Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Woollons, dispensing chemist and photograpic dealer; Kensal Green

Since photographic processing and printing involves different chemical products, it is hardly surprising that these operations were conducted originally mostly by chemists. A couple of ghost signs posted on this blog, from Bath and Islington, illustrate this association between pharmacy and photography. Recently I discovered another one, this time in Kensal Green.
I could not find when Charles H. F. Woollons, MPS (Member of the Pharmaceutical Society), opened his store on Kilburn Lane. Since his widow Louisa died in 1937, aged 78, it seems reasonable to assume he was born in the 1850s. After graduating he might have worked for another chemist before opening his own business. In any case Woollons's name and address, 28 Kilburn Lane, appear in a 1906 issue of The Pharmaceutical Journal and in the 1908 edition of Yearbook of Pharmacy. Interestingly Woollons is also mentioned in a 1906 issue of Photographic Monthly. When C. H. F. Woollons retired or died, his son Charles B. Woollons, MPS, took over the Kilburn store. By 1937 he also owned a branch at 254 Hendon Way, which was managed by his new partner, chemist and druggist Leopold Barnato. Actually Barnato was also deeply involved in photography and filming. In 1936 he photographed and edited the two-reel documentary "Airport" by Ellis E. Somake, which "was judged 'the most efficient production viewed' in the 'Amateur Cine World's' the ten best films of 1936." This documentary was also awarded a certificate at the 1936 Royal Photographic Society Exhibition of Cinematography.
Did the Kilburn branch survive Charles B. Woollons? This seems unlikely. Indeed by the 1960s Leopold Barnato had given up the chemist and druggist side of the business to concentrate fully on photography and traded under the name "Woollons of Hendon." The company was trading until recently at 256 Hendon Way but no longer seems to.

C. Woollons
Dispensing ... Photographic Chemist
Fo... [?] ...m
... ...s

At least the sign at the back of the building has not been painted over.


Given the style of the lettering, this ghost sign certainly dates back from the time of Charles H. F. Woollons.

Location: Kilburn Lane and Ilbert Street / Pictures taken in November 2011


helen said...

These are real gems!

tellyonaplate said...

I believe the C.B. Woollons mentioned here was my great grandfather! Fascinating to read this as I'm always trying to discover more about the family history. Would love to learn more if you have any further info.

Sebastien Ardouin said...

Hi Jemma,
I'm afraid I put all the info I could find on C. B. Woolons and his business in the post. Hope you can find out more.