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From his collection of photos and other documents
C W Desborough
Projectionist and Photographer

Cyril William Desborough, son of William and Ada was born in 1890 in Rushden.

Cyril started at infant school and moved to the junior school at Alfred Street Board School in May 1897.

hobnailed boots
Line of hobnailed boots
postcard by CW Desborough
This postcard was published by Cyril and this copy posted to his father. It reads:
We have had a fine time today everything is splendid Mr Breen has accompanied us across London & the Son came to the boat but he promised to write you for if we get no opportunity we have to keep our own plates & Cups & take care of them more news shortly EP.

The card was posted from Deal on May 29th 1909.

central High Street
This fine picture c1885 was used later as a postcard by William Lacey
The shop on the right is where William Desborough built his shop
From Cyril's collection, this was captioned: 'c1885, Denton's Lane
on the right, now known as George Street'.

The trees in the centre are in the garden of 'Rushden Cottage' and the wall was demolished when High Street was widened in 1910.
Left: John Cave's factory where the fire started in 1901, a small building and two cottages, the Rose & Crown, a lane into Alfred Street and Duck Street, the
grocery and butchery of Willmott's (replaced by a new post office in 1902).

c1898 showing Cave's factory right with shops beneath,
Neville's beyond and the church in the distance behind.

Did Cyril perhaps work for Samuel Powell, where he would learn about photography? The postcard below was with these several photographs and documents relating to his family. [Cyril first had a plate camera in 1906 : see below]

postcard message
A customer's postcard sent to Samuel Powell
with request for copies of baby's photo

charles winding the clock
Charles Fisher winding the church clock
c1916 photo by C W Desborough

Cyril married Willa P Gazzard in 1919. Their daughter Eileen A was born 1920, and then two sons, Peter W born 1924 and John C born 1929.

In 1920 Cyril began showing films to the Band of Hope movement, and he was awarded a gold watch for his services in 1928.

The family then moved to Wellingborough and was living at 49 Grove Street in 1939. Cyril was a projectionist and manager at the Regal cinema there, and also took photographs, some for the local newspapers.

Stamped on the back of some of his collection showing his address and phone number, and change of number.

snow clearing
Snow clearing in High Street c1906 before High Street widening in 1910

Photo from the C W Desborough collection in 2022

This photograph is taken from a glass slide found at Wellingborough Museum in 2023 as they were sifting through the collection of pictures by Cyril Desborough.
It must be dated between 1902, when the London, City and Midland Bank Ltd and
the new Post Office were built, and 1910 when the road was widened and
the stone wall bounding the Cottage garden had been removed.

road into Rushden from Bedford
Taken from a glass plate - Photo by Cyril Desborough c1906

From the article below we can see he began his photography career in 1906, so did he perhaps take these photos above with that first camera?

Photonews 1953 

Cyril W. Desborough..........Secretary, Circle 10

Cyril in 1953
Started photography in summer of 1906 (NOT with a Box Brownie—that came later!), using a half-plate Lancaster; plates 2/3 a dozen. For economy, quarter-plate adapters were put in the slides, quarter-plates being only 1/- a dozen. Once borrowed a 12 in. by 10 in. plate camera to take flash (powder) photographs and had them exhibited at Franco-British Exhibition at opening of White City. Tried many cameras since. Present outfit includes a Commando, Agfa Karat II, T.P. quarter-plate reflex, half-plate Sanderson, and one or two other oddments. Still trying to turn out as good pictures with miniature as with quarter-plate or half-plate.

Among ambitions is to have a print hung in the T.E., and if possible win a Certificate; to see Circle 10 come out top; and be able to afford half-plates for the Sanderson.

Three years' service in Royal Engineers during World War I.

Job: Cinema manager. Married 32½ years ago; 1 married daughter, one married son (civil engineer), one son, journalist, one granddaughter, useful age of 4½. Wife allows use of spare bedroom for darkroom. Hobbies (?) apart from photography, helping to keep younger son's seventeen-year-old car in repair. Fond of music; used to do a lot of swimming, diving, and motor cycling. Some time ago photographed an elderly man's invention, and ended up in B.B.C.'s TV Inventors' Club Programme, getting a chance to see TV Cameras at work. Wonder if any other Half-Platers have been televised?

Cyril died at Kettering in October 1978.

Evening Telegraph, 1978 newsclip

Cinema man’s funeral

THE funeral of cinema pioneer Mr Cyril Desborough will take place tomorrow afternoon. A service will be held at Kettering Crematorium at 1.30.

Mr Desborough (88), died in St Mary's Hospital, Kettering, on Tuesday, alfter several weeks illness.

In the 1930s he was the first projectionist — and later manager — of the old Regal Cinema in Market Street, Wellingborough, which is now a supermarket.

Mr Desborough was born in Rushden and ran a confectionery business there for many years with his father before moving to Wellingborough 50 years ago.

For the past two years he had lived at Millar Close, Kettering.

He leaves a widow, two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and a great grandchild.

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