British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Paul Godfrey
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  • Lowestoft Suffolk.
  • United Kingdom
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John Dobson
1 Reply

Lowestoft based freelance press photographer John Dobson was the subject of an article in the "Industrial and Commercial Photographer" magazine in the mid 1960s. Does any member of this group hold an…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Michael Pritchard Sep 9.

George Eastman first day cover
1 Reply

I have been given this first day cover that was posted in Rochester NY on the centenary of the birth of George Eastman on 12th July 1954. The envelope is still sealed and there appears to be a short…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Paul Godfrey May 11, 2016.

Great Yarmouth Town Hall pre 1878

I have been shown several plates of old Great Yarmouth buildings by a local collector and they are in the same (nearly square) format measuring four inches by three and three eighths inches 10cm x…Continue

Started Jul 21, 2015

Ernest Estcourt

Does any member of this forum have any knowledge of an Ernest Estcourt 1842-1911. In 1892 he patented “Improvements in Means for Changing Films and Plates in Photographic Cameras.” Was this patent…Continue

Started Feb 17, 2015

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Paul Godfrey joined Marcel Safier's group
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Carte de Visite

Focussing on all facets of the history of the carte de visite and the photographers that made them in Great Britain and around the world.See More
Nov 8
Michael Pritchard replied to Paul Godfrey's discussion John Dobson
"The British Library will have copies. Or use Worldcat to other libraries wtih holdings (check down the search list as it seems to be listed multiple times). "
Sep 9
Paul Godfrey posted a discussion

John Dobson

Lowestoft based freelance press photographer John Dobson was the subject of an article in the "Industrial and Commercial Photographer" magazine in the mid 1960s. Does any member of this group hold an archive of this magazine or could advise me if any institution that may hold copies the I&C Photographer?
Sep 9
Paul Godfrey posted a blog post

Blue plaque will celebrate the first moving pictures to be taken in East Anglia.

In the summer 1896 two strangers to Gorleston walked along the South Pier and set up a tripod mounted wooden camera and pointed it inland towards the harbour bend (see: https://youtu.be/ua2MStD2J00). By then the locals must have been used to seeing photographers like…See More
Oct 4, 2016
Paul Godfrey posted an event

Watch The Birdie at South Lowestoft Methodist Church

September 8, 2016 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Aug 31, 2016
Paul Godfrey posted a blog post

Cherry Kearton camera on BBC Antiques Roadshow (15/05/2016)

The BBC’s Antiques Roadshow featured an English Pattern wooden cine camera believed to have been owned by Cherry Kearton. Expert Hilary Kay identified the camera as being made by the Williamson Kinematograph Co Ltd but this was based on the star trade mark that was on the lower film magazine. The upper magazine was different to the lower one. The camera had large hinges that I would not associate with a Williamson product. I wonder if any member of this forum can offer an expert opinion.The…See More
May 16, 2016
Paul Godfrey replied to Paul Godfrey's discussion George Eastman first day cover
""Thanks to my friend James Fisk, I now know the text of the short note inside the envelope"
May 11, 2016
Paul Godfrey posted a discussion

George Eastman first day cover

I have been given this first day cover that was posted in Rochester NY on the centenary of the birth of George Eastman on 12th July 1954. The envelope is still sealed and there appears to be a short letter from the then Chairman of Eastman Kodak, Thomas Hargrave, inside. I do realise that is not a rare or valuable philatelic or photographic artefact but it is of great interest to me because it is addressed to the photographer Harry Laxon of The Mirror Studio, Great Yarmouth. I have researched…See More
Apr 27, 2016
Paul Godfrey posted a blog post

Harold White FRPS

Harold White FRPS visited the village of Lacock in 1944 to undertake an assignment for the British Council to take photographs for a pamphlet about English village life. Followers of the British Photographic History Blog may be interest in viewing a new community web site called Lacock Unlocked where Harold White’s…See More
Dec 6, 2015
James Morley commented on Paul Godfrey's blog post Information: Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich / 1 June 1899
"And thanks for the warning about the nitrate film base - some of mine are rather cloudy too!"
Nov 7, 2015
James Morley commented on Paul Godfrey's blog post Information: Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich / 1 June 1899
"I found myself here after searching for info on the Frena. If you look at http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Frena it gives the negative sizes for various models. I'm not sure this really is close to a quarter plate, which at 4.25 x 3.25 inches…"
Nov 7, 2015
Paul Godfrey posted an event

