The Big Big Camera at #mcrhistfest

We popped into the Town Hall for the Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day yesterday. Despite the rain it looked like a very good turn out in visitors. Lots of great stands/stalls of groups and societies related to the many histories of Manchester and the surrounding areas.

We had made a point of going to see the HUGE Hunter Penrose camera from Gallery Oldham and to speak to Ian Beesley who has been using it for the past year as Artist in Residence.


The camera looked amazing in the impressive surroundings of the Town Hall.

It was originally from Rome Mill in Springhead and used in the printing/production of wallpaper, it was  rescued in 1990 by Gallery Oldham when the mill closed down.

This Hunter Penrose Process camera has a massive 20 x 24 inch ground glass screen!

The reconditioned process lens mounted on a boxed section of the lens mount. This has a wooden drop down section that Ian has been using as a shutter, we did wonder if this was its original purpose or if it was for some sort of filter system? Good idea though.


The huge ground glass screen, makes my 16.5 x 20 inch look tiny.


The plate holder with the contact printing frame in situ, sectioned off for 5×4 film.


Ian kindly gave me this lovely little publication that features his photography and history of the camera.


Ian also curated the excellent Grafters exhibition at the Peoples History museum that I blogged about a few months back.

We had a good chat about the camera and even about the possibilities of shooting wet plate on location with it….. so watch this space!