Old Photographs - Photobooths in Cambridgeshire
Occasionally amongst your family photos you may find a tiny photographic print or strip of prints from a photo booth. Wikipedia describes a photo booth as a vending machine or modern kiosk that contains an automated, usually coin-operated, camera and film processor.
Photo Booths in Cambridgeshire
It is very difficult to re-construct the spread of photobooths in Cambridgeshire. The arrival of a photobooth wasn’t sufficiently newsworthy to appear in the local press or to be included in a shop’s advertising. Perhaps we can build a picture from readers' memories.
The first press reference relating to a photobooth in Cambridgeshire appears in the Cambridge Independent Press of 17 Jan 1919 p3. This was a report of a case before the local magistrates involving the use of an illegal gaming machine, "The Pickwick", in an amusement arcade at 92 Mill Road, Cambridge. The defendant was the arcade manager, Harry Fordham, aged 21. When police gave evidence describing the amusement arcade they mentioned in passing that there was a photo machine there – but it wasn’t part of the court case. Was this some sort of automatic tintype machine? The following is a description of the type of machine this may have been – taken from the US Popular Mechanics Magazine of Oct 1915 p575
Early tintype auto-foto machine from the US, Popular Mechanics Magazine 1915
The full history of the Photomaton machine is on our sister site www.stickybacks.com. No trace has yet been found of Photomaton machines in Cambridgeshire, but it is possible that one was installed somewhere. The image below was found in a late 1920s Cambridgeshire family photo album and is cut from a photobooth strip - stuck into the album with the caption "1929". The width of the strip overall is exactly 45mm the image is edged in black with rounded internal corners. This could well be an early Photomaton print, but where was it taken? While most of the photos in the album are Cambridgeshire based, others suggested the owner visited Lowestoft, Heacham, Hunstanton, Great Yarmouth and Eastbourne in the 1920s.
It is not known whether any photoweigh machines were installed in Cambridgeshire - these were probably more popular at coastal resorts. Were there any at Railway stations?
From the 1960s photo booths started to appear in larger branches of Boots and FW Woolworths and in major Post Offices.
WE HAVE MOVED ALL OUR MATERIAL ON THIS TOPIC TO OUR NEW SITE AT WWW.STICKYBACKS.UK
Links to Stickybacks and related pages on our other site: www.stickybacks.uk: