Jerome Studios ~ Branches Everywhere


The introductory notes relating to the "History of the Jerome Studio chain" have come to me from two sources:

  1. Dennis Garrett, son of Albert H. Garrett.   Albert Garrett, working in conjunction Colonel Bertram Gale, expanded Colonel Gale's existing small photographic studio business until it eventually, under the name Jerome Studios, included branches throughout the UK and beyond.
    Photographs supplied by Dennis Garrett are Ref: DG in the paragraphs below.
  2. Nick Whittall (and his father Richard). Nick is the great grandson of Colonel Bertram Gale and has supplied me with several photographs of the Gale family.
    Photographs supplied by Nick Whittall are Ref: NW in the paragraphs below.

Using (mostly) Dennis Garretts' own words:

  • Colonel Bertram Gale founded Gale Studios shortly after WWI and these initially operated on a limited scale until, in 1928, Bertram met Dennis's father Albert H. Garrett, whose company commenced constructing and manufacturing all the equipment and fitting out new photographic studios under the name of Jerome Ltd.

But Note Below: Gale Studios seem to have had their origins from around 1910.

  1. Information from Peter Stubbs (who runs the 'EdinPhoto' site; see below) taken from the book by Gillian Jones entitled "Lancashire Professional Photographers, 1840-1940", suggests that some Gale Studios were in existence at least as early as 1916.
  2. The 1911 census already lists Betram's ocupation as a "Photographer" and as an "Employer". So it seems that Bertram Gale was involved in the photographic trade from the earliest decade of the 20th century.
  3. David Simkin, an amateur photo-historian with his own website "Sussex PhotoHistory" devoted to photographers who were active in East and West Sussex during the Victorian and Edwardian period (see below), has e-mailed to tell me he has evidence that Bertram Gale was operating a number of photographic studios in London and the Provinces as early as 1910 or 1911.

Dennis Garrett with his father Albert H. Garrett, taken in 1952 at the Garrett factory (see below, left) where Jerome cameras and equipment were designed and manufactured. It was at the end of this same year that Dennis permanently left England (Ref:DG)
  • By 1930, Jerome Ltd had absorbed all the previous Gale studios and within ten years there were Jerome branches throughout the country, plus Paris and Amsterdam.
  • Customers expected that their photographic portraits would be processed while they waited or they could call back a short time later. Using paper negatives and reflected light enlargers considerably reduced the operating costs in providing such a service. Jerome Studios were thus able to offer a (fairly) high standard of photography and at the same time keep the costs well within the reach of most people. In consequence, Jerome became a household name.
  • Jerome also produced roll films (see below) in the standard sizes for cameras of the day, and these 'Jerome Spools' also produced opaque paper (not transparent celluloid) negatives. This meant that the negatives could only be printed by Jerome. The developing & printing of customers rolls of films (and all other special procedures) was carried out at Jerome Developing & Printing at Bovay Place, Holloway, London, N.7. Customers could leave their films at any Jerome studio and collect the finished results from the same Studio a day or two later.During the 2nd World War, because the UK Government saw Jerome Studios as a morale booster, they were able to continue receiving photographic material supplies, and catering to the greatly increased business. Soldiers and their wives, or sweet hearts, wanted to swap photographs before being parted.
  • By the end of the 2nd World War, some branches had suffered air raid damage and needed reparations to continue business as usual. Then, several new branches were also opened with Dennis Garrett's architectural designs which engendered the post-war look and seemed to attract even more customers.
  • Although a dynamic business man, Dennis found Colonel Gale to be very kind and generous, exerting a rather avuncular influence over him.
  • In 1954, due to his distaste with the British post-war governments, Dennis' father, Albert Garrett, moved his UK holdings to South Africa, where he continued in the construction and engineering business.
  • Despite a board of directors, Colonel Gale was the "dynamo", which became apparent after his demise, when Jerome fell upon hard times until sold.
               

The letter below (made available by courtesy of Dennis Garrett) was sent by Bertram Gale to Albert Garrett in May 1948, when the latter was in S.Africa but due to return to the UK.
Notice the list of Jerome Directors, at the top left hand side.
Bertram and Albert were on very cordial terms and the use of the surname in the opening "Dear Garrett" is just the way close male friends often addressed each other at that time.




This is the Garrett Building in London, photographed in 1950. It was also the offices of Jerome Ltd. until the end of the war (1945) when they moved to (No.26; Ref:NW) Dorset Street, London, W.1. (Ref:DG). The address of 26, Dorset Street appears on the above letter heading.


This is the Jerome paper negative for the 1950's image shown alongside.
Although requiring novel reflected light printing equipment in pre-digital film photography days, such negatives can now be easily printed by scanning them into a computer, reversing the negative scan to a positive using software, and printing out the result using a normal ink-jet printer. (Ref:DG)

At the time when Jerome Ltd used the Garrett Building as their Head Office, its postal address was:
182, King's Cross Road, London, W.C.1.

The same building is now (2014) occupied by a branch of 'Honest Burgers'.

It stands at the corner of King's Cross Road and Pentonville Road.
It has the postal address of 251, Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NG.

   


 Colonel Bertram Archibald Gale with his wife Jennie and their 3 children;
Dorothy born 1903, William Edward born 1908 and Violet (right) born 1905. (Ref:NW)
David Simkin believes Bertam was born in 1881 and died in 1962.

Bertram Gale's parents; William Isaac, born 1854 and Elizabeth, born 1859. (Ref:NW)
   


Bertram Gale in uniform ~ The Queen's Bays Cavalry. (Ref:NW)
This photograph is believed to date to dates from around 1905. As can be read at the base of the photograph, it was taken at Barnes studio at 172 Arkwright Street, Nottingham.
This Studio was apparently only in business between 1904 and 1907 (Ref: David Simkin).


3 Generations: Bertram Gale (left), his father William Isaac and Bertram's son, Edward. (Ref:NW)
   


This was "Heatherwold", Colonel Gale's estate in Esher, Surrey, England. Photographed in 1946.
Colonel Gale sold this Estate in the late 1940's before he moved to Kingston House, Kensington. Upon visiting him in Kensington, Dennis discovered that it was so exclusive that members of the acting and entertainment professions were not permitted to reside there, irrespective of their fame. (Ref:DG)


1947 - Colonel Gale's yacht, the M.Y.ROMA, berthed on the Thames near the Houses of Parliament, London, which perhaps is an appropriate example of his influence in political circles. (Refr:DG)
   

 

Jerome Studio premises, Paris, in 1949, with the Branch manager posing with a friend of Dennis Garrett.
Although the manager was a simple looking Englishman, he was a man of considerable courage who faithfully operated the Studio until the Germans were at the 'gates' of Paris (1940), compelling him and his wife to drive south until reaching safety in Spain and Portugal. (Ref:DG)


Another of Betram's yachts, M.Y.Judith. (Ref:NW)

Was there ever a Mr Jerome ??

Dennis Garrett isn't sure, but thinks possibly not.

He says:
"When my father and Colonel Gale first met, Colonel Gale was already operating his studios under the name of Gale. To the best of my (Dennis') knowledge, there was a Jerome Studio which Colonel Gale purchased and he later changed the name of all his studios to Jerome over the period of a few years. During this time he developed a symbiotic relationship with the Garrett companies which lasted for over twenty five years".

"I don't think there was a man named Jerome involved. It may have come from the Anglicized version of Gerome (Jean-Léon Gérôme the famous artist)".


The following information relates to the early formation of Gale Studios

David Simkin runs a website on 'Sussex PhotoHistory'.
David says "I believe that Bertram Gale was operating a number of photographic studios in London and the Provinces as early as 1910 or 1911. Please find attached, a scan of both sides of a cabinet card portrait dating from around 1912 (see below). You will notice that Gale lists Five branch studio addresses; Two in London (Clapham and Lewisham), One in Southampton, Two in Portsmouth and "Elsewhere" (perhaps to signify thet other studios were in the process of construction or planning)."


