RepositoryUniversity of Exeter Penryn Campus (GB 3242)
Ref NoICS12
Extent85 boxes/32.68 linear metres
TitleCharles Woolf Slide Collection
DescriptionThe Charles Woolf Slide Collection comprises of 13,551 colour images. These images capture the beauty of Cornwall's landscape from views of the coastline, moorland, woodland, farmland, gardens, rivers and the sea through to the plethora of Cornwall's flora and fauna, the detail of rock formations and the effects of weather. The built environment of ancient sites, historic houses, churches, cottages, farmhouses, industrial sites, shops and businesses are also photographed extensively often with a specific focus on details such as chimneys, fireplaces, doorways and cornicing. Changes to this environment such as the the demolition of buildings and expansion of roads in Cornwall are also documented. Cornwall's people, events and traditions are another a core component of this Collection. Local characters and groups, workers such as fishermen, farmers and tanners feature alongside images of archaeological digs, country shows, carnivals, coronation celebrations, family day trips, society outings and annual Cornish events such Obby Oss Day, Flora Day, Hurling at St Columb and the Gorsedh Ceremony. Collectively, these images form a unique colour illustration of Cornish life during this period.

The Collection also contains some images of locations outside of Cornwall - for example trips to Glastonbury and Hampshire - along with reproductions of historic images such as maps and plans of archaeological sites. Woolf's work photographing aretfacts for organisations such as Royal Cornwall Museum is also well represented.

The format of the images are 35mm mounted slides (glass, paper and plastic) taken on Kodak Khodachrome and Afga slide film.

The title of these images is created by an amalgamation of details provided by Charles Woolf in his Slide Index and supplementary information written on the slide itself. Where this information is conflicting it has been highlighted by Archive staff. Where this information is absent, Archive staff have made every effort to produce accurate descriptions of the images. Information included by Archive staff not taken from the image itself is included in [square brackets]. In most cases, Charles Woolf stored his slides chronologically; as individual slides were not always numbered with dates, 'c' has been used to indicate the place of the slide in the chronological order.
Admin HistoryCharles William Woolf (1907-1984) was a well-known studio photographer based in Newquay in Cornwall. Despite his father being born in Flushing and his Mother coming from St Keverne, Woolf was born in South Molton, Devon and was a stranger to Cornwall until 1933. After qualifying as a pharmacist at the Bath and West of England College of Pharmacy, Woolf joined Boots the Chemist as one of their youngest ever managers. Initially posted in Camborne, he latterly moved to the Newquay branch where he settled and made his home for the next 50 years on Arundel Way . He married Phyllis Fulford in 1935 and they had three children: David in 1936, Angela in 1938 and Michael in 1947. Woolf's first impressions of Cornwall were not entirely favourable. The sight of derelict engine houses at Blackwater depressed him, but only until he became aware of the history behind them. Professor Charles Thomas described Charles Woolf as 'a man who was interested in everything..and this perhaps forms a principal clue to his character' (C Thomas, Charles Woolf: An Appreciation. Address given at the funeral of Charles Woolf at St Columb Church, 1984, p1). Woolf described himself as 'fertile ground' for new interests, and meeting people with a passion for Cornwall ignited a fresh curiosity regarding his new environment. This curiosity drove his desire to capture the world around him on film, for perpetuity.

Photography had long been a hobby for Woolf, and whilst working at Boots he began taking studio portraits in his spare time, a progression that ultimately initiated a choice between his pharmaceutical career and his photography. He went on to set up a business in 1947, operating from a dark room in his home before obtaining premises on Chester Road in Newquay. Here Woolf offered family portraiture, wedding and commercial photography services, developing and printing, and the sale of cameras and film. The subjects of the Charles Woolf Slide Collection, however, are distinctly different from the formal nature of this professional undertaking and instead reflect Woolf's evolving personal interests in all things Cornish. Woolf would travel the county at evenings and weekends documenting all aspects of Cornish life and environment using his camera and colour slide film... the scope of this undertaking was vast. It was Woolf's intention from the outset to show these slides to the public. He was well known and respected for his illustrated talks, often held in hotels in Newquay on a variety of topics.

