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National Camera Day 2023


In honour of the upcoming National Camera Day 2023, we hear from our Chairman regarding a microfilming project he undertook at the top of Windsor Castle back in the 1970’s!

'The time was the early 1970s at a time when the Government of the day was promoting British industry as many experienced and qualified people, young and old were leaving in vast numbers, to work abroad; at that time it was dubbed ‘the brain drain’ and the Government in order to stem the flow, promoted an initiative to encourage everyone ‘Buy British’.

Her (now his) Majesty’s Archives are located at the top of the Round Tower in Windsor Castle, Berkshire, and the then Archivist (Mackworth-Young) was approached by several Microfilm Publishing companies to copy and publish the original handwritten letters to the Kings and Queens of many European Countries by King James Stuart 1st of England, and 5th of Scotland known collectively as The Stuart Papers.

At that time we (Micro Methods Ltd) were the only wholly owned British micro-publishing company in existence and fully aligned with the Governments policy to ‘Buy British’ hence we got the job.

I dissembled the portable camera and ‘hand balled’ it up the x hundred steps (no lifts)to the top and assembled it in their Library (overlooking stunning views of Windsor, Eton etc.) and slowly and meticulously microfilmed the immaculately preserved and bound letters producing 240 rolls of film with approximately 600 double page exposures on each, over a period of 7 months.

The project was a great success. It sold like ‘hot cakes’ to the American market as they loved anything British, especially to do with the British Royal Family.

The Camera was an Eastman Kodak Microfilm Camera ‘Model E’  using ultra-fine grain unperforated film,  it was the first ‘portable’ camera they made and, the first to be sold into the British market. When not on location we adapted it for other uses, newspapers, dissertations and general library work. News soon got out that we had a microfilm camera and, as this was ‘cutting edge’ at the time (remember the business was incorporated in 1956) Engineers, Architects, Drawing Offices and manufacturing companies were beating a path to our door to have large and heavy paperwork reduced to clean light, and manageable micro-formats. Thus the contractual side of the business was born and ran alongside our micro-publishing side and still does, to a greater and lesser degree, to this day.'

Contact us to find out how we problem solve in more modern times.