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Fulfill the guy who owned 3,000 cameras


Just one of the greatest digital camera collections in the globe is concealed absent in a village corridor in a Fife coastal city – but barely anyone understands it is there.

At least 3,000 cameras, such as some courting again perfectly about a century, belonged to the late Neville “Jim” Matthew.

He retired to the picturesque East Neuk village of St Monans soon after a profession that took him around the entire world.

He took in excess of the former Salvation Military hall to retail outlet his treasured collection. Inside the corridor, row immediately after row of cameras, components and memorabilia fill the cabinets.

They include stereoscopic and 3D cameras as very well as East European types, including lots of that were being scarce in the West.

Legendary Box Brownies – together with Six-20 C and D versions on reduced shelf

At the heart of the assortment is an array of Kodak Brownie cameras – featuring practically every single model ever developed.

The Brownie was the initial cost-effective digicam and could be purchased for just one particular dollar when it was initially marketed in 1900.

Jim had desired his assortment to be an open up attraction, but he was acquiring older and in unwell wellness, and the process posed as well big a problem.

In its place, he was limited to opening as soon as a year for the village competition and for occasional personal viewings.

Kodak Cine Cameras, including (from proper) a Brownie Film and a Brownie Turret digital camera.

“He seriously appreciated talking to people today about it when they arrived into the corridor,” says his widow Dorothy.

“I had to occur down and rescue them at times due to the fact he did not know when to prevent.

“He was a pretty superior speaker. He did not have a smaller talk but if it was anything he was intrigued in he could discuss for a long time.”

Jim, who died aged 81 at the finish of 2017, had begun the assortment 24 several years before on a vacation to Vancouver in Canada to see his daughter.

They had been wandering close to antique retailers and his wife Dorothy purchased him an old digicam as a present.

Kodak Retina and Retinette types

Shortly just after, as Jim recovered from heart medical procedures, they travelled down the west coastline of the US to Oregon in which there were a ton of antique shops.

“He begun to potter all-around and discover fairly a couple of cameras that he appreciated,” Dorothy says.

“It expanded from there. When he acquired his head into something he goes all out.

“He won’t halt. He hardly ever genuinely claimed why. It was just that he started out and continued.”

Jim Matthew collected cameras all round the world

Dorothy states Jim was collecting “at the greatest time” mainly because persons had been finding rid of their old cameras in favour of new electronic products.

“Whenever he went someplace he would usually come again with a scenario load of cameras,” she claims.

He travelled a large amount for operate and enjoyment and he would usually search out flea marketplaces or locations offering second-hand products.

Poland proved a incredibly fruitful desired destination as they were being receiving rid of a large amount of Russian cameras from the Soviet era.

The Lubitel cameras originated in Russia

“He would try to find cameras from each country when he went on holiday break,” Dorothy states.

He would also question friends if they experienced time to locate a camera for him, and they quite normally did.

Jim was born in Bolton in Bigger Manchester and went to sea as an engineer cadet.

In the course of his time at sea, his parents moved to Glasgow, wherever he satisfied Dorothy – and modified his identify from Neville, which was not a single that went down well in Scotland.

Brownie Flash 20’s
A range of Jim’s folding cameras

The few were shortly married and had three children.

Jim’s function as a maritime engineer took him all close to the earth.

The spouse and children lived for 7 several years in Hong Kong, two a long time in Greece, 5 yrs in Holland and 12 several years in Canada.

Dorothy states Jim “lived for travel” and there ended up really number of sites he had not frequented.

Backdrop: advert for Kodak instamatic camera. Foreground, left to suitable: No.1 Kodal, Brownie Pliant, 6-16 folding digital camera (United states of america) Brownie Flash, Six-20, c.1941 Kodak Regent, Compur shutter, Zeiss Tessar lens, folding digicam, c.1935-39 (Germany)

He went on lots of journeys on his have because he was only intrigued in currently being powering the digital camera, his wife suggests.

“Me getting there was a waste of income.

“He took superior photographs so I assume he enjoyed the outcomes. He needed to make it extra of a photograph instead than just a photo. He was fully absorbed with it.”

As Jim’s selection grew, the pair lived in Holland and he saved his cameras at his place of work.

In preparing for retirement, they bought a property in St Monans to be in the vicinity of Dorothy’s mom.

A little variety of ViewMaster stereoscopic viewers and slides

It was not major adequate to store the camera assortment – so Jim purchased the community Salvation Army Hall.

Virtually 3 several years immediately after his death Dorothy is functioning with a charitable trust to transfer possession of the setting up and the collection and turn it into a museum.

Dorothy, who now lives in Canada, stated she was “delighted” at the prospect.

“I experienced no idea that could transpire and I was stressing about what we would do,” she says.

“I did not want them to be thrown out.”

Jim bought the nearby Salvation Army corridor to dwelling his collection

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