A hard copy of the catalogue is available at Lambeth Archives.
Administrative / biographical background:
Harry Jacobs was born in 1918 in Stepney in East London. His father worked in the shoe trade in North London. When Harry was 10 the family moved to a larger house in South Hackney. After military service between 1939 and 1945 he returned to his mother’s home, now in South London and opened a jewellery business in Granville Arcade, Brixton Market. In the 1950s he also started a photography business, working the local streets and taking portrait photographs of families in their homes. The success of this enabled him to take an upstairs studio in Landor Road, Stockwell in the early 1960s and then to take over the whole premises in 1966. He went on to become one of the established photographers for the local Black community in Brixton and continued to work from the Landor Road studio until he retired in 1999.
The collection was purchased from Harry Jacobs when he retired in 1999. It consists of some 5000 prints that remained in the shop when it closed. About half of these were prints that had been pinned or stapled to the walls of the downstairs shop, the stairs and the back wall of the first floor studio, making a giant collage of human wallpaper. These were carefully removed from their location and have been cleaned and placed in inert polyester. The other half of the collection was a large quantity of duplicate colour prints arranged by date, with a smaller collection of black and white copy prints.
The negative collection was sold by Harry Jacobs to a private collector. This is presumed to be near-complete and consists of approximately 70,000 6x6cm colour and B&W negatives. The owner is looking for an appropriate London institution to have custody of it and to make it publicly accessible.
The collection has been sorted by format and divided into colour and b/w and mounted and unmounted photographs. Some additional sorting by photo subject has been carried out for the b/w unmounted photos. The unmounted colour prints have been organized by the date of photography given on the back of the print; these run from 1974, when Jacobs first offered colour photography, through to 1997.
The collection of unmounted b/w non-studio photographs includes a significant number of earlier family photographs brought to Jacobs for copying and includes in some instances the original photographs.
All prints have been allocated an SP (small print) 9000 number and sub-number which matches the Class IV/233 sub-number.
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