A young lady named Nellie, photographed perhaps, so she could send Christmas greetings to her parents.


"Wishing you both a Merry Xmas. Love from Nellie"
   

We know from the portrait of Bertram Gale in his Queen's Bays Cavalry uniform (see above), which David Simkin dates to around 1905, that Bertram is unlikely to have been running his own photographic studio at that time or it seems likely he would have had is photograph taken at his own premises. Instead he chose to use Barnes studio at 172 Arkwright Street, Nottingham.

In Kelly's Post Office Directory of London Suburbs, published in 1911, Bertram Archibald Gale is listed as a professional photographer with (already) studios at 62 St John's Road, London, and 134 High Street, Lewisham (see the top of the studio list on the reverse of the cabinet card, shown above).
The 1911 edition of Kelly's Directory of Hampshire also records Bertram Archibald Gale as a photographer at 179 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, but at this date Bertram Gale had not acquired the premises at 7 Kingston Road, Portsmouth, or opened his branch in Southampton. Hence, the above cabinet portrait must post-date the publication date of the 1911 Kelly's Directory.
The Lewisham branch of Gale's Studios, which is listed in 1911, is not listed in 1914, yet the Portsmouth branch was apparently still in business when Kelly's Hampshire trade directory was published in 1920.
From the above, it is reasonable to deduce that the cabinet portrait probably dates from around 1912.

From all the above, it seems that Bertram Gale most likely began 'Gale Studios' sometime between 1907 (the latest that he could have had his photograph taken at Barnes studio at Nottingham) and 1911 (when he already had two London studios and also one at Portsmouth). Hence, a 'round number' best guess is 1910, but it could have been a year or two earlier.


The following information relates to the re-naming of Gale Studios into Jerome Studios

Peter Stubbs runs the 'EdinPhoto' site.

Peter Stubbs has posted the following connections between Colonel Bertram Gale (and Gale's Studios) with Jerome's Studios, which he has extracted from Gilian Jones' book: "Lancashire Professional Photographers, 1840-1940." ISBN 0 9523011 5 6.

The dates of the Gale and Jerome Studios in Peter's list generally confirms the information from Dennis Garrett. The Gale Studio dates pre-date those of Jerome, with the changeover being around 1928-1930, though some Jerome Studios existed as early as 1920. Also, notice that two Gale Studios (at least) operated from 1916, which pre-dates the "post-WW1" timing that Dennis Garrett believes was the founding of Gale Studios.

Gilian Jones' book reveals that both companies had Studios in Liverpool and Manchester. Not unexpectedly, considering the information (above) that early Gale Studios later converted into Jerome Studios, the names of these two Studios often shared the same address:
LIVERPOOL
- Gale's: 1916-24: 17+29, London Road
- Jerome's: 1920-37: 17 London Road
- Jerome's: 1938-40+: 17 / 19 London Road

MANCHESTER
- Gale's: 1916-27: 54 Market Street
- Gale's: 1928-31: 52a Market Street
- Jerome's: 1930-31: 131 Market Street
- Jerome's: 1932-37: 52a Market Street
- Jerome's: 1938-39: 54 / 56 Market Street
- Gale's: 1922-25: 45 + 49 Oxford Road
- Jerome's: 1922-25: 45 / 47 Oxford Road



Gale's Studios ~ before Jerome

A photograph of a proud coal miner and his son, relatives of Margaret Pernavas, who, with her sister, has allowed me to show this picture. Margaret believes it dates between 1916 and 1927.

The reverse (right) shows it was taken at Gale's Studios, 54 Market Street, Manchester.

Notice the logo (enlarged, lower right),
"Branches Everywhere". This logo was subsequently adopted by the Jerome Studio chain.

     
The Gales Studio Ltd picture postcard below, sent to me by Denise Schramm, is maybe later than the one above, from Margaret Pernavas. The one below already claims there to be Gales Studios in at least 13 cities, whereas the one above only mentions Manchester. Interestingly, Manchester is the first city in the list of 13 cities on the card below, so maybe the cities are listed in the order that Studios were opened.
     

The Gale's Studio Ltd photograph below belongs to Denise Schramm, now in the USA but originally from Leicester. She believes the proud young man is her grandfather or great grandfather (depends on date).

The address side of the picture postcard is shown right (Ref:NW).
It lists 13 cities where Gale's already have a Studio, being "Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Blackpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester, Cardiff, Bristol, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Portsmouth, Sheffield". It concludes this list "Etc. Etc.", suggesting more opening all the time.
There is also a note saying that if you want to send a postcard to Gale's Studio, then "Gales Studio Ltd and the Town is sufficient address".



     
Dave Makin has e-mailed (August 2010) to tell me of one of his family photographs printed on a Gale Studios postcard, taken in November 1924. That picture (of his mother aged 5 months, being held by his grandmother) also bears the logo "Branches Everywhere". He knows that the picture was taken at the same Liverpool studio, on the London Road, that subsequently became the Jerome Studio illustrated lower down this page. Since Peter Stubb's information (see above) tells us that the Gale Studio on the London Road 'disappeared' after 1924 and the address was subsequently only occupied by Jerome, Dave Makin's picture was presumably taken in the last year that the name Gale Studios was in use in Liverpool.
     


Jerome Studios - Films & Processing Services Available to Amateur Photographers
     
'Spools', as rolls of film were universally known at that time, were available to the general public from Jerome Stuidos, but had to be returned to Jerome for developing and printing due to them being paper based, rather than the more conventional (transparent base) celluloid. Dennis Garrett (see his opening history above), and the print envelope from Grace Bricknell (see below), both tell us that the place where the public's developing & printing (D&P) was carried out (i.e. not the printing of studio photographs ~ those were processed by staff on the premises where they were taken) was at the Jerome Ltd Photographic Works, Bovay Place, Holloway, London, N.7. Its postal address was Jerome, Ltd; D.P. Dept; 416 Holloway Road, London N.7.
Bovay Place seems no longer to exist, but may have been near where The Nag's Head Shopping Centre is now located.

The pictures show a 120 size 'spool', expected to produce 8 exposures, each 2.25" x 3.25".

The print envelope (see below), gives some details of the cost of the Jerome service in (approx.) the 1930s.


     


Geoff Welding has provided me with this small booklet "The Knowledge Of The World Within" (price 2d = near 1p). It is a 32 page compendium of "Useful Information in Concise Form", interspersed with pictures taken within the various Jerome departments at 416, Holloway Road, London, N.7.
It isn't dated, but seems to have been produced in 1932-33.

The pictures from the booklet are presented alongside and below.

Click here or the image to download it as a 14MB pdf

 

London Branches mentioned are:
Woolwich, 27, Powis Street
Holloway, 4, Seven Sisters Road
Croydon, 67, Church Street
Upton Park, 333, Green Street
Camden Town, 91, High Street
Peckham, 2, Rye Lane
Stratford, 334, High Street
Kilburn, 163, High Road
Brixton, 401, Brixton Road, S.W.2
Whitechapel, 213, Whitechapel, E.1
Hammersmith, 39, King Street
Walworth, 43, Walworth Road, S.E.17
Islington, 15-17, High Street
Putney, 37, High Street
The list concludes Etc; etc.

