Percy Powell-Cotton’s boyhood passion for photography has provided us with a remarkable record of late 19th century family life. It also ensured that his lifetime of travel and exploration was recorded for us all to see.
Over the years he used a whole range of cameras, from fine whole-plate mahogany and brass equipment to the latest ‘Kodak’ box film camera. He also developed many of his negatives; his dark room, designed and built during his late teens, still exists within Quex House.
Fortunately, Percy’s wife Hannah and their four children followed this interest: Diana and Antoinette as pioneering anthropologists in Africa during the 1930s; Mary, a talented photographic artist; and Christopher, a senior administrator in Uganda. The photographic record left by all members of Percy’s family has provided the museum with an astounding visual archive of more than 35,000 images.
As the technology developed, the family increasingly used cine film at home and during their various trips. We have approximately one hundred cine films taken from the mid 1920s to the 1970s. These have all now been digitised.