Copyright © Bridgwater Blake Museum 2017
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Douglas Allen opened his studio at No. 7 Friarn Street in 1948 and specialised in commercial, industrial
and public relations work as well as family work such as weddings and birthdays.
He also produced photographs for newspapers, such as the Bridgwater Mercury.
In 1952 he set up a small studio in the High Street and he later moved to St John Street. He took on an
assistant, Don Smith, who later became his partner, and who, on Douglas Allen’s retirement in about
1985, took over the business.
Following Don Smith’s death in 1999 some 15,000 – 20,000 negatives covering the period 1954 – 1960
were given to the museum; those for 1948 – 1954 having been destroyed previously. The remainder,
covering 1960 to 1999 were retained by the firm which took the business over, and they supplied prints
from the collection for customers.
That business ceased trading in 2011 and the museum was given the remaining negatives, which are
held in secure storage. The entire collection is estimated at 150.000 negatives and over 12,000 distinct
The collection contains a valuable record of 45 years of Bridgwater and West Country life, and shows
how the urban and country landscapes have changed. It illustrates the building of the M5 and Hinkley Point power station, the Blake Bridge, Bridgwater
and modern housing estates. It shows numerous small shops and commercial concerns. It shows country life and changes in agricultural methods. It
shows streetscapes now demolished, and many leisure activities such as the Bridgwater carnival, sports and social clubs.
Having been saved from possible destruction, the collection has been catalogued and their condition examined and recorded. Due to the nature of the
negative material, there are a number that have deteriorated and cannot be saved. A small dedicated team have now started to systematically make
high resolution scans of them all, and which will take a number of years to complete.
We are now in a position to offer for purchase, copies of wedding photos commencing with the years 1954, 1955 and 1956.
Perhaps you have lost precious wedding day images or are seeking images of family members to complete your family tree; you may find them here.
Only a small token number of the wedding negatives have been scanned initially which may include the Bride and Groom, Bridesmaids, Best Man etc.
If you wish to make a purchase, we will send a small low resolution image first for your consideration. The first image will cost £6.00 which will include
post and packaging, and then subsequent images will cost just £5.00 each. They will come to you on a CD and will be in TIFF format. If you would like
them as a JPEG, then please specify this when making your purchase. Please email us with your requirement.
and 1956 List
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Douglas Allen in action 1957