 
The building must be 416, Holloway Road, London, N.7.
(also known as, or near to, Bovay Place)

     
     
Provincial Branches mentioned are:
Glasgow, 178, Trongate
Sheffield, 42, High Street
Wolverhampton, 47-48, Dudley Street
Edinburgh, 79, Leith Street
Nottingham, 28, Clumber Street
Chatham, 159, High Street
Newcastle, 6, Grainger Street West
Derby, 33, Victoria Street
Plymouth, 195, Union Street
Hull, 16, Whitefriargate
Birmingham, 42, Bull Street
Cardiff, 22, Queen Street
Bradford, 22, Tyrrel Street
Northampton, 25, The Drapery
Bristol, 37, High Street
Manchester, 52a, Market Street
Norwich, 60, London Street
Brighton, 51, Western Road
Liverpool, 17-19, London Road
Sunderland, 250, High Street West
The list concludes Etc; etc.

 

     

     

Notice that the above text makes clear that Jerome were the first to offer postcard sized enlargements as standard from 'small' roll film negatives.

They presumably achieved this by saving overheads, since their studio business was also based upon supplying postcard prints (and larger). Also, there was cost-cutting and customer retention achieved by selling paper based roll films that (virtually) only Jerome could print.

     

A Jerome advertisement offering their developing and printing (D&P) services to 35mm film users.

Taken from Amateur Photographer magazine dated 23rd July 1952.

It is curious that only 35mm is mentioned, without a similar mention of roll film. But its possible that Jerome's roll film D&P services were already well known and this advert was to announce that their D&P service was now also available to 35mm film users; effectively, this was a new venture. Since 35mm photography was gaining momentum with the photographic public, with low cost 35mm cameras becoming available, perhaps Jerome saw this as a market they could no longer ignore.

Mass use of colour was still 10 years away (in 1952), so at this time 35mm cameras were still very predominantly used with black & white film.


 This Jerome print envelope was sent to me by Grace Bricknell, on behalf of her mother, Janette Foster (d.o.b. 4th January 1913), from Prestwick in Scotland.
Its date is unknown, but looks to be the late 1920s or 1930s. It is early enough that it doesn't use the eventual Jerome slogan of "Branches Everywhere" nor even claims, as on the spool above, "Branches Throughout Great Britain".

The prices are very similar to the prices originally charged by the fledgling Gratispool company when they first started their 'free film' service. Both Jerome and Gratispool used paper negative film (not transparent celluloid) to reduce their costs and (in the case of Gratispool) make viable the giving away of a 'free' film (though Gratispool then charged 6d, 2.5p, to develop it). Jerome charged 6d (2.5p) for one of their film 'spools', but developed it for free (rather than charging 3d, 1.25p, if they developed a film supplied from elsewhere).

The added advantage for both companies of supplying a paper based film was that few d&p organisations had the facilities to print from paper negatives (requiring reflected light enlargers), so the paper negatives 'locked' customers in to using Jerome (or Gratispool) printing services.

Notice that the Jerome envelope claims "The Originators of The Postcard Print From A Small Negative", possibly a statement to remind users that Jerome were offering postcard sized prints as standard from small, roll film, negatives, before Gratispool.

     

This Jerome print envelope has been sent to me by Ruth Brown who told me it belonged to her mother and was found when she was clearing her mum's belongings. "Most of her childhood photos were taken at a Jerome Studio in Cardiff, South Wales".

This site suggests Jerome in Cardiff was located in Queen's Street.

The style and length of the dress on the woman gracing the front of Ruth's envelope (compared to the envelope above), plus the fact that prices have gone up significantly, suggest that this enevlope probably dates from at least the late 1930s and may be from the 1940s.

     

This 127 Jerome film, as used in cameras such as the (Kodak) Brownie 127, taking 8 pictures each 1&1/8"x1&5/8" (28.6x41.3mm), appears to be much later than the 120 spool shown above.

Notice that the box printing appears more modern and the contents are now referred to as a 'film' rather than the earlier 'spool'.

It possibly dates to the 1950s or even the 1960s.

     

Jigsaw Puzzles from Customer's Own Photographs

An amateur photographer's photographic 'snap' could be turned into a 100 piece Jigsaw puzzle via the Jerome organisation.

I'm indebted to David Shearer, who runs his own website dedicated to Jigsaw research at http://www.thejigasaurus.com/ for sending me the following three pictures.
David gives his own knowledgeable comment on the likely manufacturer of this Jigsaw (RACO = Richards Art Co.) on his web page:
http://www.thejigasaurus.com/jigasaurus/v/jerome/

Jerome would have sub-contracted the manufacture of the Jigsaw once they had produced the print. Its uncertain who would have mounted and boxed the picture and the finished jigsaw, though the box colour is the Jerome traditional red, as is the stick-on printed label.

The box bears a hand-written note (see final image, lower right for a close-up) indicating that the picture was taken on Causey Pike (637 metres = 2,090 ft) in the Lake District, some 3miles south west of Keswick, in the UK county of Cumbria.

The date on the note can be clearly seen to read August 1936 and celebrates the forthcoming engagement of two of the people in the picture, named Raymond and Joyce. One wonders what happened to Raymond post-1939, with the outbreak of WW2.

The picture was taken by a lady named Pat, who was part of the group walking the Cumbrian Fells. Having finished her film spool, she might have taken it for development to a Jerome Branch in Keswick, or more likely waited until she got home and put the film (spool) into her local Jerome Branch, wherever that was. When she got her prints back she would have selected this one to become a jigsaw, maybe as an engagement gift.

More jigsaw puzzles produced through the Jerome organisation, can be seen on Peter Stubbs 'Edinphoto' website here:
http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/pp_i/pp_jerome_jigsaw.htm



Jerome Studios ~ Branches Everywhere ~ England, Holland, America, France and Belgium !


The lady to the left appears on the front of this French Carte Postale. Date is 9th July 1931. The vertical logo is the same as Jerome's but Jerome is spelt with an e acute i.e Jérome, and the text above it translates as:
"Outlets everywhere in England, Holland, America, France and Belgium".
The text where the stamp would be affixed translates as "Jerome Studios".
     


Adriana Borst


Thomas Borst

Jerome's Netherlands (Holland)

Alongside are photographs sent to me by John Griffin who owns the clipper sailing ship named (now) Vrouwe Antje. An order was placed for the clipper's construction by Thomas & Adriana Borst in September 1900 with the ship builders "D. Boot", Alphen a/d Rijn. The ship was originally named "Samuel".

John received the Jerome images alongside from the grandson of Thomas Borst (also named Thomas). The grandson told John that Thomas Borst died in Weesp on 25-12-1939 and Adriana died on 06-01-1949, also in Weesp.

Since Thomas Borst was born in 1873, it is likely these photographs were taken at the earliest time of Jerome Studios, in the latter 1920s.
"Jerome's Van Londen" presumably means "Jerome's of London".
     


Below is a compendium of affectionate recollections relating to Jerome Studios in the UK, that have come to me from many, many people.
They include pictures of my own parents & siblings taken at the Jerome Studio in Wolverhampton during the 1930's.

     

 

Mr Fleet, Manager of Jerome in Liverpool until retiring a few weeks after Geoff Welding arrived in 1960. Geoff believes Mr Fleet came from Wolverhampton but lodged quite near the Jerome's Liverpool premises. Geoff says "I think his first name was Gordon - not that anybody addressed him as such !" Miss Clancy, the long serving Manageress, became overall in-charge when Mr Fleet left.

Geoff Welding (see RHS) has recounted how, when he left school in 1959 (aged 16), he worked at the Jerome portrait studio in Liverpool, at 17-19 London Road, staying until the end of 1961. The following account of working for Jerome, and many of the following pictures, are courtesy of Geoff.

Further down the page, the 'Girl on a Table' Jerome shot is one owned by Geoff (though not taken by him). Another picture made available to me by Geoff, and one he actually took while at Jerome, Liverpool, is of the famous UK entertainer Bruce Forsyth (scroll down to view).

