Information from Peter Pearse

Peter tells me: "I joined the company in 1963, working in the Basildon colour unit, moved to distribution and then to export and finished my career (having taken early retirement in 1986) in the London office under Jeff Vickers".

"During the years I worked in the Export Division, I was under Frank Bearcroft who was the "recipient" of the Queen's Award to Industry for export achievement, twice!" (see chronology for years 1970 and 1975).

   

During the 1980's Ilford sponsored a rally car which sported the Ilford logos and was used as publicity and shown at the Photokina exhibition around that time. Below is a fine Cibachrome print of this car, supplied by Peter. The car appears to be a Mk 2 Ford Fiesta - presumably an XR2 specification, such as first appeared in June1984. This fits with Peter's belief that the car was sponsored during the years 1984-1986.

To see a picture of another Ilford sponsored rally car, this time a Ford Escort RS2000, as driven by Mike Smith in 1986, see this Bradford Camera Exchange web page authored by Martin O'Connell.

   
Peter then goes on to say "During my time in the london office I was handed, for safe keeping, an old, partly rusted, enamelled metal advertisng plate as used outside shops. When I left the company I dutifully left this item behind (I should have pinched it !) but not before making a facsimile copy on the Cibachrome copy machine that was installed in the premises. I still have this photo which has all the appearance of a metal plate (that was Cibachrome for you !!). The excellent Cibachrome facsimile is shown below.

   

During my time in the colour processing unit at Basildon (in the administration department looking after customer queries and complaints) I used to do a lot of cartooning in my spare time and was often asked to produce "art work" for various occasions.

At one time in the early sixties, the then chief executive, Sir Paul Chambers, made a trip the Soviet Union (this was at the time of the Cold War) and he took with him the holiday pack of four rolls of 8mm Ilfocolour cine film (see 1968). This was to be specially handled during the processing and I was asked if I could design a colourful title to be attached to his epic. At this time, all customers four packs were returned with a titled leader attached, which I had a hand in producing. This film strip was made by filming the effect of revolving coloured lights.

However, it was deemed appropriate (for the Chief Excecutive) to provide something special, so I set about the work which was, of course, done in my spare time at home ! I drew a somewhat dumpy little character with a cine camera rather nervously filming the baroque architecture of Russia whilst being overlooked by a glowering, beefy, K.G.B. person, who did not seem too pleased with our hero. I was pleased with the result and it was duly copied onto 8mm stock and sent off. Sadly, I never ever found out whether or not he liked my efforts and heard no more. I wonder sometimes if it is still hanging around somewhere.

 
During my time at Basildon I worked with a couple of guys who were very clever at witticisms and so, combined with my drawing ability, we were given permission to produce a small satirical magazine to be distributed amongst the staff. This was at a time when Ilford still retained some of the friendly qualities of a family company. I doubt if such permission would have been granted in later years. However, after doing this harmlessly for a few editions, (reproduced on Azoflex paper, before Xerox was ever heard of) we were told to cease. The reason was a tongue in cheek article about a foreign body found on a fork in the staff canteen. Someone objected and that was that !
   
During my few years at the Tottenham street U.K. Sales office, one of my many tasks was to demonstrate the Cibachrome copy machine to prospective customers. Word must have got around about the superior quality of these reproductions, for one day I received a visit from two members of the Scotland Yard Fraud squad who suspected that this machine was capable of printing currency notes and what did I have to say about it !

They seemed pretty confidant that they were on to something, but I was able to show them how the process worked and how different, and somewhat thicker, these copies were to the fivers (£5 notes) in their wallets. They went away suitably chastened.

Mind you, they never thought that maybe other things could be better forged and I tried a little experiment and copied my railway season ticket. To my consternation, it seemed like the real thing, so I quickly destroyed it and said nothing ! (until now !).
   
I attended one of the amateur nights in the Oxford Street department and have fond memories of that, and many other, occasions.

 
Below is a stunning example of results obtainable from Cibachrome II, introduced in 1981 (see chronology). This Ilford display print was sent to me by Peter Pearse.

   

This page last updated: 5th January 2012