British photographic history

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I'm trying to find historical company records for Ilford. A couple of years ago, a friend contacted Ilford via their website to enquire whether there were any company archives but was told,

"We no longer have any such archives within the company. We believe that some material was handed over to an archive in Redbridge when the company was still based in Essex and some was given to MOSI? in Manchester in the 1980's." 

I seem to recall that an email to MOSI -- Museum of Science and Industry -- hit a deadend too, but I'm following up again just to be sure. Does anyone in this group have any other leads I could try?

I'm specifically interested in Ilford's involvement in Dufaycolor in the 1930s-40s, and the lab work done by G.B. Harrison and others. I know that Ilford made the B&W base for Dufaycolor stock, but I am trying to verify some anecdotal evidence that they experimented with an 8mm version of the film. The book Silver by the Ton, mentions that, "A licence was granted to Spicer-Dufay (British), to sell the réseau base to Kodak for 16mm and 8mm cine films."

It would be great to find some company documentation of this! 

I understand that the Eastman Kodak archives are now available in Rochester, NY, so I plan to explore that route at some point too.

Thanks for any clues you can offer, 

Louisa Trott

Knoxville, Tennessee

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You have a few questions there. The Ilford records are split between Redbridge Museum and the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford which has a number of early ledgers (originally given to the Science Museum in the early 1980s and then transferred). I have used the latter and I suspect that there is nothing to help you with your Dufay research. Eastman Kodak's records are, again, split: the Special Collections at the University of Rochester and Eastman House are the main repositories. The former is likely to be most useful to you.

You might also want to take a look at the Kodak Ltd's archive which is held at the British Library as the Kodak Historical Collection and which I inventorised a few years ago. There are two files with material relating to Dufay of which this is the most promising: 

A2120 1 binder c.1930-50s Corporate; Wartime;
other companies
A binder containing cuttings of Kodak wartime advertising; samples of staff
signatures; non-Kodak personnel signatures; Kodak companies letterheads;
photographs of Kodak Museum 1970; Timing photograph of world air speed record
flight for Schneider trophy 1929; Sandell Film sample; non-Kodak company
Includes Ilford Ltd, Photographic
Dealers Association and Dufay-

It may be worth a look. 

Hope that helps. 

Michael Pritchard 

Thank you, Michael. I will follow up on these leads!


Ilford did in the early 30's experiment with 8mm and 16mm film as over the last year I have been looking into Kodak Stevenage UK and I read something about this but as it was not something I was looking into I didnt save the details but if I do find it again I will post details for you

They also sold reels as shown
This item has now turned up on ebay with the same picture

Hope this helps a little

Hi Louisa - I am very late replying to this, but I have just sent you a friend request so I can message you privately. I am researching in the Ilford archives at Redbridge at the moment and would love to know more about how your project has progressed, and whether I might be able to help you (and vice versa) - best wishes

Michelle Henning

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