"Most Saturdays over 400 people would be photographed. I used an exposure of one or two seconds at f6.3. The 'Jerome' paper negatives could be retouched using a HB pencil and a final print made available in 1½ hours; if it was for a passport, a 40 minutes service could be requested."

"The enlarger was rather like a wardrobe without the doors. The tungsten reflected light source was permanently fixed in the top and the baseboard moved up and down, like an adjustable shelf."

A young Geoff Welding, aged 17 in 1960, with one of the Jerome shop assistants.
The photograph was taken by delayed action with a 1sec. exposure on a 2¼"square bellows film camera. No flash - hence the pose. Geoff recalls that the shop area was about 6X bigger than what appears in the photograph.
     
Within a few months of joining Jerome, Geoff became studio photographer when a senior colleague left.
     

Ken Rose also worked at the Jerome studio on London Road, Liverpool, but pre-dates Geoff Welding by having worked there during 1947 to 1949, before starting his military service with the Parachute Regiment.

To the right are pictures of Ken in 1948 and then in 1950 in his Parachute Regiment uniform. Ken is now (Oct. 2010) aged 78. Both pictures were taken at the Jerome studio.

Ken's own website address is http://www.kenrose.co.uk. He also has a Flickr photostream display at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kr-photos.

Ken introduced his son, Bernard, to photography and it became his career. He has been a professional photographer on Merseyside since the 1970s.

Originally a black and white printer at Elsam, Mann and Cooper on Princes Road, he now runs 'Bernard Rose Photography' in the Wirral.
Bernard's Flickr photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/br-images/ and his photo' business website is http://www.bernardrosephotography.co.uk

Ken says that Miss Lance was the manageress during the time he worked at Jerome, Liverpool. The main photographer was Mrs Sprung & her sister was the shop manageress. Miss Dorothy Wright was a sales assistant and trainee photographer.

Ken did some of the Developing & Printing, though the main printer was named Fred (but Ken forgets his surname). Jean Hall was the re-toucher.

Ken printed the picture far right (taken by Mrs Sprung) of the Hobson family. Alf Hobson was Liverpool's goalkeeper at the start of the 1936-37 season. 90-year old Alf Hobson passed away peacefully in his sleep at a hospital in his native County Durham in 2004.

The picture immediately to the right is of Ken's aunt and uncle, Mr & Mrs Thomas, taken in 1932. Ken believes this photograph was taken in the Salisbury Branch of Jerome.

Considering the picture below, of the Jerome premises on London Road, Liverpool (now demolished), Ken recalls that the little square window above the shop sign was the staff tea room.


     

The picture alongside shows the Liverpool branch of Jerome during the early 1950's. Geoff recalls the frontage being painted bright red and wonders if all Jerome studios were this colour ?

The picture is taken from a book entitled "Living Memories of Merseyside", containing photos from the the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. This photograph was taken by Keith G Medley who retired in 1987.

Geoff believes the photograph to have been taken in the early 1950s as trams are shown in the photograph and the very last tram ran in Liverpool in 1957, though they were being phased out years before that.

Across the road from Jerome can be seen the Odeon cinema.

Liverpool Jerome right-hand shop window looking from the road, decorated for Christmas 1961. Geoff comments "as you will see, no expense was spared, or more likely no expense was allocated, for Jerome's Christmas decorations. Just some baubles & some tinsel". The interior of both windows was mainly covered with a bright red flock paper, which could have been wallpaper (by its thickness).

The suggested "Ideal Christmas Gifts" comprise simple Kodak cameras such as the Brownie 127, 44A, Reflex 20 & Starflash. Also camera cases & flashguns. Any size 'spool' developed (notice 'spool' not 'roll') 1s/3d each (6p).

The display photographs would have been customer's prints that had been enlarged or copied. This was done elsewhere (though presumably still within the Jerome organisation). Ordinary prints, as along the bottom of the window, are priced at 6d each (2.5p). The mounted enlargements seem to be priced at 1s/6d and 2s/6d (7.5p & 12.5p). The larger prints were always mounted, the dry mounting press being heated by gas.

Reflected in the window is the Odeon cinema, possibly showing the first James Bond film "Dr No". This film was shown for a long time and always there were queues for performances.

     

Courtesy of Geoff Welding and the miracles of Google street mapping, we can see the London Road site of the Jerome Studio, Liverpool, as it now exists (post-2000). One half (at least) of the Studio has been demolished, leaving the vacant lot that can be seen left. Presumably the two chairs (?) are some sort of 'arty' rememberance of the former Studio?

Interestingly, the public house next door can be seen to be "The Lord Warden" and Geoff believes this was its name in 1961 when he worked at Jerome. Another correspondent, Robert Humphris (see lower down this page), had thought it was called 'The Clock'. Ken Rose (see his entries above) confirms it was 'The Lord Warden' and is sure that 'The Clock' was further up London Road, next to Lyons Restaurant.

For a picture looking across the road from these chairs towards the Odeon, being demolished, see here.

Left is another Google street view sent to me by Geoff.

The space where Jerome's (Liverpool) once stood is not just the space ocupied (now) by the "two chairs" in the view above. A new building has been constructed in the left hand side of the original, wider, plot. This building, "Shop to Rent", takes up part of the old Jerome site.

In the 1950's, Jerome's Liverpool had a double window of equal size and a door in between the two (see the black & white London Road picture above).

Medici on this site says "I remember it (Jerome Studio) was demolished in the early 90's when the Major (John Major ~ Conservative) government attempted a hamfisted regeneration of the area under the city challenge scheme. I was up there today and the lower end still looks like a bloody shambles and it seems that year in, year out, nothing is ever done."


Commenting on the type of camera used at the Liverpool branch, Geoff has provided the following description, though warns it is now over 45 years since he was at Jerome so the details must necessarily be incomplete or at least a bit sketchy.


'Ausführliches Handbuch of Photographie' by
Dr Josef Maria Eder, 2nd Edition, 1892, p278

"I do not remember seeing the manufacture's name on the camera but it was well made, wooden, probably Teak, with a front brass hinged double baseboard and square bellows. The lower base board was attached to the tripod and the rear of the upper base board (hinged at its front edge to the lower baseboard) could be raised by about 35 degrees, so the camera could look down on the subject. This arrangement was mainly used for looking downward on babies who were laid on their backs or stomach on a table top covered with a blanket."

"The Mahogany tripod was a very Victorian affair. Alongside is shown one of similar appearance (but not identical) from an 1892 photograph. An approx. 8" (200mm) diameter wheel, with a handle, racked the central column up and down and would have been quite at home in a waterworks of the same period! Three curved piano stool type legs ran on casters and consequently a good shove was needed to get the camera and tripod on the move."

The tripod illustrated, left, apart from not having casters, has its own tilting baseboard, whereas the Jerome camera had two hinged baseboards (see description above) which provided means to tilt the camera downwards. Hence, the Jerome tripod didn't need the tilting top.

     


As seen at Blists Hill Museum, Ironbridge


Studio set at Blists Hill Museum.

"The camera back had a focusing screen of approximately 3.5X2.5 inches. Part of the camera back revolved (rather like that of a Mamiya RB67) enabling portrait or landscape format. Having focused on the subject with a brass wheel and rack arrangement the Teak plate holder would be inserted into wooden grooves in the camera back which would then push the focussing screen further along the grooves. The plate holder had then taken the place of the screen and you would be ready to take your first photograph having pulled out the dark slide.

One plate holder was big enough to take three exposures by moving the plate holder further along the grooves each time (though taking three exposures of one sitter would be frowned upon by the branch manager and, if it occurred too often, might be reported to the Regional (?) Head Office in Wolverhampton)."

