Collection Tomes Family


A collection of travelogues and family films taken in the UK and abroad made by the Tomes family in the 1950s and 1960s; featuring, among other events, the Festival of Britain and 'Atoms for Peace' conference.

Collection ID1232Reference codeSE 100716
TitleTomes Family
Dates1950s - 1960s
ProductionGilbert Tomes Richard Tomes
Access statusContact Screen Archive South East for details


The Tomes family made many amateur travelogue, documentary and social history films featuring locations from the UK and abroad from the 1950s to late 1960s. Films include: a record of a visit to the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank in London; compiled highlights of the first 1955 'Atoms for Peace' Conference in Geneva, Switzerland and several films featuring the Sanderstead Youth Fellowship from their local United Reformed Church.

Gilbert Tomes kept many diaries, with the family later compiling the entries into one volume entitled: 'Jumbo's Diary'.

Gilbert Tomes was born in Dulwich, London but lived in several towns in the South East of England including Croydon, Bromley, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Bournemouth. Tomes had been interested in film from an early age, working with John Logie Baird on Baird's development of television; he studied at the School of Kinematography, at the Polytechnic Institute (now part of University of Westminster); later becoming a BBC cameraman. Gilbert Tomes founded 20th Century Electronics in 1945 (with Alec Tidmarsh - later to be known as Centronic Ltd), developing and producing Cathode ray and Geiger-Muller tubes for radiation detection and optical sensing. Gilbert Tomes was also one of the founding members of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, London. In 1965 Gilbert Tomes was made a Freeman of the City of London.

Gilbert Tomes' son Richard attended the Whitgift Independent Boys School, South Croydon, becoming a member of the Whitgift Players (theatrical society) and Whitgift School Combined Cadets. Upon leaving school, he attended Battersea College of Technology studying Human and Physical Sciences graduating in 1967 (now the University of Surrey), and joined the Photographic Society of Great Britain. In addition to creating his own films, which focused on activities at school with the Whitgift Film Unit and later documenting student life at college, Richard also assisted his father on many of his films.

Films in this collection:

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