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Marshall, Keene and Company Collection

We have recently rehoused and catalogued around 750 film and glass plate negatives of schools and religious buildings in the late 1920s and 1930s. From a collection by photographers Marshall, Keene and Company, the sites featured include Rugby School, Birmingham Oratory, Guy’s Hospital and Cheltenham College. The Archive collection is available to search on the Historic England Archive website, some of which have been scanned. Here is a summary of some of the highlights.

Marshall, Keene and Company were a Hove based photographers founded in 1902. They operated out of premises on Portland Road and specialised in the commercial photography of public schools, hospitals and Roman Catholic churches in England and Scotland.

Archive black and white photo of a classroom of schoolboys sitting at benches using microscopes and reference books.
CC46/00260: Pupils using microscopes in a classroom at Cheltenham College. Photographed between 1925 and 1939 by Marshall, Keene and Company. Historic England Archive. © Historic England Archive

The National Buildings Record (NBR) acquired the collection in 1945. Thankfully the original plan to dispose of non-architectural material in the collection was never carried out. So, alongside views of the buildings, the collection includes photos of pupils working in classrooms, gymnasiums and workshops. There are also photos of posed groups of staff and students and shots of cadets from the Officer Training Corps carrying out drills.

Other interesting images in the collection record wounded ex-servicemen relaxing at the Star and Garter Home in Richmond Hill, and children receiving light therapy at Guy’s Hospital.

We still have copies of the correspondence between Sir John Summerson, then Deputy Director of the NBR, with the family of Thomas Dunkerton, the firm’s photographer. This reveals that all the material relating to English sites, along with all rights, were transferred to the NBR for the sum of £25.

Archive black and white photograph of schoolboys using gymnasium equipment in a hall, including parallel bars, rings, high bar and vaulting horse.
CC46/00188: Pupils practising gymnastics at Dean Close School in Cheltenham. Photographed between 1930 and 1939 by Marshall, Keene and Company. Historic England Archive. © Historic England Archive
Archive black and white photo of a corridor between a series of beds in a long, high-ceilinged room, with Gothic windows.
CC46/00454: A dormitory room at The King's School in Ely (now King's Ely). Photographed by Marshall, Keene and Company between 1920 and 1939. Historic England Archive. © Historic England Archive
Archive black and white photograph of a large institutional kitchen with preparation tables in the foreground with, ovens other kitchen equipment and two female staff at work.
CC46/00241: The kitchen at Guy's Hospital. Photographed by Marshall, Keene and Company between 1925 and 1939. Historic England Archive. © Historic England Archive
Archive black and white photograph of a swimming pool with schoolboys swimming and standing around the edge.
CC46/00144: Pupils posed in the Allan Swimming Bath at Downside School in Stratton on the Fosse, Somerset. Photographed by Marshall, Keene and Company between 1920 and 1939. Historic England Archive. © Historic England Archive
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