     

"A brass clip would slot into the holder making sure it was aligned for the next photograph. The orthochromatic paper 'film' that the plate holder contained (supplied by Kodak when Geoff was working for Jerome) would be 9X4 inches (an estimate) and the paper was much more sensitive to light than Bromide printing paper."

Although Geoff knows that Jerome received Kodak orthochromatic paper 'film' stock during his employment in the 1960s, it is unknown where Jerome sourced their paper film during much of the previous 40 years. Members of the Stead family, whose father founded 'Gratispool', believe Gratispool received its paper 'film' from an organisation called 'Criterion' prior to World War 2, but received supplies from Kodak post-1945.

"The shutter was a sprung flap within the bellows and attached to the top of the camera back. This was operated by an actual bicycle back brake cable attached to a brass release that operated in the same way as a bicycle brake. When you squeezed it together the flap would open towards the top of the bellows and then close quickly with the aid of a spring on releasing."

The 1892 illustration alongside, from the book by Dr Josef Maria Eder, shows a sprung flap shutter operated by a pneumatic bulb release, but the 'shutter' is external to the camera, in front of the lens, not within the camera's bellows.

     

"The bicycle back brake cable release was attached at the rear end of the camera but was long enough to still allow me to walk in front of the camera and, with my right arm at full stretch, I could get close to the sitter and expose the film. Other Jerome photographers preferred to remain behind the camera whenever possible, but I preferred the 'up close' position, even for passports."

10th Dec.1929 Jerome Studio photograph; a Christmas greeting to her relatives? Three prints would have been supplied.
(viewed here, courtesy of Geoff Welding)

Geoff Welding continues:

"The lens was a Dalmeyer f5.6, with a focal length of 9 or 10 inches. We had ours set at f6.3 and I would give at least a 1sec exposure but preferably longer if I was confident that the sitter would not move or was not just about to blink. A long square metal lens hood was attached to the lens by three screws with knurled heads so you could tighten or loosen the screws with your finger tips. I think these excellent dark red lens hoods were especially made for Jerome Studios as I have never seen any since."

"Using this equipment I often made 500 to 600 exposures on a Saturday. Fortunately there were many passport photographs required and the customer could be in and out of the studio in under a minute even though they may have queued for an hour. The biggest problem was very young babies. Some must have come straight to Jerome's from the maternity ward (!) and getting them to keep perfectly still for even a second was difficult. However with the aid of a squeaky toy the photograph was eventually taken, though by then four minutes may have have passed. Saturday queues often stretched around the large waiting room, into the shop and out the door onto London Road, as also occurred at the Market Street branch, Manchester, in the 1960's."

"A squeaky toy was a valuable piece of photographic armory when dealing with young children, and also when photographing dogs. Some of the dogs were quite fierce and accompanied by their well tattooed owners. A double piano stool was set up and the owner, with his dog, would eventually be both sat down. The dog was held from behind by the collar and on many occasions would be barking and trying to stand up on the stool, but his owner's multicoloured arm would be pressing down hard on the dog's back."

"I would approach, brass cable release in one hand and rubber squeaky bear toy in the other, but hidden behind my back. When I was close, I would give the unseen squeaky toy just a small squeeze. The sound from the toy would stop the dog barking as his attention was now on listening to the squeak and wondering where it had suddenly come from. Then I would produce the toy near the dogs face, squeezing it as hard as I could just beforehand. As the rubber toy reformed to its original state, a long high piercing note would be emitted for four or five seconds. The dogs head would lean over to one side and maybe the owners as well, so that both heads would almost charmingly touch. Most importantly, both became motionless and looked towards the still squeaking toy. I would step back out of camera shot and squeeze and hold open the shutter release for a second, or hopefully two. Job done !"
     

Bruce Forsyth photographed by Geoff Welding at Jerome, Liverpool, 1961.

Left is a very young Bruce Forsyth, as photographed by Geoff Welding in the Jerome Studios, Liverpool, believed to be 1961. Geoff recalls Bruce coming into Jerome's in a bit of a rush as he had just discovered that his passport had expired and he was about to leave for America. Miss Clancy, the Jerome Studio manageress, brought him to the front of the waiting queue and told Geoff to "photograph Mr Forsyth next". The film was rushed through to the darkroom and 'all the stops were pulled out', including negative retouching, to have the picture ready in less than 30 minutes. "I do not think he was particularly pleased with the photograph as I heard him make some remark about it, but at least he had it and could take it to India Buildings in Liverpool and collect a new passport".

Bruce Forsyth was born Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson in Edmonton, North London, on 22 February 1928. He made his television debut in 1939, singing and dancing on a talent show. He aspired to be a 'song-and-dance man' and began his professional career aged 14. The next sixteen years were spent perfecting his routines until, in 1958, he was thrust into the limelight as host of the ITV variety show 'Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium'. He served as host between September 1958 and September 1960, and from September to December 1961. These appearances made Bruce a household name. The 1960s saw Bruce largely concentrate on his stage career, though he did appear in a sporadic run of comedy specials made for various ITV companies, under the title of 'The Bruce Forsyth Show'. In 1971 his fame was sealed when he became compere of the Generation Game (BBC, 1971-77), which became a UK phenomenon and attracted audiences by the million.

     

The picture alongside is of Anthony (Tony) Beyga taken at the Jerome studio in Liverpool around 1958. Tony emailed to express his sadness that so little remains from that time and how so many of the photos will have been lost forever.

Notice the Jerome name 'handwritten' (probably photographically printed) logo name in the bottom picture margin.

     

Another baby portrait from the Jerome studio in Liverpool. This handsome chappie is John King, as he was in 1955. The chair looks to be the same one that Tony Beyga was sat on for his picture, 3 years later (see above and notice the shell shape behind the cushions).

Interestingly, he tells me his mother worked in Jackson's the tailors, next door to the Odeon cinema, just over the road from Jerome (see street views higher up this page).

     

Left can be seen an e-bay purchase by Geoff Welding of a Jerome Studio sepia toned picture of a woman named Nellie. It came from the Scottish Borders, taken sometime in 1931.

On the back of the photograph is written "With love from Nellie" and below that "Feb 1931" all in fine pen handwriting. The Jerome branches logo is there (scroll down to see a picture of this logo, left hand side of the screen) but there is no date stamp, which is a little surprising.

Right is a 1933 photograph from a Jerome Studio, purchased by Geoff Welding from someone living in Montesano, on the west coast of the United States, not far south of Vancouver. The vendor advertised it as being British.

It is particularly interesting because it has a back-drop different from any Geoff had previously seen used in a Jerome studio. Presumably this young man will have served in the 2nd World War and one wonders how life turned out for him.

     

On the subject of colour photography, Geoff recalls that 'true' colour photography (i.e. the use of negative colour film rather than sepia 'toning' or hand colouring ordinary black & white photographs) arrived at the Jerome Studios in the early 1960s, requiring the installation of new, more powerful, lights. A 1,500watt and two 1,000w bulbs were housed in square metal enclosures painted mid-blue with tracing paper covering the aperture. The 1,500w would be screwed to the right or left wall then a 1,000w was placed centrally, above the subject. The second 1,000w was placed on the opposite side wall to the 1,500w. The only light that could be moved was a condenser spotlight which is believed was an old 750w. After the introduction of the new lights, the lighting was slightly 'flatter' than before (in the modelling sense).

But fewer than half a dozen customers per week selected true colour pictures, as it was a comparatively expensive service. Geoff believes the cost was 12s/6d (62.5p) for an enlarged print. This cost equates to about £10 on a retail price index comparison, or £21 on a comparison based upon average earnings (comparing 1962 with 2006). The colour prints were processed by a separate organisation, away from the studio.

     
But eventually, as the 1960s progresssed, the cost of colour photography would have decreased (in real terms) and inevitably became more commonplace. By the end of the 1960s it might well have become the 'norm' at Jerome Studios.

