Kennington & Bourlet Ltd


As far as I can tell Kennington and Bourlet's first product was the Syncromat, a projection contact printer. Jack Coote mentions in his article "Mechanisation In The Photo-Finishing Industry" in BJPA for 1953 (written 1952) that Ilford have a projection contact printer incorporating contrast control under development, this has to be K&Bs Syncromat. So by 1952 K&B were associated with or were part or a subsidiary of Ilford Limited. The Competition Commission Report published in 1966 states that "Ilford has developed, through its subsidiary Kennington & Bourlet Ltd, colour roll film processing and printing equipment which Kennington & Bourlet started to market in 1964." A footnote says "This company is now in voluntary liquidation." So by 1966 it was all over for K&B but what happened in those intervening years?
I have had an email correspondence with Dave Baker who worked for K&B. The following texts in blue italic are Dave's own words:-
I worked for K &B from January 1958 to May 1961 in Bolton Road, Grove Park, Chiswick. I was a Prototype Instrument Maker, along with the design draftsman, designing the processing tanks, and the glazing machines, two sizes 3ft and 4ft dia, the first 4ft glazing machine was built in a Dexion frame, three I believe all for Butlins holiday camps, one went to North Wales, one to Ayr in Scotland the other on the East Coast, I and a Jim Smith went by Air to Prestwick Scotland one weekend to install the one in Ayr After these three the 3ft was built in a aluminium casting, and the 4ft in a steel fabricated frame, I went to Jersey and Guernsey several times to install and do maintenance. I also worked directly with Reg Kennington on developing a trimming machine, and a colour printer.
Butlins Photographic Services were part owned by Ilford Limited have a look at John Chenery's site, especially the page where he shows pictures taken on Ilford film at Butlins Clacton in 1964, when he was a lad of five. In 1964 Ilford had a 50% interest in Butlins Photographic Services Ltd., which operated photographic services at seven holiday camps, two hotels and a beach outlet.
Dave continues:-
Reg Kennington and Mr Bourlet started the business, I do not know where; I first came to know them in 1955, in Brentford Middx, (231 High Street, Brentford) they moved to Chiswick in 1957.  Mr Bourlet put up the money, he had a photofinishing business in Oxford, Reg had worked at Sperry  Gyroscope in Brentford. When I went to work for them in 1958 the Kenprinter was in full production. The last time I visited them was in October 1962 when they had moved to Kew nr Richmond Surrey and were in the Ilford photofinishing building.

So from the above we can see that Reg Kennington was the engineer and inventor. Mr Bourlet must have put up some starting capital but Ilford must have substantially bought into K&B as well. I presume they started in the late 1940s or early 1950s. By 1955 they had premises in Brentford and by 1958 were based at Bolton Road, Chiswick. Dave had visited them again in October 1962 and they had moved to the Ilford Photofinishing building at Rosedale Road Richmond. By 1966 they were in voluntary liquidation.

Take a look at and search for Arnold Reginald Kennington to see list of patents filed by Reg from 1957 -1971. Some of these are for Ilford but others are for Pavelle, Donka and Photo Me. Photo Me's colour photo booths used Cibachrome Print materials processed in special chemistry to speed up the process for a while you wait service. Cibachrome is a development of the Gaspar dye destruction process that Ilford adopted to establish their colour print service in 1952.

Follow this link to see Liz Rideal using a Photo Me booth to create one of her Photo Booth Collage Images.