Boughton’s studio in the 1960s
In 1966 Paul Godfrey went to work in John Wells’ photographic studio at 54 London Road North, Lowestoft. By this time the ground-floor shop was occupied by a television rental company, but the upper floors were very much as they had been during the time of Walter Boughton & Sons. These notes are drawn from Paul’s description of the studio as he recalls it.
Access to the premises was via a small arcade of showcases for prints and equipment, and the front door led to a staircase. On the first landing were the darkroom and the print finishing facilities. On the second landing was a bay-windowed front room, which, in the 60s, had become a retail photographic shop.
It was on the third landing that one went back in time to the world of the Victorian photographer. Here was the studio, and it still had a glass roof and patterned glass windows, all facing north to receive daylong diffused light (without the periods of glare that were inevitable when the light came from the east or west). In the 60s the room was equipped with photofloods and a spotlight, but the quality of the natural diffused light was still something to be remarked on and remembered.
On the fourth landing were rooms that John Wells used for storage but that may, in the Boughton era, have been part of the family’s accommodation. A final staircase led to a well-lit attic of clear-glass construction. This had originally been used for the printing-out process, where negatives were placed – in frames – over the printing-out paper and exposed to daylight.
The printing-out attic and the large studio windows survived until the 1990s.
(Paul Godfrey is a photographic historian with particular interests in photo finishing and seaside photography. Go to Acknowledgements for a link to his websites.)
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