Amanda, on her blog page, writes:
"This picture has been used on a scrapbook page so it's not a great scan, but there is a story behind it. I telephoned my mum and she can't remember exactly when it was taken, but she thinks I was around three years old (so 1969-ish) and it was done at Jerome Studios in Manchester. Apparently, I am clutching that little doll with the big hair because, on the way to the studio, I had fallen over and smacked my mouth on the kerb so my dad bought the doll to shut me up. I am wearing a stylish pink number in man made fibres with co-ordinating trim created by my mum too!"

As well as working at Jerome, Liverpool, Geoff Welding also spent some time (during the early 1960s) at the Jerome Studio in Manchester, as a relief photographer during the staff's summer holidays. "It was even busier than the one in Liverpool". It was located in a basement. "The shop entrance was close to the junction of Market St and Fountain St, about 20 yards or so from the junction. At the top of the descending stairs there was a small display of framed sample photographs."

Geoff can't recall exactly, but presumes the Jerome sign would have been above the entrance and then the stairs would have led down to a shop counter, with the studio beyond. "There was a small waiting room between the two. Customers would be queuing on these stairs on Saturdays and at the same time others would be leaving or collecting photographs. So the width of the stairs had to accommodate the comings and goings and might have been 6feet wide."

     

On the subject of Amanda's colour print (above, left), Geoff says "I was surprised to see that the background was just a plain off-white, as the usual background looked quite good in colour. The plain white background was on casters and would be pulled into place behind the sitter for Visas and passports, but not much else when I was at Jerome's."

Robert Humphris e-mailed to say that he remembers the Jerome Studio at Liverpool, on London Road. Robert was photographed there with his gran and a family friend around 1940 (see picture, left). He says "The tale was that I was in London Road with my gran when there was a dogfight between a German plane and one of ours and we went into the Studio for safety and this photo was taken."

Robert believed the building to the RHS of the Jerome Studio in Liverpool (see picture near the top of this page, left hand side) was 'The Clock' public house, "where I had many a happy night when I lived in Liverpool as a teenager", but it seems it was actually 'The Lord Warden'.


Another picture provided by Geoff Welding. He says:
"These young woman worked at Jerome's on Market Street, Manchester in 1961.
I photographed them with my WW2 Speed Graphic 5X4 inch film camera with a f7.7 Ektar 8 inch lens, I still have the camera (Nov 2011), but not the lens.
These assistants mainly worked in the shop but were very capable of taking over the photography when the manager went for lunch."

Geoff thinks that the Manchester manager was a Mr Hallet but could be wrong about this. Around 1975 Geoff believes Mr Hallett had opened his own Studio on Oxford Road, Manchester, producing portraits and passports, but years later this business was sold and Mr Hallett no doubt retired.

     
The pictures below have come to me from Pat Miller, who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
To the left is a Jerome photograph of Pat's Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Cunningham (1849-1935), who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1872 in Edinburgh, Alexander married Margaret Lee (1850-?). Margaret was born in Northumberland, England. Together they had one child born in Scotland, but by 1875 the family had moved to London, where they had four more children.

Alexander was an artist in stained glass and according to the 1911 census, at that time they were living at 13 Princess Street, Rusholme, Manchester.

The Glengarry cap that Alexander is wearing in his photograph (left) suggests that he had spent time in a Scottish regiment of the British Army, probably around the time of the 1st Boer War. The photograph is believed to date to the 1920s (judging by appearance, he seems to be in his 70s).


Notice the unusual way of writing the Jerome name and logo on the lower right hand corner of the card mount which displays Alexander's picture.

Pat's second picture shows Alexander and Margaret around 1930.

In the bottom right corner there is text which reads “Portraits, Jerome Ltd., 131 Market Street, Manchester". This corner section has been enlarged and can be seen here (to the right). The text contrast has been raised to assist with legibility.

Its possible both of Pat's pictures were taken at the same Manchester Jerome Studio, as the chair in use by the woman in the picture to the left looks to be the same as the one used as a prop in the picture above.

     
Lynne Harding has sent me some interesting pictures (below) relating to her Grandfather, Captain A.J.Thomas, MBE. She says:
"He is the gentleman on the left of the photograph but I am not sure who the other gentlemen are!"
The Jerome date stamp on the rear of the photograph, which also shows the Jerome "Branches Everywhere" entwined logo, reads January 1930.

The photograph is contained within a Jerome folder (see right) which is stiff stitched card and has a motif of a knight and shield embossed on the front (see below, right, with an enlarged view below that). Inside is printed a 1930 calendar with the words "Jerome's BRANCHES EVERYWHERE". Lynne expects the photograph to have been taken either at Cardiff, South Wales or possibly Porthcawl, South Wales.

   


One of Captain Thomas' "claims to fame" is that the well known UK 'slapstick' comedian Norman Wisdom was a cabin boy onboard Captain Thomas' ship Maindy Court in 1930.
Captain Thomas (middle of the photograph) is shaking hands and greeting Norman Wisdom again, on the BBC "This is Your Life" programme in 1957.
The programme was hosted by Eamonn Andrews, CBE (right).


The picture above is an enlarged view of the date card printed on the inside of the photograph mount. The Jerome logo can be seen.


Below is an enlarged view of the embossed logo on the (above) card folder mount that contains Captain Thomas' photograph.

Lynne's Grandfather was a sea captain sailing out of Cardiff Docks. He came from Newport, Pembrokeshire and was Captain (among other vessels) of the Maindy Court UK cargo ship (built 1917).

Captain Thomas was mentioned in dispatches in WWI and was in the RNR (Royal Naval Reserve) in WWII. He was awarded the MBE by King George VI in 1942 for “coolness and bravery in face of repeated machine gun attacks on his ship (SS Porthmorna) by a German bomber, as a result of which the raider was destroyed”.

     

The 32, Ferndale Street (Cardiff) address, on the reverse of the Jerome postcard (above), was where David White's Uncle Ted was living, with his wife Phyllis, at the time this photograph was taken.
Ted was was aged 26 at that time.

Three brothers, David, George and Fred Gregory, taken at Jerome, Cardiff, in 1928. These pictures were sent to me by David Gregrory White, living in Australia.
This site suggests Jerome in Cardiff was located in Queen's Street.

David Gregory White tells me:
"There were six brothers and three sisters in the Gregory family, my Mother being one. Of the three boys in the photo, David was killed in WW2 aged 25 (I was named in his memory), George was in the RAF but survived and emigrated to Canada, where he passed away in 2007. Fred, whom I knew well as a boy, passed away in 2005. The recipient of the photo, my Uncle Ted, died in 1997.
My Mother was the longest lived of the nine Gregory children, aged 94 when she passed away in 2007. They were Welshmen and Welshwomen who lived through the turbulent 20th Century which included WW1, the great depression and WW2. What a generation it was.
David's cousin, Caroline O'Callaghan (in France) has, together with David, been researching the Gregory family history and David asked me to include her name in respect to her efforts.

     

The photograph far left shows Mabel Hunter (taken believed c1955) who worked at the Jerome Studio in High Street West, Sunderland post-1935 until 1959. She did negative retouching and hand-coloured black & white photographs using Velox water colours.
For more about hand colouring photographs, see my web page here.

Information about Mabel has come to me from her grand-daughter Patricia (Patsy) Beech, who tells me Mabel's photograph (hand coloured, almost certainly by Mabel herself) is still kept within the original blue folder it came in (left). Patsy says "It must be really good quality to have lasted so long in such good condition; it still shines with a pearl effect".

Patsy has a collection of photographs that belonged to her grandmother who sadly died, aged 100, in 1999. Some of these show the Jerome Staff at Sunderland. Do take a look and if you recognise anyone, please get in touch, as Patsy would love to hear from you.

