View Full Version : Help with info on Guildford 1/2 plate camera.

14-Nov-2016, 11:22
Hello All,

Just joined today at the recommendation of one of your members. I am looking for any information on a 1/2 plate camera I added to my collection recently, it's called "The Guildford" and was sold by "Taylor's Drug Co. Ltd. Leeds/London. It is fitted with a Bausch and Lomb Rapid Rectilinear lens in an Eastman-Kodak triple action shutter, although I'm sure this isn't the lens/shutter it was supplied with. It has been suggested that it may have been made by Thornton Pickard or a camera maker that was in Leeds at the time it was made called Watkinson. Any information you can give me on the "Guildford" would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance,


Steven Tribe
14-Nov-2016, 12:03
I guess you have already found the name of Watkinson through this link under the entry "Taylor's ......."


A camera with the same name was sold at auction (Saleroom search) in 2014.

14-Nov-2016, 12:54
Hi Steven,

Yes that's where I found the maker Watkinson and the "Guildford" sold in 2014 has some differences in the construction of the front board and has square corner bellows. I assume it may be an older model. That's about it on the internet, can't find anything else.

Steven Tribe
14-Nov-2016, 13:59
Finding the real maker of cameras in these decades of increasing middle class photography interest is very difficult. There are a few markers in terms of brass fitments - some even with the "patent" stamp - but these we often copied. Retailers were often not interested in giving the source and even "Dallmeyer and "Ross" cameras were outsourced!

But they are all very well made. Perhaps the brass bracing pieces are a bit under-dimensioned - they are often bent and they can break across the long slot. Bellows of card look a bit tardy as they age, but are just as long lived as russian leather.

15-Nov-2016, 02:54
Brass fittings are often from a local supplier and in Leeds that's most likely Lonsdale who was in business with Watkins for a time. Londsale were a major wholesale manufacturer with premises in Leeds and London and sold wooden cameras parts, brass fittings, complete kits and even finished cameras so all their cameras were sold under other companies names.

My instinct is those aren't the original bellows and the original brass lens has been swapped for one with a leaf shutter as well.

My Dallmeyer Press Relx with a Dallmeyer 6" f3.5 Press lens is in fact a n Ensign (Houghton) made reflex camera re badged which matches Steven's comment, it's actually still incorrectly listed as being made by Thornton Pickard on earlyphotography.co.uk.


15-Nov-2016, 05:35
Thanks for that Ian, all information gratefully received.


17-Nov-2016, 16:09
Hi Gerry and welcome to this site! I did say you would get more replies here than on British Photographic History site forum and so you have!
Gordon aka Milonian.

18-Nov-2016, 04:40
Hi Gordon, yes you were right, thanks for the advice.