285 - Thorn's Photographers

Plate camera From the late '70s many people will recall that this shop was the location of Thorn's Photographers. Thorn's were specialist wedding photographers proclaiming at the time: "Your wedding is a love story, let us photograph it that way". In the 1980s Mr. Charles Thorn was offering free engagement portraits with all weddings booked with him. He also specialised in family portraits as well as picture framing. When Charles retired the business was passed to his son, Stuart Thorn.

Stuart Thorn recalls: "My father, Charles Thorn, started his photography business during 1944 using his demob money to buy a camera and set up in his mother's front room. From there he moved the business to Wookeys Chemist in Newtown (where the big roundabout is now). His business expanded and in 1955 he bought a house at 164 Summerhill Road. This house was large enough to accommodate darkrooms, a finishing room and a studio. The business then consisted of collecting films from chemists to be developed and printed and returning them the next day. A short time later he started a mail order business printing for the discerning amateur and professional."

Around the mid-seventies Charles Thorn opened his shop in Redfield, 285 Church Road. From there the business took on much more portrait and wedding work and had a good customer base for this work. I ran the shop, taking the portraits and the weddings, also commercial photography was now becoming an established part of the business.

With the advent of video I decided to give this as an additional service for weddings and commercial work and soon it became a very popular service. By now Charles had retired, leaving me to run the entire setup. This I did until the early nineties when recession hit the country. Much business was lost from firms cutting back on photographic services and with a general downturn the shop was no longer viable so a decision was made to close the business before unpayable bills came in to force closure. It was with much regret that this had to happen but at least no customers were let down or suppliers owed money.

When Stuart Thorn vacated No. 285 the shop was taken over by Merlin Carpets.

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