing the picture.

“It was certainly taken in the area where Jacksons Faces took their photos in Gorleston. Jacksons photographs usually have a scratched-on number in black lettering to identify the picture.

“The photo in the Mercury seems to have been cropped and, if it had a number, this has been cut off. I believe these numbers were scratched on to the glass plate before it was printed. A sharp pointed tool was used to do this and most photographers used a dart as the tool.”

For the record, only some sky and pavement were trimmed from Ele’s picture which had no identification number on it.

Continues Paul: “Jacksons Faces had a shop at 18 Lower Marine Parade that the photographs were sold from, a very small shop which may not have been where the plates were processed and printed.

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“The photographer was probably using a postcard size single lens reflex camera and would have had only six or twelve loaded dark slides at any one time. Boys were usually employed as runners, taking exposed plates away in their dark slides and bringing freshly reloaded slides ready for exposure.

“The processing facility would not have been that far away as the prints were available for sale only a few hours after the photos were taken. Charabanc trips were also photographed before departure, often outside number 18. The photographs would have been available to buy when the charabanc returned.

“Jacksons also had premises on St Peter’s Road, Yarmouth, previously occupied by photographer Alfred Read. I assume this was a processing facility and retail shop, where the happy holidaymakers collected their photographs.

“Jacksons took charabanc photographs in Yarmouth, often while parked outside the Marine Arcades, as well as walking photographs of people along Marine Parade and on the Britannia Pier.

“Another outlet for their photographic skills was the taking of groups on board pleasure steamers. These, like the charabanc photos, were taken before the trip and would have been ready to buy on return to Hall Quay. The paddle tug United Service was often used as a pleasure steamer in the summer months before the 1939-45 war and the passengers were regularly snapped by a member of the Jacksons Faces team.

“I believe they were taking photographs in Yarmouth and Gorleston from 1921 until 1939. Their shop was still in business at Lower Marine Parade, Gorleston, into the 1970s but I do not believe they were taking photographs any more.

“After the war J Barker & Sons had the sole concession to take street photographs in Yarmouth and Gorleston and their photographers in bright red jackets were a common siGHT on Yarmouth seafront until the late 1970s.

“If any Mercury reader could tell me more about Jackson’s Faces, I would love to know.”

Paul Godfrey is a professional photographer who first set up in Gorleston in 1968.

My Uncle Bill worked for Jacksons Faces here just before the war and occasionally snapped his relatives, probably not in the expectation that any would buy his pictures but to impress onlooking holidaymakers and trippers that he was ready to provide them with a memento of their visit to the resort.

So there were likely to have been many Jacksons Faces photographs, taken by their cameramen living locally, in their families’ sideboard drawers and albums, all “freebies” but properly printed postcard size with, on the reverse, the company’s name and the conventional spaces for a message and postal address of any recipient.