     

Vic Coughtrey has emailed with the three pictures shown below, which can also be seen at:
http://www.coughtrey.me.uk/Mother.htm

http://www.coughtrey.me.uk/Great-Grandma.htm
http://www.coughtrey.me.uk/Tony_Ansett.htm

Vic tells me that his mother, Grace (far left) worked at Jerome's in Powis Street, Woolwich, S.E.London, from the late 1920s through to the early 1930s. The photo' of her was taken at the Woolwich Studio in 1929 when she was aged 19. Grace (surname Ansett at the time) was a 'colourist'. "Of the many jobs my mother had in her life, she always said this was her favourite".

Grace hand coloured black & white photographs, the same job as Mabel Hunter (see above). The 1931 picture of Vic's cousin, Tony Ansett (right, below) was coloured by Grace. The middle picture is of Grace's grandmother, Rosa Hayward, in August 1930, aged 76, also at the Woolwich Studio.

     
To the right is a another scan from Vic Coughtrey, which shows the reverse of the print of his great grandmother (see centre photo' above). It's dated August 8th 1930.

The same Jerome Logo (left) was scanned from the back of one of my family's 1930s postcard print, and states 'Branches Everywhere'.

Peter Stubbs 'EdinPhoto' site shows similar from the 1920s.

     

Another picture (left) taken at the Woolwich, S.E.London, Jerome Studio. This one is of Ray(mond) Bird, who was aged around 2½ years when it was taken on 13th June 1949. Ray tells me several of his family members were also photographed at this Studio.

Ray is a professional photographer with his own website, where some samples of his work can be seen.

     

A delicately hand-coloured photograph of my wife's Great Aunt Agnes Brown, affectionatley know as 'Aunt Tags'.

Aunt Tags lived in Ayr, Ayrshire, so its presumed this photograph would have been taken at a Jerome Studio in Ayr (though I have not found any record of a Jerome Studio in Ayr). Its only 40miles from Ayr to Glasgow, so its also possible it would have been taken in Glasgow (see below). Since Aunt Tags was born in 1890, its clear this photograph must have been taken no later than the 1920s.

Although there appears to be a date stamp on the reverse (right), it's unfortunately illegible (or not an original Jerome date stamp).

     

Thanks to Peter Doherty, the picture to the left is a view of Jerome at 104 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow in 1934.

The Mitchell Library webste (their refernce No. C6985) gives the address.

Its picture content is described as "New shop front, Jerome (photographer)."

Peter says "My family had pictures taken in Glasgow in the period about 1936, so that's why I was interested."

Above the window display, and down the right hand side of the window, the sign tells us 3 postcards 6 ie. 3 postcard sized prints for 6d (2½p), which agees with the price shown on the list supplied by Grace Bicknell (see the top of this web page). But.....if you look closely, a "½" has been inserted into the closed loop of both of the 6 numerals, suggesting the price had been raised to 3 postcards for 6½p, an increase of 8.3%.

 

An interesting email has come from Jude Anstice telling me how her grandfather, (John) Jack Milne, worked for Jerome Studios in London from around 1930 and later in Newport, South Wales. Jack was originally from Jarrow but spent time in Australia from the age of 14 (in 1924) until he was aged 18 (in 1928). When he returned to the UK, he lived in London and worked in a Gentleman's Club for a while, which is where he met his wife to be, Jude's future grandma. Jack began working for Jerome around 1930, maybe 1932, at The Strand branch, London. He worked both as a darkroom technician as well as a photographer, taking people's portraits.


Jack Milne (bamb)
Jerome Studio, London, 1930s

Jude says "My grandfather (affectionately known as 'bamb') was a beautiful man and good with the story telling". He would tell Jude about the laughs he had and the work he used to do; he knew all the photographic chemicals - not just the liquids, but also all the powder compounds. "I was always impressed with this knowledge since I never learned such detail even when doing a (photographic) degree!" Jack used to experiment with the lights when the studio was having a slow day. There was a skylight window which was also used on occasions to give a more realistic lighting effect in combination with the artificial lights. Jude says she always thought her grandfather looked like Humphrey Bogart, the actor (see small picture, left), as she has photographs showing her grandfather wearing a trilby hat and with a cigarette between his fingers. Jack told Jude how he and his colleagues often tried to imitate Hollywood portraits, as many people asked for that sort of image.

Jack Milne moved to Newport, South Wales, with his wife and children (Jude's mum and her sisters) when many children were being evacuated from London in 1939, at the start of WW2. Jack worked for Jerome in Newport for a time, until 1940, but then joined the armed forces. After the war he was offered a job again with Jerome at Newport, South Wales, but being a true gentleman did not want to take the job away from the young woman who would have lost hers if he had taken up the offer, so he ended-up driving a 'bus for a while. Photography however was always something Jack loved and he was fascinated when Jude ultimately took it up as her profession.

Jude closes by saying "I am sure my 'bamb' would be happy for you to mention him on your website; he always loved to hear about technical developments and I am sure he would approve of the Internet". You can see some more of Jude's photographs of her 'bamb' and of the staff of Jerome Studio, Strand, London, by clicking here, including some taken on a Jerome seaside outing "sometime during the 1930s, maybe at Brighton or Eastbourne (?)".

 
Jerome, 26 Victoria Street, Derby (1950s)

Altie Bacon (see his 129 roll film web site) recalls, around 1950, buying 129 roll film for his Ensign E29 blue box camera and later for a Krauss Rollette, from Jerome's in Manchester and in Derby. He tells me they also had a branch at Southend-on-Sea. Although their main business was a Portrait Studio, they processed films as a subsidiary activity. This site reports "According to Maxwell Craven (Keene's Derby, 1993, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202), Jerome Limited had premises at 26 Victoria Street, Derby, between 1929 and 1949, though Kelly's 1932 trade directory gives the address as 33 Victoria Street".

Dorothy Wilmot has e-mailed to tell me she worked at Jerome in Derby for many years in her youth during the 1950s. She has confirmed that the address was definitely 26 Victoria Street (in the 1950s) by sending me a copy of the picture alongside, found in a magazine on Derby memories. She had already recalled it was on the corner, near the Woolworths store which was numbered 17-24. "There was only one (Jerome) shop (in the 1950s)".

She joined as a dark-room assistant, but after a while she worked in the photographic studio itself on a Saturday "because the manager at that time went to the pub' on a Saturday, as soon as he had some money, and with the customer queue for the studio filling up the stairs, someone had to take over". She goes on to say "the manager was a brilliant photographer, even when he had had a few (drinks), and he took time to show me many things, so that I took over often".

"I also did hand colouring (of black & white photographs) using oils and a match stick with cotton wool on the end". "I also remember how newly arrived black immigrants liked to send home a photograph showing them with paler skin than was the truth, so the retoucher would pencil in the negative!"

     
Pat Bishop has e-mailed with information about the Jerome Studio in Leicester. "During the war I was the assistant to the photographer (who's name escapes me) but Miss Bradley was the manageress of the studio. The photographer broke her hand and I was trained and took over photography after being assessed by some people from London/Head office. I was only 16/17 years of age at the time. I remember taking passport photos of German POW's and wounded Italians. I also completed all the normal photography of children and families until the return of the original photographer from the war." Pat believes Jerome in Leicester was on Granby St or maybe London Rd. Gerald Springthorpe confirms it was on Granby St, "or at least it was when my Mother took me to have my photograph taken in the early 1950's. It was opposite the 'Picture House' cinema, between Halford Street and Rutland Street."
     
