Hills & Saunders, Harrow.

This is amazing! For it means that 30,000 photographs of local people and schoolboys from Harrow can be recovered by their descendants. Both the glass negatives and some of the negative books have survived.

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Now added! - the data from the archive showing who, when and negative number (1860 - 1950), Thousands of records!Hills and Saunders Archive

I have the book Harrow School Register 1801 - 1893) - Roger Vaughan

Page recovered from Google's cache, 21.4.2003, Photos sent by a visitor and added to this article.

The Hills & Saunders Exhibition

(This article by Don Walter first appeared in The Harrow Observer)

Racks of negatives at Harrow

Anyone visiting the Hills on the Hill exhibition, currently (no longer) on view at Harrow School's Old Speech Room Gallery, cannot help but be aware of both an incomparable picture collection and a seemingly insuperable problem. For, as the catalogue is quick to point out, the pictures on display actually represent an almost infinitesimal fraction of the total Hills and Saunders Collection, which numbers at the very least 50,000 - possibly even 80,000 - images of Harrow's past.

That nobody is entirely sure of the number merely indicates the scale of the problem; moreover, the majority of these treasures, for such they are, have survived in the form of ultra-vulnerable glass negatives or equally perishable plates.

As many older residents will recall, Hills and Saunders operated for most of the 20th century (and, indeed, part of the l9th) from premises at l04 High Street, Harrow Hill . Throughout this immense period, they were obviously the first choice to record every happening on the Hill from the erection of new buildings to the newest family "arrivals", not to mention the full range of Harrow School's educational, sporting and social activities.

And so the stock of old pictures continued to mount year by year . It had already become a problem in the late l980s when the-then owner of the company, Richard Shymansky, colloborated with the noted Old Harrovian photographer, Patrick Lichfield, and the School's Assistant Archivist and Head of General Studies Jim Golland to produce the very handsome Illustrated History Of Harrow School.

At Golland's instigation, the entire collection of glass negatives was then transferred to School premises for some assessment to be made of its condition and content . Begun as a spare-time activity with occasional help from General Studies classes, this mammoth task was eventually taken over (again at Jim Golland's behest) by the Manpower Services Commission who spent the next three years sorting and cataloguing. Lack of funds, however, prevented any attempt at that time to secure purpose-made photographic boxes in place of the makeshift collection of boxes, tins and crates in which the images were housed.

Today, with Jim Golland long since retired and Hills and Saunders permanently closed,

In this context, it must be very satisfying to them both to realise that, although the greater part of the Gallery is currently occupied with another (and very fin e) exhibition, the much smaller Hills and Saunders show is attracting at least equal attention . It was certainly much helped at the preview evening in February when the guest of honour was Lord Lichfield himself. Now one of the country's premier photographers, he spoke affectionately of his schooldays when, already passionate about photography, he found he could produce the so-called "leavers" (portraits of pupils about to leave Harrow) for around nine old pence (about 3p) . This, he recalled, compared favourably with the current Hills and Saunders price of half-a-crown (roughly 30p).

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Roger F.Vaughan 2010