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.
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.
The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,