Woolf was joined in this venture by Joyce Greenham (1926-2010). Greenham moved to Newquay from London at the start of the Blitz and later worked with Woolf developing and printing photographs as an assistant in his Chester Road shop. During this time, Greenham developed an interest in photography and became a skilled photographer herself. Many images within the Charles Woolf Slide Collection feature Woolf's family and friends and frequently include Joyce Greenham along with Dorothy Dudley. Dorothy Dudley was a former history teacher and founder member of the West Cornwall Field Club (later the Cornwall Archaeological Society), of which Woolf was also a member. Dudley undertook and assisted on numerous archaeological excavations throughout Cornwall many of which Woolf documented with his photographs.

Woolf's keen interest in archaeology was awakened by attending lectures of Professor Charles Thomas. Woolf served on the Cornwall Archaelogical Society Committee and as the Society's Photographic Editor. In 1970 he published a book based on his own archaeological talks entitled 'An Introduction to the Archaeology of Cornwall', featuring many of his own drawings and photographs. Woolf's photographs also featured in many other publications with a Cornish subject matter including 'Hurling at St. Columb and in Cornwall' by A. Ivan Rabey and 'The Cornish Review' edited by Denys Val Baker.

Woolf's consuming passion for Cornwall is also demonstrated by the many other activities and societies in which he was involved following his move to Cornwall. Woolf, along with Greenham, was an active member of the Newquay Old Cornwall Society, an organisation driven to advance the education of the public in Cornish pre-history, culture and environment. Woolf had an enduring commitment to the Society as a photographer and later as Chairman of the Newquay branch and President of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies. Woolf's involvement in Cornish life also extended to membership of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, photographing many of its Museum's prehistoric objects, as well as being a Council member of the Cornish Naturalist Trust (now the Cornwall Wildlife Trust). In recognition of his commitment to Cornwall, Woolf was made a Bard of the Gorsedh in 1957, with his bardic name being Den Delynyans - Man of Pictures.

Charles Woolf remained an active photographer until his death after a short illness in 1984.

S Jane, C Green 'Cornwall Through The Lens: What's The Value of The Charles Woolf Slide Collection?' in Cornish Studies One 2015, edited by Garry Tregidga
C Thomas, Charles Woolf: An Appreciation. Address given at the funeral of Charles Woolf at St Columb Church, 1984, p1.
C Woolf, Dorothy Dudley, Obituary in Cornish Archaeology, No.14, 1975.
Newquay Old Cornwall Society, [accessed 26.5.2017].
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialFurther holdings of Charles Woolf's photographs can be found at Kresen Kernow, Royal Cornwall Museum and Newquay Old Cornwall Society (Woolf/Greenham Collection).

Other supplementary material for this collection can be found in the following:
- 'Cornwall through the Lens: What's the Value of the Charles Woolf Slide Collection? by S C Jane and C Green in Cornish Studies One, 2015, edited by Garry Tregidga, Intsitute of Cornish Studies
- Newquay Old Cornwall Society, Fifty Years of Events, Personalities and Records, written and edited by Charles Woolf
- An Introduction to The Archaelogy of Cornwall by Charles Woolf.
Access ConditionsOpen except for those records subject to Data Protection Legislation.
ArrangementThe arrangement of the slides in this Collection remains as Charles Woolf's own original order with only minor amendments to Ref Nos by Archive staff where there are omissions or duplication.

The slides are arranged in 151 numbered wooden boxes each holding up to 100 slides. Individual slides are also labelled/numbered, often with additional hand and typewritten titles or annotations. Although the numbering of this main body of the collection runs from Slide number 1-16,600, the run remains incomplete with boxes missing between 2100-3401, 4501-4600, 5801-5900 and 8201-8900 along with some individual slides absent within existing boxes.

This arrangement was essential to the original management and use of the Collection by Charles Woolf. Numbering correlates to a comprehensive card index allowing slides to be retrieved and replaced with ease. The card index comprises of five boxes with typed and handwritten cards organised by subject and then alphabetically within each section. Woolf's original subject categorisation is as follows:

- Archaelogy
- Gardens, Bridges, Houses, Churches
- Wild Flowers
- Views A- M
- Views N-Z

Accompanying this card index is a handwritten index in a notebook titled 'colour slides'.

However, the content of the Collection is much more exhaustive than Woolf's categorisisation suggests.
Finding_AidsThis Collection is fully catalogued.

Further to the main run of numbered slides there are an additional 18 boxes of slides which are labelled as unnumbered and duplicates from the main collection although this has yet to be verified.
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