Great Yarmouth Photographic Society at Bradwell Community Centre

October 7, 2015 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Great Yarmouth & District Photographic Society will be holding a "President's Evening" on Wednesday the 7th October 2015 at GYDPS%20Flyer%2007102015.pdf, Lord's Lane, Bradwell. The Society's president Paul Godfrey will be presenting an illustrated "Historic Photographic Miscellany" of his researches into the history…See More
Sep 15, 2015
Paul Godfrey posted a discussion

Great Yarmouth Town Hall pre 1878

I have been shown several plates of old Great Yarmouth buildings by a local collector and they are in the same (nearly square) format measuring four inches by three and three eighths inches 10cm x 8.5cm, not quite quarter plate. One thought that I had was that these were once one half of stereo pairs. The provenance of the plate is fairly good. The plates were given to the present custodian in the 1970s by Sydney Yallop son of Alfred Yallop, a well known Great Yarmouth photographer. Alfred…See More
Jul 21, 2015
Paul Godfrey commented on Michael Pritchard's blog post Identification: tintype family sequence
"Walter Golder 1846-1912. Was a cordwainer/shoemaker/bootmaker turned photographer. The 1891,1901 and 1911 Census and the 1903 Kelly's Directory give his occupation as a "photographer" based in Margate."
Jun 22, 2015
Paul Godfrey commented on Brian Grint's event 'Brian Grint'
"An excellent talk by Brian Grint about a family of photographers. A great insight into the life of a Victorian rural jobbing photographer. Some dedicated research by all concerned to produce an entertaining and informative evening."
Jun 6, 2015
Paul Godfrey commented on Paul Godfrey's blog post Information: Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich / 1 June 1899
"Thank you for the warning David. I will take your advice."
Jun 1, 2015

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Paul Godfrey's Blog

Blue plaque will celebrate the first moving pictures to be taken in East Anglia.

In the summer 1896 two strangers to Gorleston walked along the South Pier and set up a tripod mounted wooden camera and pointed it inland towards the harbour bend (see: https://youtu.be/ua2MStD2J00). By then the locals must have been used to seeing…

Continue

Posted on October 4, 2016 at 16:00

Cherry Kearton camera on BBC Antiques Roadshow (15/05/2016)

The BBC’s Antiques Roadshow featured an English Pattern wooden cine camera believed to have been owned by Cherry Kearton. Expert Hilary Kay identified the camera as being made by the Williamson Kinematograph Co Ltd but this was based on the star trade mark that was on the lower film magazine. The upper magazine was different to the lower one. The camera had large hinges that I would not associate with a Williamson product. I wonder if any member of this forum can offer an expert…

Continue

Posted on May 16, 2016 at 11:00

Harold White FRPS

Harold White FRPS visited the village of Lacock in 1944 to undertake an assignment for the British Council to take photographs for a pamphlet about English village life. Followers of the British Photographic History Blog may be interest in viewing a new community web site called Lacock Unlocked where Harold…

Continue

Posted on December 5, 2015 at 15:00

Information: Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich / 1 June 1899

I have borrowed this negative from a local historian. It is in an envelope labelled “Bishop’s Bridge Norwich” and dated 1st June 1899. The negative measures 6x9cm approx and is on a translucent rather than transparent film base that I assume to be celluloid. The top and bottom edges are cut with castellations with…

Continue

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 11:30 — 5 Comments

Comment Wall (3 comments)

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At 10:51 on February 24, 2013, Karen Shepherdson said…

Hello Dear Paul,

At last I am connecting with BPH and to my delight with you. SEAS Photography is now underway, busy archiving the Sunbeam Collection - it is sheer joy! Our website hopefully goes live next month and activities begin in ernest from this summer. We will of course keep you posted.

So lovely to find your message on a grey Sunday morning.

K

At 10:34 on August 28, 2012, Terence Baggett said…

Paul, hi.  I hope you have received the group photo I sent (as per direction).

I'll try to answer your queries on darkroom/processing as well as I can but bulk processing was not my field and I realise I may have mislead you slightly already.

The size of print I am able to take from a few examples I still have.  The picture is a little under 60x80mm on card that is a little under 70x90mm.  These were printed 3-up on a strip and cut with a guillotine in the kiosk when sold.

I think, on reflection, that Chambers referred to the printer as an Enprinter and not a Kenprinter as I mistakenly reported and the prints were called enprints although these names are similar enough to get me confused.  The numbers were printed on the strip, almost certainly during printing but I don't know if the developing was done inside the machine or in the large tanks that surrounded the printer. The paper/card is thicker than my later colour photos, so could be double weight. Chambers used a glazer drum to dry not glaze - reverse side down on the heated drum - before being cut into strips of 3 prints; so I know the prints were processed on a long roll of paper. they were processed in a similar way to the negatives (rolled on a spindle separated by a plastic strip of the same size). I saw them in their final process when I went across the road to change/cut film.

I know that the mix in the tanks was around 5-10% stronger than as directed and the development temperature was a little high; this speeded up the processing and the increased grain was not noticeable.  With up to 9 camera operators each taking 800-1,000 shots per day the processing had to be fast to meet set times for customers to get their pics.

I remember the smells well.  The chemicals were not particularly dangerous but the developer and the hypo had very distinctive smell and I remember with more concern a tub of bromide, although not sure what John used it for except to scare us young men.  We (camera men) always jokingly moaned about Olive making tea only for John until one morning when we went to the studio to get our film cut, we were met with a cup of tea each. "Don't worry, I've put in the milk, sugar, etc." said John,  On the table next to the cups was a bottle of milk, a sugar bowl and the pot of bromide.  None took the risk or asked for tea again.

I can't remember the name of the Bournemouth firm, unfortunately although both names have a familiar ring ("Bailey" for obvious reasons)

At 19:15 on August 18, 2012, Terence Baggett said…

Paul, hope this is of interest.

Yes, the 250 was a pleasure to use.  The lens was excellent and with Ilford's FP3 file grain film, the image was crisp; capable of a very big blow-up.  The film cartridges were perfect for the sandy beach conditions and never scratched the negatives.  Although the controls on the 250 look fiddly now, it was simple and quick to use with practice, even if you did have to use a match to change aperture.  With the large volume of shots we took, we could all take well positioned walkie shots without even looking through the tiny viewfinder.  A real case of "feel the force".  I still find that the informal "shooting from the hip" produces the best shots and best catches the moment, even with today's digital auto-everything nonsense (I now need 15min to look up the manual to be able to override the auto stuff when I used to make a near instant adjustment).

Chambers made a tradition of taking a group photo of the team each year.  I still have one, taken in front of the Kiosk around 1967??.  Would like a scan of this?  If so how could I get it to the forum?

I like your schedule of beach photographers.  One correction: Chambers did not do postcard prints; they sold triplicate prints 3-up B&W portrait on a landscape sheet with nothing printed on the back, except the serial number.  Their darkroom was in the basement of a row of shops opposite King George III statue with the Kiosk on the other side of the statue, on the prom.  Chambers must have had around 9 250s, maybe more, all black.

Chambers did have a Kenprinter, printing on rolls of paper.  The finished prints were not glazed.  I did not use the Kenprinter (a printer was employed) but rainy days were, for us camera operators, darkroom days: printing the backlog of enlargements.

There were many firms taking walkies in Weymouth. Chambers was the only firm that had a long record from 1920, unbroken except for WW2.  The beach was available for licence in 2 parts and Chambers always had the larger southern part and some years had both parts.  A firm called Meeches occasionally had the lesser north part, from the Jubilee Clock to Greenhill with a Kiosk near the clock and darkroom in on the the beach facing Georgian terraces.  I worked on that pitch for 2 years before joining Chambers although this was for different companies, both were colour and with glazed prints (heat glazing prints near sand is a bad idea); one was a local photography shop trying its hand and the other was a Bournemouth beach photography company trying to expand.  Neither lasted more than one year and neither used leicas.

There were other pitches in the town, away from the beach: 

  • On the exit to the fairground on the opposite side of the swanery there was one licensed pitch - a lone cameraman and kiosk; he had cut-out look-through boards which we did not on the beach front. 
  • On the main side of the swanery, where boats could be hired and on the adjacent pleasure gardens, an unlicensed photographer operated.  He was an ageing flash character, lost in time - zoot suite, wide colourful tie and thin moustache.  Despite his spivy appearance I really liked the guy.  I was told he once worked for Meeches when they operated on the beach.
  • Then there were the unwanted unlicensed heavies from the city, who would occasionally plague the town until we could get rid of them.

 

 
 
 

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