Grahame N's Web Pages

Pathéscope People

During my illness (I am still not good!); a fomer Pathéscope employee contacted me.
- Gerald Rickwood - he worked in the factory/laboratory from 1948 to 1952 or so.
Gerald was a keen photographer and joined the Pathéscope camera club.
Luckily he took various photos some of which he has kindly supplied.
I have tried to include some below - most of which include Pathéscope staff.

Here is Gerald winning first prize in the Pathéscope camera club competition in1950 - he was seventeen!


Taken at the camera club 1950 - From left to right . . in the corner is Ray Thorn,
next to him is the young lad who remained in the film drying room who used to
remove the 1000ft rolls of processed printed films as and when each spool was full.
If we happened to put too much Formalin in the final wash before the films
entered the drying room where it was quite warm, he would sit there in tears!
I cannot remember the other young chap next to him, but the man in the dark
suit was Bill Banyard, Sales Rep . . next to him is Eddie Withers, Service Reception Manager.
The next person is my late brother, Ivan Rickwood, assistant to Ted Brunger, Publicity Manager;
one of their tasks was to produce the 'in-house' magazine, the Pathééscope Monthly
I cannot recall who the last fellow is/was, but he was employed in the Sales Department.
(text from Gerald Ricks email)

(Later we know the Financial Drector was Bernard Joslin (ex Marine officer); Charles Dowers was Managing Director)

As life was in the late Forties, most workers either walked, rode a pedal cycle, or caught a bus to work,
but at Pathéscope one guy had his own motorised transport.
. Here you can see him arriving on his Triumph 500cc Tiger Motorcycle; ~. note, no crash helmets in those days!
I cannot remember his name, but Ken may be able to recall it?

Another interesting feature in this photo are the railings in the background.
Each Motocamera for it' s final lens test was that I loaded a charger with film
and from the factory steps I would take a short film of the scene in front of me;
I would develop the film and show the results to Johnny Foster who would say 'Yes' or 'No' ,
depending on whether the railings were sharp or not!
By the way, the mountain in the background was one of the lime pits belonging to the British Oxygen Company.
(text from Gerald Ricks email)

If you get to speak with Ken Valentine you may like to remind him that he and I had to sweep, yes, with brooms.
The whole of the factory area out at the end of each day.
That included Johnny Foster's office, the machine shop, assembly areas, packing department and service department area.

Now, some more pictures from back then (1948-1951)

If roll film had been more readily available I might have taken more;
it was still vary scarce after the war, especially for the general public and amateurs.
Herewith another lunchtime shot . .the chap on the left I cannot remember his name,
he worked in the spray paint shop out back of the factory; he was a keen roller speed skater.
The central figure was Jack Duffy and on the right is Jack Cooke..



In this shot, taken at one of the photo club's meetings are from left to right -

. . Joan Wells, assistant to Mr. Thorn (Lab manager) . . next, Harry Cowdrey, in charge of machine shop
. . his wife Joan, secretary to the sales manager Sydney Taylor .. . Jose de-Boer, Eddie Wither's secretary
. . Jack Cooke . . Maureen Burke (my late sister-in-law), she was Joan Wells assistant
. . finally, the man with glasses was Mr. Thorn, Ray's father.

(Joan Cowdrey is now 90! - see still keeps in contact with Gerald Rickwood)

Some Pathéscope employees sat outside one lunchtime - sometime 1948-1951
(sorry, these are not identified!)


I used to be empoyed by Pathescope. It was the summer of 1948 when I first joined; initially I was on the first stages of assembling the Gem projectors.
At the same time the Works Manager, Mr. John Foster was developing the 'Son' Sound Projector, based on the 'Gem'
As I progressed, I was moved over to Motocamera 'H' assembly and doinng the final lens testing.
.A vacancy became available in the film laboratories, I applied and was successful in getting the position
where I was involved in the bulk processing of printed 'library' films; not the personal home movies.
In 1949 my late brother became assistant to the publicity manager, and my brother's wife was also employed in the laboratories.
In 1951 I went into the RAF and never returned when I was 'demobbed' in 1954 . .
but during those years I did call in to see friends whom I had worked with, and took the photographs below.

In the first picture the upper floor (facing) was devoted to the offices and staff canteen.
The lower floor was given over to development and machine shop, assembly lines, and service department; out back was the paint shop.

In the second photograph, it shows the side extension which housed the laboratories, darkrooms where the library
films were printed and processed, also the personal home movies were developed there.


Please excuse the somewhat untidyness - there may be more to come!
Meantime as someone once said - 'publish and be damned!'

Return to:- ......... .................. MAIN MENU

Created 09Mar2019 ........... Last updated: 12 Mar 2019 ............. pathescopepeople.htm ........ Grahame L. Newnham's Web Pages