Tag Archives: Wales

This is another photobooth postcard from my collection but one published by Auto-Snaps which, to my knowledge, did not also own or operate any photobooths. I can find no reference to this publisher online and have never seen another postcard designed by them.

This young man’s name is Donald. An adult has filled in the address and message –

Having a nice time Auntie.

He has signed the card himself and added three kisses. (Please see the image below.)

Like the other postcards I have posted in this series of three, the message is written in pencil. Unlike the others, this one has been posted without an envelope. It was sent from the seaside resort town of Rhyl in Wales. It is dated June 1937. It is interesting that Rhyl is also the town where Cyril Astor had one of his booths in the 1940s through to the early 70s. I imagine it possible that this was one of his earliest booths. His offices were situated nearby.

To see the previous posts about photobooth postcards please click here and here.


Please scroll down for more photos after the article.
photoboothDad&PatFrontCyrilAstor photoboothDad&PatInsideCyrilAstor

Cyril Astor ran a photography business that was exclusively dedicated to photobooths. In partnership with a Mr Leach, Cyril hired out booths to tourist venues and special events,as well as having a number of booths in permanent locations. The business no longer exists but was located on Cefndy Road Industrial Estate in Rhyl in the county of Denbighshire in North Wales. Rhyl is a seaside resort town and an ideal place for booths that supported the local tourist industry.


Inscribed on the back “To Mother From Edwin”

I was unable to find a record of when the business started but his booths were used at the Cardiff venue for the Festival of Britain in 1951, so the business was in operation at that time. In 1972 the business still existed when Irish lass, 20 year old Patsy Furber worked there. I am very grateful to Patsy for her help in my research for this post.

Patsy has shared some of her personal memories of Cyril’s business with me –

“The managing director was a Mr. Leach, the manager was Gwyn. Mr. Leach’s secretary was Cathy and the telephonist and office worker was Nerys. I was a shorthand typist and part of my job was to type order forms for the chemicals they needed for the booths.

I liked working for Cyril Astor’s business in the beginning but left with extremely bad feelings. I come from Belfast, Ireland and I am afraid I fell foul of political bullying caused by misinformation given by the Special Branch Police in Wales.

I really did enjoy myself at Astors but felt it very unfortunate that things turned out the way they did.  Unfortunately, it was the political atmosphere at the time. It was a thing a good many Irish in Britain had to endure….”

Mr Astor had booths in Margate (UK), Ramsgate (UK) and Rhyl in Wales. One of the prime spots for his booths was on the ‘Great Orme’ in Llandudno in Wales. Without Patsy’s help, it was difficult to find information about Cyril’s business but I did find that he was an exhibitor at a trade fair at Alexandra Palace which was advertised in Billboard magazine on the 26 November, 1966. Presumably this event promoted his booths for hire.

photoboothCyrilAstor copy

In addition to being a photographer, Cyril was an inventor. He made a patent application in 1966. The Patent Index says that he applied for patents to make improvements to the Photomaton machine in the early 1960s.

“Abstract of GB962798 962,798. Rollerways. CYRIL ASTOR PHOTOMATON (LONDON) Ltd. March 2, 1962 [Dec. 16, 1960], No. 43458/60. Heading B8A. [Also in Division G2] Film is conveyed through a processing tank by a plurality of vertically-spaced sets of rollers, each set being individual…”

On the back of each of the cardboard photo frames it says, “Photographer: Cyril Astor. You can obtain three beautiful postcard sized enlargements by sending this photograph with name and address to Cyril Astor, 28, North Drive, Rhyl, North Wales. Together with postal order valued 5/-. It is never too late to send and you get this photo back.”  Of course it is too late now, despite the claim, but it does make me think there could be some fabulous photobooth postcard gems out there to be discovered!



Printed on the backs of the father and daughter pair (above) is Cyril’s standard advertisement.


photoboothCyrilAstorRamsgateFront photoboothCyrilAstorRamsgateBack


%d bloggers like this: