Company Details

Notes on companies mentioned in the main text together with a few early manufacturers and dealers.

Underwood, E & T

Company Name

E & T Underwood

Company Address

Brunswick Wks. 130 - 132 Granville St., Birmingham

Camera production started around 1886.

Phot. Dealer Jun/1903, p. 158. BJP 28/9/1894, p. 619.

Further Information:
T. Underwood died 1894.

Van Neck

See also Peeling & Van Neck.

Company Name

Van Neck & Co.1897 - 1919

Company Address

32 Gray's Inn Rd., London1910 - 1919
11 Cursitor St., London1906 - 1910
72 Buckingham Gate, London1900 - 1906
7 James St., London1899 - 1900
32 Buckingham Gate Mansions, James St., London1898

Van Neck, established in 1897, are described as opticians and photographic cabinet workers, he specialised in repairs and special orders. In 1919 he joined with R.E. Peeling to form Peeling & Van Neck.

BJA 1915, p. 884.

Further Information:
  • Frank Lionel Milton Van Neck. Born Neck, van was adopted
  • Born: 25 Aug 1873
  • Married: Annette Rachel Howcroft 1899
  • Died: 8 Mar 1953, effects £15,634
  • 1911: Manufacturing optician living at 48 Honeybrook Road, Clapham Park
  • 1931: Living at Norman Cottage, Cookham

  • Note on addresses: Buckingham Gate Mansions was on the south side of James St. near Wilfred St. 7 James St. was on the north side of James Street. Around 1901/02 James Street became the southern end of Buckingham Gate, the street was re-numbered. 72 Buckingham Gate is near what was 7 James Street but they are not the same building.


Company Name

Vanguard Manufacturing Co.

Vanguard was established in 1897 or late 1896. W. Ethelbert Henry founder of Vanguard died in 1938.

BJA 1939, p. 195. PTB. BJP 29/1/1897, p. 74.


Company Name

Vergara Film Co.

Company Address

Java House, South Norwood, London

Vergara sold an early film having a hardened bichromated gelatine base for use in either ordinary dark-slides or Vergara's slide which held a double length of film wrapped around a central partition. The film, patented by F.H. Froedman, was advertised in sizes of quarter-plate to 10" x 12", whole-plate film cost 7/6 per dozen.

F.J. Vergara had earlier patented a film base with W.B. Woodbury consisting of gelatine coated paper (BP 9575/1885). Development of the film probably ended with Woodbury's death in 1885 leading to Vergara using Froedman's process. Java House was Woodbury's home address.

F.J. Vergara died late 1894 or early 1895.

YBP 1888, p. ci. BP 10659/1886, F.H. Froedman. BJP 25/1/1895, p. 59. BP 2390/1886, Vergara slide.


Company Name

C.C. Vevers

Company Address

163 Briggate, Leeds1896 -From April 1896. Workshops in Lambert's yard, behind shop, and Proctor's yard
12 Market St., Briggate, Leedsc. 1890 -Here in 1895
Horsforth- c. 1890

Vevers were wholesalers of cameras, fittings and lantern equipment. They were probably established around 1887.

Vevers was made bankrupt in 1903 when the business was at 13 North St. (probably not photographic).

BJP 10/4/1896, p. 236. Edinburgh Gaz. 8 Dec 1903, p. 1326

Further Information:
  • Charles Cheetham Vevers
  • Born: 29 Jan 1868, Horsforth, Yorkshire
  • Married: Sophie Deighton, 1900
  • Died: 26 Oct 1946 Belfast
  • 1891: Photographic Apparatus Manufacturer
  • 1893: Photographic Apparatus Manufacturer and Retoucher. 12 Market St.
  • 1911: Photographer
  • 1939: Living at Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund Home Glebelands Wokingham. Cinema Slide Maker Retired

Vive Camera Co.

Company Name

Vive Camera Co.

Company Address

Regent House. Regent St., LondonBritish offices

Walker, George

Company Name

George WalkerActive 1858 - 1864Listed as camera manu.

Company Address

29 Sun St., Bishopsgate, London1858 - 1864

Wallace Heaton

See also entries for City Sale & Exchange and Watsons (Sheffield) for the Sheffield branch.

Company Name

Wallace Heaton Ltd1918 -
Wallace Heaton- 1918

Company Address

127 New Bond St., London W1July 1936 -
119 New Bond St., London W11919 - 1936In the 1830s 119 was occupied by Robert Banks optical suppliers
1a Avery Row, Londonc. 1936 -1 and 1a Avery Row were W.H. premises
used variously as offices and a studio.
No. 1a used for retail of second-hand goods from c. 1936
47 Berkeley Sq., London1925 -
59 & 60 Cheapside, London EC2City Sale & Exchange
90-94 Fleet St., London EC4City Sale & Exchange
54 Lime St., London ECCity Sale & Exchange
84 Aldersgate St., London EC1City Sale & Exchange
The Arcade Liverpool St., London EC1City Sale & Exchange
166 Victoria St., London SW1c. 1939 -
29 Avery Row, London W11936 only
43 Kensington High St., London W81936 -

Primarily retailers but also marketed re-badged products under their brand name of Zodel.

The company, founded in 1839, originated in Sheffield. In 1903 Wallace Heaton, previously the manager of Hardcastle in Brighton, took over an existing retailer - Watsons & Norris (from where the 1839 date originates). In October 1918 they became a limited company with a capitalisation of £10,000. In 1919 they opened the first branch in London. In 1925 the Sheffield part of the business was separated to become Wallace Heaton (Sheffield) Ltd. In 1927 the manager William McIntosh took over the Sheffield operation running it under his own name. In Sheffield shops were at 19 Change Alley, 84 High St. and Norfolk St. The address of 17-29 Change Alley is also mentioned. A further outlet was in Rotherham.

H.S. Newcombe was with Wallace Heaton for 23 years, he moved to Ross in 1945.

Phot. Dealer Mar/1903, p. 66. BJA 1919, p. 557. BJP 18 Nov 1918, p. 474. PTB Aug/1945, p. 448.

Further Information:
Photographica World no. 66 has an article by Basil Skinner on Wallace Heaton.

Wallis Bros.

Company Name

Wallis Bros.

Company Address

Stamford Rd., Kettering1902 -
Wellington Rd., Kettering- 1902

Manufacturers of shutters and the Penna strut camera.

Walters, Sourdot & Co.

Company Name

Walters, Sourdot & Co.Active 1862Phot. dealer

Company Address

11 Brooke St., London1862 -

Warwick Dry Plate Co.

Company Name

Warwick Dry Plate Co.1898 -

Company Address

14 Dowgate Hill, London1900 -London depot

The company was jointly owned by Austin Edwards and Nelson, Dale & Co.

Phot. Dealer Feb/1898, p. 54. Phot. Dealer July/1900.

Warwick Trading Co.

Company Name

Warwick Trading Co. Ltd.1898 -
Maguire & Baucus- 1898

Company Address

113, 115, 117 Charing Cross Rd., London1908 -
4 - 5 Warwick Ct., London- 1908

The Warwick Trading Co. was registered with capital of £25,000, J.D. Baucus was president, Charles Urban was secretary (later described as M.D.). G.A. Smith of St. Anne's Well Brighton was taken over by the Warwick Trading Co. in 1899, (George Albert Smith was an early film maker).

Charles Urban left the Warwick Trading Co. to start his own business - Charles Urban Trading Co. Ltd. at 48 Rupert St. London - in 1903. That company was wound up in 1921.

Maguire and Baucus opened the first Kinetoscope parlour in London at 70 Oxford Street in 1894. They were then using the name of the Continental Commerce Company.

Phot. Dealer May/1898, pp. 133, 142. Phot. Dealer Dec/1899. Phot. Dealer Apr/1903, p. 119. Lon. Gaz. 6/6/1905, p. 4098. Lon. Gaz. 7/1/1921, p. 221. Hove Pioneers and the Arrival of Cinema, p. 27, provides information on G.A. Smith. Low, British Film 1896 - 1906.

Watkins Meter Co.

Company Name

W.H. McKaigc. 1933 -Last ref. 1934
W.H. McKaig Meter Co.c. 1931 - 1933
Watkins Meter Co.1900 - c. 1931

The manufacture of the early Standard meter was by R. Field & Co. in Birmingham. In late 1900 production was taken over by the Watkins Meter Co. William McKaig was works manager prior to running the company in 1931. McKaig assisted Watkins with his book 'The Old Straight Track'. Alfred Watkins (b. 1855, d. 1935) was elected a member of the RPS in 1894.

BJA 1901, p. 1315. BJA 1932, p. 50. BJA 1936, p. 215. Shoesmith, 'Alfred Watkins, A Hereford Man'.

Watkinson & Co.

See also Wilby

Company Name

Watkinson & Co.1891 -
Watkinson and Lonsdale- 1891

Company Address

Burley Mill, LeedsKnown to be here between 1905 and 1908
Carlton Works, Leeds- 1899 -
Merrion Mills, North St., Leeds- 1895 -
Harrison St., Leeds- 1891 -

Manufacturers of cameras and apparatus to the trade. In 1891 the partnership between Benjamin Taylor Watkinson and Henry Lonsdale trading as Watkinson and Lonsdale was dissolved. In 1895 the partnership between B.T. Watkinson and William Abbott Daniel, trading as Watkinson & Company was dissolved. In 1899 B.T. Watkinson left the firm, William Barker Mason continued the business.

The Henry Lonsdale referred to above is possibly one of the partners in Lonsdale Brothers who started trading in 1891.

W.B. Mason was connected with Taylor & Co., chemists, of Leeds later to become Taylor's Drug Co. retailers of cameras (much later this firm merged with Timothy Whites). Watkinson probably made for Taylor's Drug company.

Lon. Gaz. 6/1891, p. 3078. Lon. Gaz. 5/3/1895, p. 1345. Phot. Dealer July/1899, p. 12. Phot. Dealer May/1899, p. 123. 'The Pharmaceutical Industry: A Guide to Historical Records'. Lon. Gaz. 19/6/1885, p.2831.

Watson Bros.

Company Name

Watson Brothers

Company Address

4 Pall Mall, London1877 - 1898In early years known as Colonnade
31 Cockspur St., London1893 - 1898

Advertised as manufacturers in the 1887 YBP and in the early 1890s.

Thomas William Watson, gunmaker, started the firm around 1875. For a time he worked for the firm of William Watson at 313 High Holborn. T.W. Watson's father was Thomas Watson (b. 1818) the brother of William Watson. In 1884 he was joined by his brother, Arthur Henry, the firm was renamed Watson Brothers. Around this time they diversified from gunmakers into optical and mathematical instrument manufacturing later they also moved into electrical equipment. In 1893 they opened a second shop at 31 Cockspur Street, this was closed in 1898 and from then the firm concentrated on gunmaking at new premises at 29 Old Bailey.

Phot. Dealer July/1898.

Further Information:
  • Thomas William Watson son of Thomas Watson
  • Born: 23 Sep 1848 Kensington
  • Married: Mary Louisa Tranter
  • Died: 2 Nov 1933

  • Arthur Henry Watson son of Thomas Watson
  • Born: 1857 Notting Hill
  • Spouse: Mary Ann

Watson, Robert

Company Name

Robert WatsonActive around 1886

Company Address

Blythe Rd., West Kensignton Park, London

Listed in the LPOD photographic section for 1886 only as an operative chemist and photographic dealer.

Watson & Sons

Company Name

Watson & Sons Ltd1908 -
W. Watson & Sonsc. 1883 - 1908
W. Watson & Sonc. 1868 - c. 1883
William Watson - c. 1868

Company Address

313 High Holborn, London WC1946 -Last ref. 1958
14 Hadley Grove, High Barnet1940 - 1946
313 High Holborn, London WC1861 - 1940WC1 postal district from 1917
74 City Rd., London WCc.1859 - 1861This is the same building as 12 City Road,
this part of the street was re-numbered around 1859
12 City Rd., London WCc.1841 - c.18593 doors from Featherstone St.
Regional premises:
16 Forrest Rd., Edinburgh1898 - c.1914Business then handled by A.H. Baird
78 Swanston Rd., Melbourne- c.1919From mid 1890s. Possibly then separated from parent co.
251 Swanston Rd., Melbournec.1889 -To mid 1890s. Managed by a nephew of Watson
196 Gt. Portland St., London W1913 - 1915
184 Gt. Portland St., London W1912 - 1913
2 Easy Row, Birmingham1905 - 1918
Bell's Head. Barnet1906 -
9, 10, 11, 16 & 17 Fullwood's Rents, London1889 - 1905
9, 10, 11 Fullwood's Rents, London1888 - 1889Also written with one l and no apostrophe
7 & 8 Dyer's Bldgs., Holborn, London EC - 1888

The establishment date is given as 1837, the earliest definite reference is for 1841 when William Watson was a 'general dealer' at City Road. In 1868 William was joined by one of his sons and the firm moved into gun making, optics and, later, photographic supplies. Camera making started in the early/mid 1880s, an advertisement of 1886 says that they now have a larger factory.

Charles Henry Watson son of William joined the firm in 1883, he was elected a member of the RPS in 1900. Other sons were George F. Watson and Thomas Parsons Watson. William Watson, the founder, died in 1881, the firm then passed to T.P. Watson, on his death, in the late 1890s, the firm was run by C.H. Watson and Frederick William Watson Baker. In the 1880s the Watson family were living at the 313 premises. A photograph of C.H. Watson is contained in the Photographic Dealer for June 1902.

From 1888 parts for Watson cameras were made to standard sizes making lost or damaged parts easier to replace, these cameras had serial numbers above 6000. Patents were issued to T.P. Watson. See the BJA 1892 for an illustration of the premises.

In 1889 the British Journal of Photography made a visit to Fullwood's Rents, it describes a large highly-mechanised factory on four floors with around 100 people working there. Woodworking machines included saws, planners and moulders. Wood and brass parts for cameras were made on spec and stored, it was noted that it took two weeks for a workman to assemble and finish a whole-plate camera from parts that have already been machined. As well as woodworking they made brass work for cameras at the factory. Lens grinding and brass work for lenses was carried out at 313 Holborn.

A.E. Conrady joined the firm as chief optician and adviser in 1902.

313 High Holborn is on the south side between Chancery Lane and Southampton Bldgs. Fullwood's Rents was on the north side of Holborn opposite 313 Holborn, it is now Fulwood Place.

Watson & Sons and Watson Brothers
William Watson's brother was Thomas Watson his son Thomas William Watson was a gunmaker. For a time he worked at 313 High Holborn, around 1875 he opened a gunmakers at 4 Pall Mall. In 1884 he was joined by his brother, Arthur Henry, the firm was renamed Watson Brothers. Around this time they diversified into optical and mathematical instrument manufacturing later they also moved into electrical equipment. In 1893 they opened a second shop at 31 Cockspur Street, this was closed in 1898 and from then the firm concentrated on gunmaking at a premises at 29 Old Bailey.

Watson & Peacock
In 1881 Watson & Son opened a second shop at 308 High Holborn which concentrated on gunmaking, later this became Watson & Peacock.

BJP 24/5/1889, p. 347. BJA 1884, p. 750. BJA 1892, p. 938. BJA 1902, p. 1151. BJA 1939, p.196. Lon. Gaz. 11/2/1881, 14/8/1903, 26/7/1921, 31/1/1947. Phot. Dealer Jun/1902, p. 148. BJP 17/1/1902, p. 59, Conrady.

Further Information:
  • William Watson
  • Born: 1815 Brentford
  • First wife: Mary Ann Parsons married 11 Feb 1841
  • Second wife: Elizabeth Boughton married 11 Jul 1861, b. 1822 Woolpit Suffolk d. 2 Oct 1892
  • Children: Mary Ann b. 11 Dec 1842 married William Baker in 1863; Lucy b. 26 Jun 1843 married Edward Hardy Edey 1873; William b. 1844; Emma Eliza b. 20 Dec 1850 married Francis Curtis Havers 1877; Fanny Maria b. 14 Feb 1854; Thomas Parsons b. 1855; George Frederick b. 1858; Mercy Florence b. 13 Sep 1859 married Edward Stephen Hutchinson 1863; Elizabeth Martha b. 18 Feb 1864; Charles Henry b. 1866
  • Died: 9 Jan 1881, Gunmaker and optician, 313 High Holborn
  • 1841: Living at 10 White Lion St.
  • 1841: Living at 12 City Rd.
  • 1861: Living at 74 City Rd.

  • William Watson [II], optician and gunmaker, son of William Watson
  • Born: 20 July 1844
  • Died: 3 Mar 1869

  • Thomas Parsons Watson, optician, son of William Watson
  • Born: 2 May 1855
  • Married: Mary Eliza Havers
  • Children: William b. 1885; Charles Havers b. 1887; Lester G b. 1889; Oswald Eric b. 1894
  • Died: 28 Oct 1897 Rohampton. Effects £20,037

  • George Frederick Watson, optician and gunsmith, son of William Watson
  • Born: 1858
  • Married: Ellen Boughton 28 Sep 1881
  • Died: 2 Dec 1883

  • Charles Henry Watson, optician, son of William Watson
  • Born: 14 Mar 1866
  • Married: Mabel Edith Warner 1897
  • Died: 10 Aug 1938 Highfield Peaks Hill Purley. Effects £44,178

  • Frederick William Watson Baker, optician, grandson of William Watson
  • Born: 24 Jun 1865
  • Died: 26 Feb 1952
  • Mary Ann Watson, daughter of William married William Baker in 1863
  • F.W.W. Baker's son Wilfred Ernest Watson Baker also worked at Watsons.

Watsons (Sheffield)

See also entries for Wallace Heaton.

Company Name

Wm. McIntosh (Sheffield)1927 -
Wallace Heaton (Sheffield) Ltd.1925 - 1927
Watsons- c. 1920From then run as a branch of Wallace Heaton
Watsons & Norris

Company Address

19 Change Alley, Sheffield1918 -Also shown as 17 - 24 Change Alley
84 High St., Sheffield- 1919

The company was founded in 1839, in 1903 Wallace Heaton (the person), previously the manager of Hardcastle in Brighton, took over the firm. In 1918 the limited company of Wallace Heaton was formed and Watsons is for a short time shown as part of Wallace Heaton Ltd. The Watson name was dropped by 1920. In 1925 the Sheffield part of the business was separated to become Wallace Heaton (Sheffield) Ltd. In 1927 the manager William McIntosh took over the Sheffield operation running it under his own name.

Phot. Dealer Mar/1903, p. 66. BJA 1919, p. 557.

Wellington & Ward

Company Name

Wellington & Ward Ltd1922 -
Wellington & Ward1894 - 1922

Company Address

101 High Holborn, LondonShowroom

Founded by J.B.B. Wellington and H.H. Ward in 1894. In July 1922 they acquired Leto Photo Materials (1905) Ltd, in 1930 they became part of the Ilford Group. Wellington previously worked for Elliott & Son and Kodak at Wealdstone. The Photographic Dealer for September 1900 has a report of a visit to the factory, it notes that there are nearly 100 people employed there. In 1922 the partners are given as James Booker Blakemore Wellington, Harry Whitworth Hall and Harold Hunter Ward.

Roll-film production started in 1902.

BJA 1923, p.302. BJA 1940, p. 151. Hercock & Jones, Silver By The Ton, p. 103. BJA 1919, p. 109, illustration of High Holborn showroom. Phot. Dealer Sep/1900, p. 72. Lon. Gaz. 28/7/1922, p. 5643. BJP 22/8/1902, p. 675.

Further Information:
  • James Booker Blakemore Wellington
  • Born: 1858 Bath Somerset
  • Married: Emily Isabella Ward 1893, sister of H.H. Ward
  • Died: 8 Oct 1939
  • 1891: Living at 38 Fellows Road, South Hampstead
  • 1901: Living at The Elms Shenley Rd. Borehamwood
  • 1911: Living at The Leys, Elstree, Herts
  • RPS member from 1887, exhibited at the RPS from 1886

  • Harold Hunter Ward
  • Born: 22 Apr 1866 Edmonton
  • Married: Kate Ridlington 1898
  • Died: 10 Apr 1946 Radlett
  • 1901: Living at Shenley Rd. Borehamwood

  • Harry Whitworth Hall
  • Born: 1874
  • Married: Edith Harriet Ward 1899, sister of H.H. Ward
  • Died: 7 Mar 1962
  • 1911: New Road, Elstree


Company Name

John Werge

Company Address

11a Berners St., London1872 - 1892Between Castle St. and Mortimer St.
67 Buchanan St., Glasgow1855 -Monteith Rooms

John Werge (b. 1825) describes himself in the 1881 census as 'Dealer In Photographic Materials Employs One Boy'. He was living at the Berners St. address at this time. Werge was previously manager for Jabez Hughes, Hughes moved here from Oxford Street but shortly afterwards the business was under the Werge name.

Werge was manager or owner of the Monteith Rooms studio in Glasgow from 1855. Earlier that year, shortly after he arrived from America, he was working for Jabez Hughes at the Glasgow studio.

For a short while around 1874 the 11a Berners St. address was listed as Berners Portrait Co. with Werge as manager. The premises were later occupied by other photographers.

An entry in the British Journal of Photography for November 1892 states that the remaining stock of the business was disposed of by auction. The items in the sale included Daguerreotype equipment. The BJP suggests that such items should be in a museum collection.

Books by Werge: Pictorial backgrounds and how to produce them: to which is added, How to produce Opaltypes with ivory black, 1875. How to produce Opaltypes without silver, 1875. The Evolution of Photography, 1890.

BJP 11/11/1892, p. 723.

Further Information:
  • John Werge
  • Born: 1825 Bensham near Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Spouse: Emily Anna
  • Died: 15 May 1911, 50 Ainger Rd. Primrose Hill
  • Children: Mary, Annie, Esther E., Edith, Gertrude, Tennyson
  • 1871: Living at 379 Oxford St
  • 1881: 11a Berners St. Dealer In Photographic Materials employing one boy
  • 1891: 11a Berners

Daguerreotypes by Werge with the Monteith Rooms address were in Christie's Cat. 2/9/1993 lot 14 and 10/9/1992 lot 37. A short biography is in B. & P. Heathcote, A Faithful Likeness.

Westminster Photographic Exchange

Company Name

Westminster Photographic Exchange Ltd1907 -
Westminster Photographic Exchange1903 - 1907

Company Address

119 Victoria St., London SW1903 -To after 1942. SW1 postal district from 1917
24 Charing Cross Rd., London WC21933 -To after 1942. Prior to this occupied by Adams & Co.
111 Oxford St., London Wc. 1914 -To after 1942. W1 postal district from 1917
62 Piccadilly, London W11923 - 1935Photographers listed here in the 1840s
81 Strand, London W11935 -
121 Cheapside, London
149 North St., Brighton1948 -

Established in late 1902 by A.J. Leather (ex Army & Navy Stores and City Sale & Exchange) and E. Evans.

BJA 1934, p. 537. Phot. Dealer Dec/1902, p. 302. PTB Jul/1948, p. 443.


Company Name

L & H Whetter1893 -
W.T. Whetter- 1893Also styled Bristol Photographic Stores or Bristol Photographers Stores

Company Address

13 & 14 Lower Arcade. Bristolc. 1897 -
14 Lower Arcade. Bristol1892 - c. 1897
Villiers Rd., Staplton Rd., Bristol- 1892

Whitehead & Cox

Company Name

Whitehead & Cox

Company Address

54 Irving St., Birmingham

The firm of Richard James Whitehead and John Cox, camera makers, was reported as having debt problems in 1898.

Lon. Gaz. Sep/1898, p. 71. Edin. Gaz. 19/Aug 1898, p. 818.

Whittingham & Co.

See Photographic Artists' Supply Association.


Company Name

Wilby & Co.1900 -
Tattersall & Wilby- 1900

Company Address

Thornton Grove Works, Armley, Leeds

Both William Leck Tattersall and Joseph Arthur Wilby worked for Watkinson & Co. of Leeds, they left that company in the late 1890s to form Tattersall & Wilby. The firm was renamed on Tattersall's death. The firm probably manufactured for the trade but also sold cameras under the Wilco brand. Tattersall and Wilby were issued patent 6775 of 1899 covering the clamping of the front and rear standards of field cameras.

Phot. Dealer Aug/1900, p. 33. Phot. Dealer Oct/1900, p. 89. Phot. Dealer Mar/1903, p. 80.

Further Information:
  • William Leck Tattersall
  • Born: 1851
  • Died: 2 Aug 1900

  • Joseph Arthur Wilby
  • Born: 1869
  • Married: Sarah Ann Hampshire, 1893
  • Died: 6 Sep 1953
  • 1901: Photographic Camera Maker
  • 1911: 48 Church Rd. Armley Leeds. Camera Maker
  • 1939: 4 Hall Rd. Joiner Builder

Wilkinson, Aaron

Company Name

Aaron Wilkinson

Company Address

Harpurhey, Manchester

Manufacturers to the trade. They were established in 1825 and started to manufacture photographic items around 1888. A visit by the Photographic Dealer in 1904 notes that cameras are under construction and that 50 men are employed.

Phot. Dealer May/1904, p. 120.

Wilkinson, J & A (Jaynay)

Company Name

J & A Wilkinson

Company Address

6 St Oswald St., Manchester- 1903 - 1908 -
9,11 Bushton St., Manchester- 1908 -

John and Alfred Wilkinson. The manufacture of photographic items started around 1890, at first this included cameras but later the firm concentrated on niche areas such as darkroom equipment. Extensive use was made of specialised machinery in the manufacture of the products.

Phot. Dealer May/1904, p. 120.


Company Name

Richard Willats1853 - 1861
T & R Willats1845 - 1853Or Thomas & Richard Willats
Thomas Willats1843 - 1845

Company Address

2 Church Rd., Homerton, London1857 - 1861
28 Ironmonger Lane, London1850 - 1858
98 Cheapside, London1843 - 1850

Opticians and manufacturers of photographic apparatus. Thomas Willats was apprenticed to Edward Palmer in 1832.

Books by Thomas Willats: Plain directions for obtaining photographic pictures by the Calotype and Energiatype processes, 1844, 1845.

Books by Thomas & Richard Willats: Photographic Manuals No 1. Part II. Plain directions for obtaining photographic pictures upon albumenised paper and glass, collodion and albumen, including a second edition of 'A Practical treatise on Photography' by Gustave LeGray, of Paris, 1851. Photographic Manuals No 2. Practical hints on the Daguerreotype, being simple directions for obtaining portraits, views, copies of engravings and drawings, sketches of machinery etc. by the Daguerreotype process, including the latest improvements in fixing, colouring, and engraving the pictures, with a description of the apparatus, 1845. Other editions with slight changes to the title.

Lon. Gaz. 1/7/1853.

Further Information:
  • Thomas Willats
  • Born: 13 April 1818 Cripplegate
  • 1841: Chemist. Living in Fore St. (probably no. 65) with Richard
  • Death: Possibly 1856

  • Richard Willats
  • Born: 6 Sep 1819 Cripplegate
  • Spouse: Bertha (or similar) married 13 June 1845
  • Death: Possibly 1891
  • 1841: Druggist. Living in Fore St. with Thomas
  • 1861: Optician. Living in Hackney
  • 1871: Chemist. Living at (probably no. 2) Church Rd. Homerton
  • 1881: Optician's assistant. Living at 4 Church Rd. Homerton

  • Benjamin Willats. Father of Thomas and Richard
  • Chemist in Fore St. Cripplegate. Living at or working from : 19, 36, 65, 115 Fore St
  • Born: 22 May 1784
  • Married: Mary Baker 1817
  • Died: 18 May 1832

See 'The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot' ( for letter from Talbot regarding the sale of iodised paper and patent infringement.

Princeton University Library holds a scrapbook of early paper photography compiled by Richard Willats.

In the 1880s the manager of the Negretti & Zambra shop in Holborn was R. Willats possibly the same as above.

Williamson, James

See also Sanders & Crowhurst.

Company Name

Williamson Kinematographic Company
James Williamson

Company Address

Cambridge Grove, Wilbury Villas, Hove1902 - 1910Film studio. West side of Wilbury Villas
just before the railway line
55 Western Rd. Hove1898 - 1904
144 Church Rd. Hove1886 - 1898Some sources give the previous occupants as the photographers
Wells & Grey, however, they were at 144 Western Road.

Williamson opened a chemist shop in Hove in 1886. Retail of photographic goods and services became the dominant part of the business and the pharmaceutical side was dropped. An important aspect of the business was providing services such as processing, printing and perforating to film makers in the area.

Williamson started making and showing films in 1897. In 1902 he opened a dedicated studio for film production. In 1910 he gave up film production the firm then concentrating on distribution and manufacturing.

Barnes, Beginnings of the Cinema in England. Sopocy, James Williamson.

Further Information:
  • James Williamson
  • Born: 1855 Scotland
  • Married: Betsy Heaysman, 1881
  • Died: 18 Aug 1933 of 593 Upper Richmond Rd Richmond, effects £15,046
  • 1905: Living at Sherwood, Wilbury Villas, Hove
  • 1909: Living at 11, Wilbury Villas, Hove. East side of Wilbury Villas close to the railway
  • 1910: Living at 2a, Wilbury Villas
  • 1911: Living at Rose Cottage, Wilbury Villas. Same location as no. 2a
  • 1911: Living at 72 Bolingbroke Grove, Wandsworth Common, Battersea S W

  • No 2 Wilbury Villas (Giebeler's blind and shutter factory) occupied the plot on the west side if the road just before the railway bridge. The studio occupied land just to the south of No. 2 that stretched along Cambridge Grove. Rose cottage occupied the south west corner of this plot and was also known as 2a Wilbury Villas. The main development of Wilbury Villas was after the railway bridge. No. 11 was on the east side of the road.

  • Planning consent for the studio site was granted by Hove Council early in 1902 and the studio was in use later that year. The Electoral Register shows Rose Cottage to be occupied by someone named William Clark until 1909.

Window & Bridge

Company Name

Window & Bridge1864 - 1866Photographer

Company Address

63A Baker St., Portman Sq., London1864 - 1866

Lon. Gaz. 4/12/1866, partnership dissolved.

Window, F.R.

Company Name

F.R. Window1863 - 1864, 1867 - 1872Photographer

Company Address

63A Baker St., Portman Sq., London1863 - 1864, 1867 - 1872

Between the two dates given above F.R. Window was with Henry Gawler Bridge trading as Window and Bridge at the Baker Street address, the partnership was dissolved 1/12/1866. Window was later in partnership as Window and Grove.

F.R. Window introduced the cabinet size mount (6 ½" x 4 ¼") which was popular from the time of its introduction in 1866. Window is also given credit for introducing a card having four small portraits, called a Diamond Cameo. Frederick Richard Window (d. 1875).

Phot. News 3/12/1875, p. 805. Lon. Gaz. 4/12/1866, p. 6784. Phot. News 18/5/1866, p. 289. 17/8/1866, p. 385.

Window & Grove

Company Name

Window & GrovePhotographer

Company Address

58 Westbourne Grove, London
63 Baker St., Portman Sq., London1889 -
63A Baker St., Portman Sq., London1872 - 1889

The studio is described in The Photographic Studios of Europe (pub. 1882), at the time of the visit it was noted that the studio preferred wet collodion plates during the summer months but used gelatine dry plates during the winter. An exposure of between 8 - 10s was required for a carte on dull winter days.

Wood, E.G.

See also Horne & Thornthwaite.

Company Name

E.G. Wood

Company Address

1 & 2 Queen St., Cheapside, London1899 - 1907
74 & 78 Cheapside, London EC1897
416 Strand, London1885 - 1896
74 Cheapside, London EC1861 - 1898Between Queen St. and Buckelsbury
117 Cheapside, London EC1854 - 1861Corner of Milk St

At one time E.G. Wood employed 15 men, making this a relatively large concern. He is described as an optician in the 1881 census living at 74 Cheapside. In 1880 a book by A.A. Wood on Magic Lanterns was being sold by the company. Mr. A.A. Wood (son of Edward George Wood), then running the firm, died in 1900, the business was taken over in 1901 by F.S. Horsey.

Photographic News 1896, p.49. Phot. Dealer Sep/1900, p. 71. Phot. Dealer Apr/1901, pp. 88, 98.

Further Information:
  • Edward George Wood
  • Born: 1811
  • Spouse: Martha
  • Died: 11 Jan 1896
  • 1851: Living at 123 Newgate St. employing 15 men and 6 boys. Two apprentices are listed: William Griffith and John Harmon Powell
  • 1861: 117 Cheapside
  • 1881: 74 Cheapside

  • Augustus Alfred Wood. Son of Edward George Wood
  • Born: 1846 London
  • Spouse: Ann Issabella (married 1869)
  • Died: 10 Sept 1900 16 Finsbury Sq
  • 1896: Living at 74 Cheapside

A sliding box camera by Wood is in Christie's Cat. 26/6/1986 lot 412 and 17/1/1985 lot 137.


See also entry for Sciopticon.

Company Name

The Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Co.1871 or before
The Permanent Printing Co.c. 1870 -
The Photo Relief Printing Co. Ltd1868 - 1869At Hereford Lodge.

Company Address

6 Great New St., Fetter Lane, Londonc. 1891 -
157 Gt. Portland St., Londonc. 1876 - c. 1891
Hereford Lodge, 9A Hereford St., Old Brompton, London- 1875
178 Regent St., London1875 - 1878Studio
Downs Park Rd., Hackney1897 -Works
Castlebar. Ealing- 1897Works

The Woodburytype process was developed by Walter Bentley Woodbury (b. 1834, d. 1885) based on a series of patents from 1864. The process sits between being photographic and photo-mechanical; it can be thought of as producing carbon prints mechanically, on an industrial scale. It is a continuous-tone process, no screen or ground is used.

In Britain Disdéri & Co. obtained the right to use the process, that company, however, was wound up in 1868. From then the process was operated by 'The Photo Relief Printing Co. Ltd' at Hereford Lodge, which was Disdéri's former studio; Woodbury was the Managing Director. That company was wound up in early 1869 to be replaced by the 'The Permanent Printing Co.' and later by the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Co. (the two were possibly operating in parallel). The partnership between Walter Bentley Woodbury, George Corpe Whitfield, Joseph Cundall and Samuel Robert Lock which formed the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Co. was dissolved in December 1876 when Woodbury left the partnership, the others carried on the business. The firm was taken over by Eyre & Spottiswoode in 1891. The patent shown in advertisements, 1791 of 1865, is for Swan's Photo-mezzotint process, and is not any of Woodbury's patents.

In 1872 Charles Ranson is shown as manager of The Permanent Printing Co. and later of the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Co, in 1875 the secretary is Frank William Fry, in 1876 the secretary is Thomas William Fry. The works were later moved from Castlebar to Downs Park Road, Hackney.

An earlier firm, the Woodbury Photo-Relievo Printing Company Ltd of 60, Market Street Manchester, was dissolved in April 1867.

A separate company, Woodbury Treadaway & Co. Ltd, was formed to operate Woodbury's related Stannotype process, the company was registered in 1883 and operated until the late 1880s.

Tissandier, Gaston. History and Handbook of Photography. 1876. Gives a detailed account of how the process was used at the Goupil works in France, where it was known as Photoglyptie. Lon. Gaz. 23/3/1877, p. 2221.
Photo Relief Printing Co. Ltd - Lon. Gaz. 31/12/1869, p. 7481. BJP 23/7/1897, p. 377. BT 31/1437/4229, incorporated in 1868.
Disdéri & Co. - Lon. Gaz. 11/8/1868, p. 4469. Lon. Gaz. 26/5/1868, p.3006.
Woodbury Photo-Relievo Printing Company - Lon. Gaz. 16/4/1867, p. 2330.
Woodbury Treadaway & Co. - BT 31/3221/18821. BJA 1884, p. cxxi, shows the works to be at Manor Road South Norwood, later 116 Gt. Saffron Hill is listed. BJA 1884, p. 140. 'All about the Stannotype in a few words', article by Woodbury.

Further Information:
See Woodburytype for details of the process. An obituary is contained in the BJP 18/9/1885, p. 596.

Woolley, James

Company Name

James Woolley, Sons & Co. Ltd.Limited sometime between 1894 - 1897
James Woolley, Sons & Co.
James Woolley- 1891 -

Company Address

12 Victoria Bridge St., Manchester1894 - 1908 -
69 Market St., Manchester- 1894

Founded as a retail chemists in Market St. The business developed as wholesale and manufacturing chemists, there was also a retail outlet at Market Street. They were one of the first wholesale chemists to supply general photographic goods including apparatus, this was in 1885. From around the late 1890s they supplied cameras under their own name though there is no evidence of manufacture. For many years the photographic side was run by T.C. Twining.

Phot. Dealer May/1904, p. 120.

Wratten & Wainwright

Company Name

Wratten & Wainwright Ltd1906 - 1912
Wratten & Wainwright1877 - 1906

Company Address

38 Gt. Queen St., Long Acre, London WC1877 - 1896
67 Canterbury Rd West Croydon1890 -

Wratten & Wainwright was founded in 1877 by F.C.L. Wratten and Henry Wainwright. In 1912 it was bought by Eastman, production was moved to Wealdstone and the Croydon plant closed. Prior to starting Wratten & Wainwright F.C.L. Wratten was working for Joseph Solomon in Red Lion Square.

W&W sold photographic chemicals but quickly moved into the manufacture of gelatine dry plates, they introduced the London Ordinary Plate in 1877 with a speed of 15 times that of wet-plates, the London Instantaneous Plate in 1879 at about 40 times wet-plate speed and in 1882 the Wratten Drop Shutter Plate. During these years plate manufacture was by hand with the emulsion being poured from a teapot. In 1890 the firm opened a factory in Croydon and purchased a plate coating machine from Dr. J.H. Smith of Zurich.

The retail of photographic apparatus and sundries ceased with the closure of the Gt. Queen St. premises.

C.E. Kenneth Mees joined the company in 1906, in 'From Dry Plate to Ektachrome' he describes the early years of W&W and the absorption by Eastman. Wratten Panchromatic plates were introduced in 1906, the colour sensitivity dye was based on products from Meister, Lucius & Brüning.

To accompany panchromatic plates W&W produced colour filters which reduced blue light reaching the plate. These started as K-1, K-2 and K-3, 'K' came from the name of the dye that was used in their production. The range of filters produced increased rapidly, the Wratten number used to describe the filter is still in use. K was a Trade Name registered by Wratten & Wainwright in 1911.

F.C.L.s two sons, F.P. Wratten and S.H. Wratten were involved in the company, S.H. moving to Kodak London after the takeover. A photograph of F.C.L. Wratten is in the BJA 1926.

BJA 1913, p. 577. BJA 1914, p.140a. BJA 1926, p. 174. BJA 1927, p. 364. BJP 3/7/1896, p. 418. BJP 24/2/1899, p. 124. Mees, 'From Dry Plate to Ektachrome', p. 14. Photographic News 3/7/1896. BJP 1911, p. 30.

Further Information:
  • Frederick Charles Luther Wratten
  • Born: 1841 Horsebridge Sussex
  • Married: Catharine Sylvia Smart 12 Mar 1870
  • Died: 8 April 1926 effects £52,396

  • Frederick Percy Wratten
  • Born: 1874
  • Died: 11 Feb 1899. An obituary was published in the British Journal of Photography, 24 Feb.

  • Henry Wainwright
  • Died: 1882


Company Name

Wray (Optical Works) Ltdc. 1950 - 1971
Wray Ltdc. 1916 - 1950
W. Wray- c. 1916Peckham
W. WrayHighgate

Company Address

Ashgrove Rd., Bromleyc. 1916 -
Hanover St., Peckhamc. 1910 - c. 1916
Laurel House 59 North Hill, Highgatec. 1854 - c. 1910
3 Windmill St. Tottenham Ct. Rd.c. 1851 - c. 1854

Wray was formed in 1850, by which time William Wray, the founder of the firm, had moved from Whitby to London. For a short period he was living, and possibly working at Commercial Road Limehouse, in 1851 or 1852 the firm was located at Windmill St. Tottenham Court Rd. Wray was especially interested in astronomy and during the early period of the firm they concentrated on the manufacture of telescopes and microscopes, photographic lens production started in 1885. The period at Highgate is most interesting, two of William Wray's sons - William James and Henry joined the firm along with his brother-in-law James Turnbull. For most of the time the Wray family together with several members of the Turnbull family lived at Laurel House in Highgate, the workshops were located in the grounds of the house. On the death of William Wray the business was carried on by the two sons, James Turnbull and Eliza Wray. In 1893 the firm employed around 2 dozen workmen, as well as glass and brass work they produced their own iris diaphragms.

In 1908 Wray came under the control of James Aitchison and Albert Smith, Smith had been recruited from Ross to run the company. Optical products (mainly binoculars) sold by Aitchison were made by Wray. Following the merger of Aitchison & Co. and Dollond & Co. in 1927 Dollond & Aitchison became leading shareholders in Wray, they sold their stake in the company to Hilger & Watts in 1962 (Wray became part of H&W, D&A received shares in H&W). Subsequently (1968) along with H&W they became part of the Rank Organisation. In 1971 the company was placed into administration.

C.G. Wynne worked for the company from around 1942.

Lon. Gaz. 20/7/1971, p. 7797. A visit by the Central Photographic Club to Wray was recorded in the BJP 4/10/1894 p. 651. Photographic Industries - The Optical Works of W. Wray Highgate, published BJP 14/4/1893.

Further Information:
  • William Wray
  • Born: 1829 Whitby
  • Married: Ann Elizabeth (Eliza) Turnbull 1850
  • Died: 31 Dec 1885 Laurel House North Hill Highgate
  • 1862: Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • William Wray obituary: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 46, p.201 Feb 1886. [Accessed 2022 via]

  • William James Wray son of William Wray
  • Born: 1851
  • Died: 6 May 1907

  • Henry Wray son of William Wray
  • Born: 1854
  • Married: Grace Edith Fitch 1884
  • Died: 10 Aug 1902

  • Joseph Turnbull brother-in-law of William Wray
  • Born: 1840 Whitby
  • Died: 30 May 1913

  • Ann Elizabeth (Eliza) Wray wife of William Wray
  • Born: c. 1829 Whitby
  • Died: 21 Mar 1906

Wrench, John

Company Name

John Wrench & Son1876 - c. 1922
John Wrenchc. 1849 - 1876
Edward Wrench1830 - c. 1849

Company Address

50 Gray's Inn Rd., London1888 -
39 Gray's Inn Rd., Londonc. 1863 - 1888
6 Gray's Inn Terrace, London1830 - c. 1862

Opticians and engineers, early manufacturers of cinematographic equipment.

Further Information:
Barnes, Beginnings of the Cinema in England has details of Wrench's involvement with cinematographic equipment.
  • Edward Wrench
  • Born: 1797 London
  • Spouse: Ann
  • Died: 1866
  • 1830: Barometer maker
  • 1841: Mathematical Instrument Maker

  • John Holmes Wrench, son of Edward W.
  • Born: 14 Feb 1830 London
  • Married: Maria Elizabeth Davies 1853
  • Died: 10 Apr 1883
  • 1861: Optician

  • Edward John Wrench, son of John W.
  • Born: 1855 London
  • Married: Emily Conolly 3 Jul 1875
  • Died: 16 Oct 1878. Optician of 14 River Street Myddleton Sq. and 39 Gray's Inn

  • Alfred Wrench, son of John W.
  • Born: 1861 London
  • Married: Edith Dwyer Way 1883
  • Died: 10 Jul 1913

  • Herbert Holmes Wrench, son of Alfred W.
  • Born: 7 May 1885
  • Died: 25 April 1951
  • 1911: Optician
  • 1930: living at Palmeira Square Hove

Note on address: Gray's Inn Terrace lies between 1 King's Road and Gray's Inn Lane which became the Holborn end of Gray's Inn Road. King's road became an extension of Theobalds Road.

Wright, J.W.

Company Name

J.W. WrightPhot. chemist, importer. Active 1880s

Company Address

141 St James's St., Burnley

Wright, William

Company Name

William WrightActive 1863Phot. apparatus manu.

Company Address

5 Studd St., Islington, London1879 - 1885
139 Caledonian Rd., London1863 - 1876

In the 1881 census Wright (b. 1819) is described as a cabinet maker and living at the Studd St. address. A William Wright, possibly this one, made dark tents for Rouch and James How, he was called to give evidence in a court case for infringement of Rouch's registered design.

BJP 8/7/1864, p. 234.

Wyles & Co.

Company Name

B. Wyles & Co.

Company Address


Benjamin Wyles were photographers and Miniature Painters. An address label on a camera has printed on it: 'Prize Medal 1875', this may refer to the RPS exhibition of that year where Wyles exhibited several photographs.

Zeiss-Ikon (London)

Company Name

Zeiss-Ikon Ltd1931 -

Company Address

Maidstone House, 26 Berners St.1937 -From around Sep 1937
Mortimer House, 37/41 Mortimer St.1930 - 1937

AP 22/9/1937 p. 354.

Zeiss (London)

Company Name

Carl Zeiss (London) Ltd1926 -
Carl Zeiss (London) Ltd1910 - 1917

Company Address

Mortimer House, 37/41 Mortimer St.1930 -
Winsley House Wells St.1926 - 1930
13/14 Gt. Castle St., Oxford St.1909 - 1917Then occupied by Ross
29 Margaret St., Regent St.1894 - 1909
Bittacy Hill1912 - 1917

Zeiss had an office in London at 29 Margaret St. from c. 1894. In 1910 they set up a subsidiary company, Carl Zeiss (London) at Gt. Castle St. In 1912 a factory at Bittacy Hill, near Mill Hill, was established. The company traded until 1916 but was wound-up at the start of 1917 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The assets were taken over by Ross Ltd. who moved their London office to Gt. Castle St. Ross also operated the Mill Hill factory until it was sold in 1919 to United Kingdom Optical Company Limited.

In 1926 the London office was re-established when J.W. Atha & Co. was acquired, Atha were until then the distributors for Carl Zeiss and probably wholely owned by Carl Zeiss. The Atha name remained in use and the two principles - J.W. Atha and Albert Frederick Degenhardt joined the Carl Zeiss (London) board.

The 10,000th lens was produced at the start of 1895.

BJP 15/2/1895. BJP 12/11/1909, p. 885. Lon. Gaz. 9/1/1917, p. 377. Ministry of Munitions Records, MUN 4/4084. The Camera Oct. 1926 p. 150.

Zimmermann, A & M.

Company Name

A & M Zimmermann

Company Address

3 Lloyds Av., London EC1901 - c. 1915
9 & 10 St. Mary-at-Hill, London1896 - 1901
6 & 7 Cross Lane, St. Mary-at-Hill, London1887 - 1896
27 Mincing Ln., London1881 - 1887
21 Mincing Ln., London- 1881

After the separation of Chas. Zimmermann this side of the business was run by Richard Zimmermann. At one time the firm was the agent for Leto products, Schering chemicals and from 1898 Agfa.

Phot. Dealer Jan/1902, p. 11.

Zimmermann, Chas.

Company Name

Chas. Zimmermann (Photographic) & Co. Ltd.1907 - c. 1925
Chas. Zimmermann & Co.1901 - 1907

Company Address

13 Bartlett's Bldgs., Holborn Circus, London EC1910 - 1925
9 & 10 St. Mary-at-Hill, London1901 - 1910

This branch of Zimmermann was formed when the partnership of A & M Zimmermann was dissolved at the end of 1901. At one time they were the agents for Agfa, Kindermann and Ernemann (1903). Following World War I the company briefly advertised as agents for Agfa and was probably the basis of the Agfa company in the UK.

Phot. Dealer Jan/1902, p. 11.




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