Information from Rootschat.com is that there was a Jerome studio on Lower North St, Belfast and at 34 Martineau Street, Birmingham (Ref: Kelly's directory for 1940). "Martineau Street ran from Corporation Street to High Street, opposite the News Theatre." There is uncorroborated comment that Jerome's in Birmingham may have been on Union St. prior to Martineau St (?).

Another Jerome Studio was at 71 Grainger Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Thomas Gordon has e-mailed to tell me that they not only took passport photographs but also the ones needed for Merchant Navy identity documents. Thomas began home developing and printing in 1952 and remembers his local chemist, Graham's Pharmacy in the West End of Newcastle, stocked the necessary chemicals and paper.

There was another Jerome Studio in Newcastle, at 119, Northumberland Street, confirmed by this website.

Robert Best remembers having his "passport photo for my university union card taken at Jerome Newcastle, Northumberland Street, in 1966, which was very well known at the time".


This link shows a passport photograph taken by the Grainger Street, Newcastle, Jerome Studio on the 24th March 1964. To view, scroll downwards to the entry dated Photobooth Friday, January 26th, 2007. Geoff Welding, who found this link, comments that "the front cover on the passport folders were plain in 1960" rather than the mottled red cover which can be seen on the link page. The Jerome portraiture 'bag' (upper left) donated by Geoff Welding, was in use during the early 1960s. It measures 7½"x5½" (190mmx140mm), easily large enough for a half plate print (6½"x4¾"). though more likely used for several small passport prints contained in a card folder, as in the link at the start of this paragraph.

The National Media Museum has web pages which refer to a Jerome Studio in Bradford during the 1930s and shows photographs taken there in 1938.

Below is a Jerome 3-fold photograph display folder with an embossed 'bird flying over scenery' cover design. Although only made from stout card, the folder looks very elegant. It is sized to take a postcard sized print, some 3½"x5½". The bird and scenery seem to be hand coloured and this may have been an 'extra' for the more discerning customer, possibly supplied in the 1920s or 1930s.

     

The handsome young man in the green Jerome folder opposite was photographed at an unknown Jerome Studio on 3rd February 1937.

The name Jerome can be seen to the lower right of the photograph and the photograph itself has 'Jerome' printed on its reverse, together with the stamped date.

The green front cover carries the curious regal design, as shown below.

     

The above picture of a little girl with an unusually mature face, possibly taken on her 2nd or 3rd birthday, is stamp dated 12th November 1948 on the reverse of the Jerome folder mount.
     
This site discusses commercial photographers in Dublin, where there was a Gales Studio claiming "Branches Everywhere" and a S.Jerome, photographer, at 4, Henry Street, listed from 1951 to 1962-3. This is the only mention of an initial being applied to the Jerome name. Interestingly, the same site discloses that next door, at 3, Henry Street, there was (until at least 1953) a shop run by the Blackpool photographer Charles Howell.
     

The Jerome studio in Wolverhampton, was in Dudley Street, near the junction with Queen's Street and opposite H Samual, Jewellers (now Ernest Jones, Jewellers). In the mid-1930s the studio was on the first floor of the Dolcis shoe shop and was accessed via an external flight of stairs. There was another studio of the Jerome type in Wolverhampton in the 1930s, located on the Dudley Road (not Dudley Street as above), called Studio Banerjee.

It's uncertain where the Wolverhampton 'Jerome Studio' fitted into the Jerome group structure. It seems Wolverhampton had management authority over some other Jerome Studios, but Pat Bishop, talking about the Jerome Studio in Leicester (see above) refers to Head Office being in London. Possibly Wolverhampton was a Regional Head Office, while the actual Head Office was in London (?).

My mother has told me how, in the mid-1930s, at a time when owning a camera was still expensive for the ordinary working family, she and other family members, on special occasions, would visit the Jerome studio in Wolverhampton and pay 10d (4p) for a postcard print, which would be available within about 30mins of their 'sitting' (though waiting beforehand in a queue was not uncommon). The 10d (4p) cost of a 'sitting' and resulting postcard print was not insignificant at that time. Before getting married my mother worked in a factory and was paid just £2 per week. When she got married she gave up her job (customary at that time) and my father (to be) was paid just £3.20d (£3.08p) per week, though my mother recalls income tax was very low at that time, just 6d (2.5p) in the £1 (?).

Some of my family pictures survive and are of good quality. To the left is my father and mother around the time of their marriage in 1936.

They are dressed in their Sunday best, alongside a studio prop. The print of my mother (RHS) has been delicately hand coloured.

The 'misty effect' background is typical of the type used by (seemingly) all the Jerome Studios.


A Spring 1941 photograph showing my eldest sister and the brother I never knew - Ronald Arthur, known as Ronnie - who died aged 22months, 3 years before I was born.

This picture is a mounted enlargement. The picture measures 9" by 6.5" and is mounted on card, as shown left, with the name JEROME on the lower right hand corner of the outer mount.

All these family photographs would have been taken at the Wolverhampton Jerome Studio.

     

But whatever happened to all these Jerome Studios?
     

It seems that by the early 1960s, the large, newly emerging, photographic retail chains were taking an interest. 'The Times' newspaper archive includes several references to Jerome 1962-1970.

The Times, Friday, Sep 07, 1962; pg. 18; Issue 55490; col F
NOW DIXON'S BID FOR ASCOTTS STUDIOS

Dixon's Photographic. Ltd., which have just dropped out of the bidding for the Jerome photography business, are to buy a chain of 12 photographic studios in the London district owned by Ascotts, a subsidiary of Mellins, Ltd. (formerly Mellins Food). Purchase price works out at nearly £300,000. Dixon's have agreed with Mellins to make an offer for all the 450,000 ordinary Ss. stock units of Ascotts on the basis of four 2s. shares of Dixon's and 30s. cash for every nine Ascott units-equivalent to nearly 11s. a unit for Ascott. Mellins will accept the offer in respect of their 98.5 per cent holding, and are selling to Dixon's the £50.000 of 7 per cent preference capital of Ascotts for 150.000 Dixon's ordinary and £37.500 cash.

The Times, Monday, Nov 18, 1963; pg. 16; Issue 55861; col F
BENNETT CAMERAS

A five-point interim rise to 15 per cent is declared by Bennett Cameras, but last year's dividend was on smaller capital. The reorganization following the amalgamation of Jerome Studios with the Bennett retail group has now been completed. The 18 new branches are trading satisfactorily. Negotiations are well advanced for the acquisition of several new units, it is stated. Turnover of Jerome Studios is above the comparative figures for 1962.

Below is an advert for Bennett Cameras as appeared in Amateur Photographer magazine for 26th December 1962.

The Times, Wednesday, Dec 18, 1963; pg. 18; Issue 55887; col A
BENNETT CAMERAS
.
Following the reorganization of Jerome Studios with Bennett Cameras the two factories at Slough have become redundant. The freehold of the factory has been sold for £41,500 and negotiations are well advanced for letting the leasehold factory.

The Times, Saturday, Oct 03, 1970; pg. 8; Issue 57987; col E
Jerome (photographic studios).- Directors requested Stock Exchange to suspend quotation for ordinary shares until full report of reorganization of Lynwood Group of Companies, of which Jerome is a member, can be published. Directors consider that it would not be in the interest of shareholders for dealings to continue.

A very valuable snippet of information comes from 'sospiri - Expert Brummie' on the Birmingham History forum page here. The information is that:
"...a Petition for the Winding-Up of Jerome Limited by Agfa-Gevaert (as creditors for the supply of photographic materials) was published in the London Gazette on 26th March 1970". "...seems like they were in the financial quagmire as in June the same year, J. Arthur Dixon, the Isle of Wight postcard printers, also petitioned to wind them up. The Liquidator (B.A. Roberts) had his Final Meeting on 16 April 1973.



This page last modified: 7th November 2014